A COVID outbreak at the Launceston General Hospital reinforces the need for the government to outline a detailed plan to manage COVID across the state as winter fast approaches.
The outbreak on Ward 6D – the LGH’s stroke ward – has led to the closure of the 20-bed ward to all new patients, putting even more pressure on the already overstretched hospital and staff.
Bed block at the LGH is already the worst in the country, so it is critical that all possible steps are taken to ensure COVID has a minimal effect on the ongoing operations of the hospital, healthcare workers and access to services for northern Tasmanians.
It is not only our health services that require a COVID plan for winter, but also our schools, public services, private sector and communities across the state.
With daily new COVID cases still hovering around 2,000 and the weather becoming increasingly colder, we understand case numbers will continue to grow.
The flu is also expected to make a return to the state this winter, increasing the pressure on health services and workers and Tasmanian families.
At the same time Tasmanians are being encouraged to get their flu shot, COVID vaccination rates for children aged five to 11 and booster rates remain too low, and vulnerable Tasmanians remain at risk.
COVID is not over but with no plan or clear response from the Liberals, Tasmanians remain confused and anxious about the disruptions it continues to cause to their lives.
It is clear that the Rockliff-Ferguson government needs to provide better leadership for Tasmanians and outline its plan to manage COVID this winter.
Anita Dow MP
Shadow Health Minister