10 August 2020

It’s BYO PPE for a fifth of hospital workers, survey finds

Clinical COVID-19 Live blog

Welcome to The Medical Republic‘s COVID Catch-Up.

It’s the day’s COVID-19 news into one convenient post. Bianca is away until Wednesday – till then please email penny@medicalrepublic.com.au. with any tips, comments or feedback.

10 August

  • Survey reveals PPE shortages among hospital workers
  • How to use an interpreter on a telehealth consultation
  • Another awful statistic from the US
  • New Zealand hits 100 days with zero community cases
  • The bad news and the good news from Victoria

    • The RACP has released a survey today exposing shortages of PPE, finding that a fifth of respondents working in hospitals were having to source their own. Across all settings, 22% of respondents said they had limited (19%) or no (3%) access to surgical masks, and 45% had limited or no access to P2 masks, including 11% with no access. Nearly 40% said they had had no recent workplace training in the use of PPE.
      The survey was taken between 30 July and 3 August and received 667 responses.
      Melbourne GP and former AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal told Nine’s Today show he was giving out donated PPE from his Altona clinic. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said he would follow up with Dr Haikerwal but that it was a commonwealth responsibility.
      NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her state was “well prepared” on PPE, with a stockpile of eight million masks, and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant added: “It’s actually really important that we get that message out to healthcare workers that we do have adequate PPE supplies; they are on the front line, and they shouldn’t have unnecessary anxiety at this time as we’re seeing cases grow.”
      New AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid, asked on Sky News about PPE yesterday, said: “There is probably enough PPE … But the problem is it’s not much use if it’s sitting in a warehouse, and what we really need to see is the right type of PPE on healthcare workers when they’re looking after sick Victorians.”
    • The RACGP has released a guide for GPs to help them conduct telehealth consultations with patients requiring an interpreter. All GPs are eligible for free use of the government Translation and Interpreting Service, which has a doctor’s priority line: register by calling 1300 131 450 or on the TIS website.
    • The US has reached the unenviable milestone of five million cases of COVID-19 – a quarter of the world’s cases – with almost 50,000 people currently in hospital and close to 155,000 deaths. On the upside, the rolling seven-day average charts for new cases, hospitalisations and deaths seem to be moving in the right direction.
    • New Zealand, by contrast, continues to be the envy of the world, not just for a PM who seems to hit every right note, but for having gone 100 days with no community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In a comment in the New England Journal of Medicine, three University of Otago academics say that while the country did not have sufficient testing and contact-tracing capacity to contain the virus, it made a rapid, science-based risk assessment and acted decisively. Not only were its control measures effective, but “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern provided empathic leadership and effectively communicated key messages to the public – framing combating the pandemic as the work of a unified ‘team of five million’ – which resulted in high public confidence and adherence to a suite of relatively burdensome pandemic-control measures.” *Sigh* … 
    • Victoria had very mixed news today, recording the highest daily fatalities yet on Sunday – 19 deaths – but also a relatively low daily figure of 322 new cases. Mr Andrews said not to read too much into that lower figure, and that the impact of stage 4 restrictions would not be felt yet after only one week. He declined to give an end date for the restrictions, which include a nighttime curfew.
      The state is stepping up its rapid response capability, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said, including a “call-to-test” program, in which Victorians will be able to arrange a free test at their home by calling the coronavirus hotline.
      Here are the confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers from around Australia to 9pm Sunday:
      National – 21,084, with 295 deaths and 658 hospitalised
      ACT – 113
      NSW – 3861
      NT – 33
      QLD – 1088
      SA – 459
      TAS – 229
      VIC – 14,6599
      WA – 642

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