Why the Gold Coast is a coronavirus hotspot

 

ALMOST half of Queensland's new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed on the Gold Coast, where clusters of community transmission are emerging.

The state's coronavirus tally jumped by 16 to 94 overnight - a 20 per cent rise in one day.

Seven new cases were confirmed on the Gold Coast, three are in the Metro South region on the southside of the Brisbane River, one on the Sunshine Coast and one in the West Moreton region. Patient details of the remaining four are still pending.

Their ages range from 25 to 52.

The Gold Coast seems to have become a hotspot for the virus, with the state's first cases recorded there - five members of a Chinese tour group from Wuhan, where COVID-19 emerged in December.

Australia's most famous coronavirus cases - Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson - were also diagnosed on the Gold Coast.

As Queensland COVID-19 cases mount, the state's health system continues to gear up for an expected epidemic of the disease throughout the state.

The Courier-Mail understands doctors and nurses in desk jobs are preparing to return to hospital wards to help bolster frontline staff for the expected avalanche of COVID-19 patients.

Queensland Health is also preparing to make use of its telehealth network during the coronavirus crisis.

"This may assist in reducing non-essential visits to hospital, in turn reducing the demand on hospitals and limiting the risk of spreading the virus to vulnerable members of the community," a Queensland Health spokeswoman said.

 

A drive-through fever clinic began testing patients for COVID-19 today at Pine Rivers, north of Brisbane, part of measures to help the state cope with increasing numbers of people turning up to be tested for coronavirus.

Queensland Health at the weekend announced a trial of two drive-through clinics in Caloundra and Toowoomba.

But with cases across Queensland anticipated to surge in the coming weeks, more are expected to come on line to take pressure off already stretched general practitioners and hospital emergency departments.

The drive-through clinics are in addition to hospital fever clinics, designed to keep potential COVID-19 cases away from other patients.

People will be asked to remain in their vehicles and health workers in personal protective gear will test temperature, pulse, oxygen saturation and respiration through the car window.

If people meet the criteria, swabs will then be taken and sent for COVID-19 testing.

Drive-through clinics have operated successfully in South Korea during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young. Picture: Steve Pohlner
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young. Picture: Steve Pohlner

 

The Pine Rivers clinic at the local community health centre on Gympie Road will be open between 8am and 4pm on week days.

Under the latest protocols set by Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, people can only be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms within 14 days of travelling overseas, if they fall ill after having close contact with a confirmed case or if they develop severe pneumonia requiring hospital admission with no other identifiable cause.

Health care workers can also be tested for the novel coronavirus if they have a fever over 37.5 degrees Celsius and have respiratory symptoms.


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