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Central West COVID update - 29 March 2022

Tuesday 29 March 2022

News_COVID-19 Update

The following statement may be attributed to Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Mr Christopher Sullivan.

Two new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Central West over the past 24 hours.

Allowing for cases discharged after completing isolation, the total number of active cases currently in the region is 7.

There are currently no cases being managed in hospital. All active cases are being managed at home or in their private accommodation.

No further details will be provided due to confidentiality.

To date, accounting for those who have been discharged from quarantine, the Central West HHS has recorded 432 cases of COVID-19 since the first case on 22 December.

While numbers are currently low, we cannot afford to be complacent, especially as COVID–19 numbers continue to surge across Queensland.

Vaccination remains our best protection against the virus.

Given the continuing case numbers across the nation, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended a fourth dose of COVID–19 vaccine – either Pfizer or Moderna – to increase protection for the winter for four at-risk groups.

  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • People aged 16 years and older who are severely immunocompromised.

The fourth dose may be administered from four months after the 3rd dose, or 4th dose for immunocompromised people, or four months after recovery from a COVID-19 infection.

The fourth dose vaccine will be available for eligible people at GPs and pharmacies.

Central West Health also will begin offering the Pfizer vaccine for this fourth dose at all community-based vaccination locations and booking can be made through our normal call centre on 1800 953 703.

Central West residents also should be aware that we are moving into the influenza season.

Influenza has not figured highly in most people’s minds over the past two years of the COVID–19 pandemic.

Indeed, influenza numbers have been lower than normal over the past two years – with no laboratory-confirmed cases in 2021 and only 11 in 2020.

This was primarily due to the various pandemic social distancing, mask-wearing and other hygiene measures.

The year before the pandemic, in 2019, the Central West recorded 192 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza.

Laboratory confirmed cases are always only the tip of the iceberg for influenza cases, as many more cases occur who may not be so sick as to go to the doctor or may not be tested.

With pandemic measures largely no longer in place across the state, the potential for influenza to spread this year is much higher.

So, as well as ensuring you are up to date with your COVID–19 vaccinations – first and second doses for everyone aged five years and over, a booster dose for everyone aged 16 years and over and a fourth, “winter’’ dose for those in the eligible at-risk groups – please remember to have your influenza vaccination when these become available next month.

We also encourage people to maintain good hygiene practices such as washing hands properly and often or using an alcohol-based sanitiser, staying at home when they are sick, and coughing or sneezing into their elbow.

Masks are now no longer mandatory indoors except in high-risk and vulnerable settings.

These include hospitals, primary health centres, vaccination clinics and all other healthcare settings such as GPs, physiotherapists, dentists and pharmacies, residential aged care, disability accommodation, prisons, public transport, airports and on planes.

However, we encourage Central West residents to wear a mask in non-mandatory settings if they cannot socially distance. Please also continue to get tested if you have symptoms, no matter how mild.

This is especially important as we approach the school holidays, with many children soon to begin travelling home from areas of the state where COVID is even more prevalent

Testing helps us quickly find as many cases in the community as possible and reduce the spread of COVID, so please come and be tested if you have any symptoms.

Symptoms include: Fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea or lack of taste or smell.

Currently, 94.3 per cent of eligible Central West residents aged 12 years and older are now fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine.

The rate of vaccination amongst our First Nations residents also is very high with 85.8 per cent of those aged 12 years and older having received two doses, which is the second highest First Nations rate of any hospital and health service in the state after the South West HHS region.

To date, we have also delivered 5374 booster vaccinations across the region, currently the highest rate of booster dose delivery of any health service in Queensland.

We are also delivering vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years and have, to date, vaccinated about 48 per cent of children in that age group in the Central West with their first dose and have started delivering second doses.

The child vaccine is being delivered in two doses about eight weeks apart so it’s vital you bring your child in for that second dose to ensure they are fully protected – but not before the eight week period is over.

Everyone aged 5 years and over can get vaccinated at:

  • Longreach Distance Education – 29 March in the AM
  • Tambo 30 March
  • Isisford 6 April
  • Barcaldine MPHS 7 April (at the hospital)
  • Longreach 8 April (at Iningai Health Arcade)
  • Jericho Clinic 13 April
  • Alpha Hospital and MPHS 14 April

Both the Blackall and the Winton general practices are also providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • Phone the Blackall General Practice on 4657 8200 during business hours to discuss your nurse-led vaccination appointment.
  • Phone the Winton Medical Practice on 4657 2755 during business hours to book.

For other clinics, bookings are essential, please phone 1800 953 703, or email: CWCOVAX@health.qld.gov.au

Testing is available for free at all our facilities in the Central West through a combination of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, depending on individual requirements.

You must quarantine until you have received your test result. If you test positive, our staff will provide information on isolating and next steps.

Most people who are fully vaccinated will be able to care for themselves at home, like you would for other viruses.

If you’re unsure what kind of care you may need, use the COVID care self-checker.

Visit:

The self-checker is a clinical self-assessment tool designed to help you understand what healthcare you may need based on your symptoms and other risk factors.

We are aware that some Central West residents may not be reporting positive results from Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) if they are administered at home.

It is vital we know who has tested positive so they can isolate and be managed appropriately to minimise their risk of transmitting the virus to others and so people receive the care they need. So please, if you have done a home RAT test, please register the result at:
https://www.qld.gov.au/rat-positive

ENDS

For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au

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Last updated: 29 March 2022