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 Coronavirus: the light at the end of the tunnel?

23.04.20. The number of newly diagnosed cases of coronavirus has plummeted nationwide, raising hopes that Australia stands a chance of eradicating the virus. A combined total of 12 new infections were reported by state health authorities on Wednesday, a 0.2 per cent increase from the previous day. The low number of diagnosed cases came despite testing being ramped up, particularly in NSW. More than 12,000 tests were conducted nationwide over the past 24 hours. Almost 500,000 COVID-19 tests have now been conducted by pathology laboratories around the country. NSW recorded an extra five COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Tuesday, while two new cases were recorded in Victoria.

Source: Natasha Robinson, News Corp

Coronavirus Australia: Eradication possible as new cases plummet

Tasmania recorded four new cases out of a cluster of infections in the northwest of the state. Two of the new Tasmanian cases were healthcare workers. South Australia recorded one case, while Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territ­ory all recorded no new cases.
“The whole thing about the epidemic­ curve initially was that we wanted to flatten it,” said Australian National University Medical School infectious diseases physician and microbiologist Peter Collignon. “We’ve done better than that. We’ve actually managed to turn it around and head it south.”
The positive numbers came as a live tracking tool was launched in hospitals around the country. Hospitals will now have access to a live database tracking the intensive care capacity of every public and private hospital in the country as the federal government is buoyed by the extraordinarily low numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
The extra intensive care cap­acity that many hospitals have ­arranged sits idle as the expected number of COVID-19 patients fails to materialise, but health administrat­ors are nevertheless putting contingency plans in place for an upswing. As hospitals increase their intensive care unit beds and upskill nursing staff to cope with potential extra demand, a new database, dubbed the Critical Health Resource­ Information System, will give health authorities a bird’s-eye view into every ICU, allowing a rapid response even if some hospitals’ ­ICUs were overwhelmed. Co-ordinators in hospital ICUs will update the database twice daily, reporting intensive care bed capacity in their hospitals, the number of available ventilators, and information about staffing and personal protective equipment supplies. The data will then be available in real time to health authorities and staff at other hospitals. “This national ­system will make sure we know where available ICU beds are and that the equipment, including ventilators, the patient needs are in place and ready for a rapid ­response in the event of future COVID-19 outbreaks,” said federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
The system was designed to allow health administrators to make decisions about where critic­ally ill COVID-19 patients could be cared for in scenario planning that indicated Australia’s ICUs would be pushed to capacity. Now that a large influx of patients has not event­uated, the database will be a critical tool in gauging the impact on hospital­s’ ICU capacity of resuming elective surgery, said commonwealth Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth.
“When this was in inception, of course, it was all about what is our COVID burden on ICU, expecting that curve to go up,’’ he said. “It is still obviously going to be useful for that, being in the unlikely event that if COVID did go up again, then we would have this as a very close indicator of how many COVID patients were in an ICU.’’

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 23/04/2020, 7:21 am

    So now the restrictions will be lifted just in time for the winter seasonal influenza season, which last year killed hundreds of Aussies with well over three hundred thousand cases identified, despite most having been inoculated with FluVac?

    Refers: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm

    • Big Al 23/04/2020, 9:59 am

      PP, my deeply cynical mind suspects that the governments have now found out just how compliant most of the plebs are to the current mild health scare, when compared to their missed opportunities of SARS and Swine Flu earlier this century. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that they’ll just continue their drunken power from one health scare to the next to maintain absolute control whilst pollies and brew-row-kats rake in their puffed up salaries at the expense of us all. North Korean style, unquestionably so.

      • Pensioner Pete 23/04/2020, 10:56 am

        Big Al. Unfortunately, your cynicism is well founded when one takes the time to evaluate what is going on, what we are being told, and what is actually being done.

      • Big Al 23/04/2020, 1:44 pm

        PP, when looking at the following site, and scrolling through all the tabs and ‘clicking on’ all the prompts/dots, it’s hard to see where the crisis really was, let alone is at the moment. The modelling done was clearly not based on Oz metrics that created the ‘thousands’ of likely deaths that just haven’t happened, period. This makes me very suspicious about what the governments are really trying to do.

        https://www.covid19data.com.au/

  • Penguinite 23/04/2020, 8:35 am

    Light at the end of the tunnel? Or is that an economic express coming down the line from the opposite direction. We just can’t print the amount of $$$ that has been injected into the system recently without repercussions! We need a massive shift in expectations of both employers and employees (read Labor/Unions) or a dictator. I doubt that Australia is capable of accepting this challenge with the Greens waiting in the wings to misdirect efforts in the name of the environment. We need to build and construct without fear or favour. We need industry and determination. Coal and nuclear are the future. To hell with wind/solar alternatives. To de-carbonise is to regress several hundred years!

  • Lorraine 23/04/2020, 9:18 am

    I listened to a bit of the talk on Paul Murray Live with the PM, last night. I have no idea what he plans to bring the Country back on track….His heart felt words on the oldies ,losing lives and the living unable to show respect and go to the funerals…..I have a suspicion that every one over 70 will remain in a lockdown state, as the others are able to begin a life at will. This stay at home stay alive ,,,has shown me I wish to do ,what I use to do and at 76 will take my risk. When there is nothing to look forward to no outings allowed , keep your distance from a friend, life is boring, being alive , is not having a life.

    • DT 23/04/2020, 1:06 pm

      Too right.

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