24 Mar 2020
"Tasmanians have the capacity to not just flatten the COVID-19 epidemic curve; we can crush it" Professor Burgess, President of AMA Tasmania said today.
Tasmania needs access to medi-Hotel quarantine isolation to support all patients who are infectious with COVID-19 but do not otherwise require hospitalisation. It needs to be announced today and implemented.
In line with best practice WHO recommendations, the AMA Tasmania calls for strict clinically supervised quarantine isolation of all patients with active COVID-19 until viral shedding has ceased. Patients with active COVID-19 must remain in strict isolation until medically cleared of active viral infection.
The virus is shed by patients with active COVID-19 resulting in contamination of the household environment when people are in home isolation. The household environment must be considered an infection control risk and can remain so for some days after a patient has recovered.
Strict infection control measures and clinical monitoring are essential for all patients with active COVID-19, including those with mild symptoms who still shed active virus. Strict infection control measures and clinical supervision of all patients with active COVID-19 is essential if we are to prevent a severe outbreak in our community.
Supporting all Tasmanian patients with COVID-19 through their illness by adequate hospital care if seriously unwell, or by appropriate infection control isolation in medi-Hotel accommodation if only mildly symptomatic, is essential.
We must care for all Tasmanian using best practice evidence and do everything possible to ensure our hospitals have the beds and ventilators for when people are very ill, and the medi-Hotel accommodation and related supportive care when infectious but only minimally unwell.
Crush the epidemic curve or overwhelm the health system. This is a stark choice but getting behind effective isolation, hygiene and infection control measures are as important for someone who’s feeling well with active COVID-19 as well as for someone who's very ill and requiring high level hospitalisation.
More medi-Hotel isolation beds and more ICU ventilators must go hand in hand. Isolation of all patients infectious with COVID-19 is critical; it ensues the community is doing its bit to fight the epidemic, and it ensures frontline health works have the resources to manage the critically ill patients in front of them.
Good isolation and infection control are basic preventative medicine - an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. Stopping viral spread by adopting diligent infection control measures for the couple of weeks that a patient with COVID-19 is infectious is the foundation of everything else we do. Medi-Hotel isolation supports care while a patient is infectious and is an excellent solution that protects access to the scarce high-level hospital beds that severely unwell patients require.
Published: 24 Mar 2020