Queensland health workers struggle with the weight of the ‘fully developed crisis’ of COVID-19 omikron growth

Experiencing acute labor shortages across the spectrum of Queensland health services, from general practice to hospital and residential elderly care, the worst omicon wave of COVID-19 is yet to come.

Today marks a month since Queensland’s interstate borders reopened to COVID-19 hotspots and, in just 31 days, the number of active cases of the virus has risen to 130,947 from 13 December 56 yesterday.

The jump is probably too high, with recent case numbers being considered too low due to the serious lack of easily accessible testing.

The state’s health system is already under great pressure, with the peak of the Omicron wave not expected for another two to three weeks.

‘We have a fully developed crisis’

GP Sonu Hikerwal, owner of the Han Respiratory Clinic on the Gold Coast, said The frontline of the health workforce was “very, very spread.”.

“Hospitals are flooded,” she said.

“Yesterday, I pulled an ambulance for me because they could not take anyone to the hospital because the hospitals are full.

‘Working to the best of our ability’

Dr Hickerwal said her respiratory clinic, which sees about 1,500 patients per week, was experiencing staff shortages because workers fell ill from COVID-19 or had to be isolated like “every other business”.

“We are working to the best of our ability. We are working as hard and fast as possible, and we are still making sure that no one is spared. [who is] Take away anyone who is very sick, or who really needs care, “said Dr. Hickerwal.

Commenting on the case of two young men, Kovid-19, who were found dead at their Queensland home this month, Dr Hickerwal said: It could be worse. “

Dr. Hiekerwal, a GP with nearly 20 years of experience, described the emergence of the Omicron variant in November and the spread of it as “changing everything.”

“It’s almost like we’re not dressed, and it’s here,” she said.

‘Intensely short staff’

Maria Bolton, president of the General Practice Council of the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ), said GP surgeries in Brisbane and the Gold Coast were particularly hit by staff shortages during the Omicron increase.

Dr. Bolton said general practice should address the burden of vaccine rollouts, ongoing epidemic issues, such as patients’ mental health struggles, and, in recent weeks, caring for people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. , The virus that causes COVID-19.

“Many of our practices are intensely short-staffed,” Dr. Bolton said.

“God, we are very busy. We are caring for dozens of patients who have COVID through telehealth.

“I had seven families on Friday that Covid called me – that’s the whole family.

“Basically, at the moment, GPs and emergency departments are carrying a lot of weight.”

Gp Dr Maria Bolton Is Standing Outside Her Practice In Windsor, Brisbane.
People who want booster shots or want to vaccinate children should book online, says Dr. Maria Bolton.(ABC News: Alice Pavlovich)

Dr. Bolton said those who wish to book for the COVID-19 booster shot, or those who want to vaccinate their five- to 11-year-old children, should go online to keep phone lines open for COVID-19 patients at GP clinics.

‘Our Weakest People’

Queensland’s aging care facilities are also experiencing workforce problems, with recent figures from the Federal Department of Health showing that more than one-fifth of the state’s 500 nursing homes are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak and, as a result, going into lockout.

More than 250 people living in Queensland elderly care facilities are infected.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath, Speaking With Cho John Gerrard In The Background During A Press Conference
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath is concerned about staffing levels in private elderly care homes.(AAP: Jono Searle)

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said yesterday that she was concerned about the level of staff in private elderly care homes and would raise the issue with the federal government.

“We know these are our weakest people,” said Ms. D’Ath.

“The risk of serious transmission of the virus through these older people can lead to very serious consequences.

“I am concerned about the lack of staff, and the proportion, and whether patients will be able to manage well going forward.

“I will ask the Commonwealth what their plan is to support the elderly care sector when we reach this summit.”

‘How do we cope?’

Beth Mohalle, a veteran Queensland nurse and secretary of the Midwives’ Union, described the Omicron wave as “I’ve never experienced it before.”

“I know the community is tense, so are the health workers,” she said.

“They have to look at what’s coming … and they’re thinking, ‘How are we going to cope, especially with so many employees being positive or furious?'”

In Queensland yesterday 555 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 30 were in intensive care. Eight of them were on ventilators.

The state’s chief health officer, John Gerrard, said the latest figures showed Queenslanders who were not vaccinated were nine times more likely to be hospitalized Than those receiving three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We know that if we didn’t have a vaccination program here in Queensland over the last 12 months, the health system would be clearly overwhelmed,” said Dr Gerrard.

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