Measures in place to prepare for COVID

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Health

The safety and security of Tasmanians remains our number one priority, and by taking strong measures to protect our state, we remain one of the safest places in the world.

The Government has responded quickly to ensure we have the capability to respond to any future outbreaks.

Given the nature of COVID-19, our health system, hospitals and intensive care units must be prepared to receive, care for and support the recovery of COVID-positive patients, and they are.

A statewide COVID-19 ICU Surge Capacity Plan has been developed, with a surge in ICU capacity up to 114 beds.

We have 267 ventilators, and a further 100 Australian-made emergency ventilators are due to arrive soon, supplied in partnership with the Australian Government. That will increase our ventilators to 367.

We also have more than 300 qualified and experienced nursing staff available to provide care to ventilated patients across the state.

Additionally, there are other health professionals who have transferable skills in ventilation if needed, in areas such as the emergency department, theatre, anaesthetic, recovery and retrieval.

It is disappointing Rebecca White would seek to scare Tasmanians and attempt to use the pandemic for political gain.

The Government acknowledges there are demand pressures on our health system, and we are investing to increase capacity, health staff and services. We have already significantly increased services, opened more beds and employed more nurses, doctors and other health workers.

I want to reassure the community we have been working hard to ensure we have carefully prepared and are ready to respond to COVID when it arrives in Tasmania.

We have successfully kept COVID out of the community in Tasmania for a long time, and this has allowed us to roll out our vaccination program, which remains our greatest defence when the virus arrives in our state.

I’d like to thank the many nurses, administrative staff, pharmacists, public health specialists, doctors, paramedics and other health staff who have been involved in our monumental vaccination efforts, and a big thank you to those Tasmanians who have rolled up their sleeves and been vaccinated.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community, so if you haven’t yet made an appointment, please: Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.

/Public Release. View in full here.