Community & Business

24 November, 2022

Hospitals in Amber status

A FOURTH wave of Covid has been predicted in the Far North, with local hospitals masking up as they enter Code Amber just weeks before the holiday season begins.

Hospitals in Amber status - feature photo

Last week there were nine Covid hospitalisations in the region, with one being in the Mareeba Hospital but cases are rising every day.

The exact number of cases in the Mareeba and Atherton region is unknown according to Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Services (CHHS) due to the lack of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) being recorded.

But within the last week, Queensland Health confirmed almost six thousand new cases state-wide.

CHHS executive director for Medical Services Doctor Don Mackie said now was the time to be wary, mask up and get vaccinated.

“We know people are RAT testing and not reporting so the figures are probably quite an underestimate of the amount of Covid circulating in the community, but it is moving up,” he said.

“We are in the early stages of a fourth wave here and the concern for health services of course is the ability of our hospitals to cope and manage any major increase of demand.

“To minimise the increase in circulation of Covid, we have gone to Code Amber, which means mask wearing (within the hospital).

“That also means wearing your mask indoors, public transport, around people who are perhaps old or certainly when you are around people who are more vulnerable.”

At this stage, the severity of this incoming wave is unknown, but Dr Mackie is assuring locals they are prepared for the worse.

He encourages anyone who is feeling unwell to wear a mask, stay home, take a test and record any positive results to Queensland Health.

“We don’t know (if this surge will be worse then the previous three) but we do know that we have a reasonably well vaccinated population and measures like masking do mitigate the wave,” Dr Mackie said.

Recent data has shown 91.6 per cent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated. As of recent, Paxlovid and Lagevrio oral treatments for Covid are also now available from pharmacies to stop the spread.


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