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Cracks show after COVID PPE blunder

Gareth Parker
Article image for Cracks show after COVID PPE blunder

One of Perth’s top doctors says WA’s healthcare system is not prepared for an outbreak, following a breach of PPE protocols yesterday.

A paramedic, a nurse and an airport worker were forced into quarantine after coming into close contact with a an elderly COVID infected patient.

The woman in her 80s returned to Perth from the UK on January 2 and has since been hospitalised with COVID-19.

The incident showed cracks in WA’s quarantine system and put WA’s PPE protocols under the microscope.

The WA president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Andrew Miller, told 6PR Breakfast he believes Western Australian’s have become too complacent.

“We’ve been very well sheltered here, but it has kind of lead us into a bit of complacency,” he said.

“The same attitude seems to be creeping over into the frontline as well.”

Dr Miller said the personal protective equipment currently being used in WA will not protect workers from the virus, and accused the government of withholding high level PPE.

“They locked up all the good gear, and said we will get that out if we need it, and it’s remained that way ever since,” he said.

“The people who are looking after her at every step of the way should be given the gear that will protect them and the rest of the community.”

Last month Perth recorded the worst ambulance ramping figures on record for a fourth month in a row.

“Our hospitals are full at the moment, and running at about 105 to 110 per cent in our emergency departments,” Dr Miller said.

“People are waiting unacceptable periods of time right now for an ambulance.

“If we throw COVID into that system at the moment it won’t cope.

“It will be exactly the same as the scenes we are seeing overseas.”

Health authorities are still waiting for genomic sequencing results for the elderly COVID infected patient, to determine if she has the more contagious strain of the virus found in the UK.

But Premier Mark McGowan says “there is no risk to public health”.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.)

Gareth Parker