Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state government was preparing a “shield against coronavirus” by stockpiling more than 120 million pieces of personal protective equipment, despite recording another day of no new COVID-19 cases.
The state has reached 29 days without community transmission of coronavirus, leaving just seven active cases.
“We are doing absolutely everything we need to do in case we do have a COVID outbreak,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
She said there were plans to double a 900,000-square-metre warehouse space dedicated to storing PPE.
“We have 900 days’ worth of surgical masks, 200 days’ worth of medical gowns, 300 days’ worth of gloves permanently on hand and that’s Stage 1,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Stage 2 would see PPE manufactured in Queensland.
“Of course, some of the equipment comes from places overseas, but I want to see Queensland have the capacity to also produce some of the equipment here,” she said.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the stockpiling of protective equipment meant healthcare staff in Queensland would “never again have to worry if there is enough PPE to keep them safe”.
“Throughout 2020, Queensland’s healthcare workers have had our backs and today is all about making sure we have theirs,” Mr Miles said.
“The chief health officer already had one of the country’s biggest stockpiles of masks and that kept us safe during this pandemic.
“We now have $110 million worth of stock.”
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said there had been “solid work” for months to source the PPE needed to keep health workers and Queenslanders safe.
“It’s not easy to go out and find all the equipment that’s needed at a time when there is a worldwide shortage,” Dr Young said.
“This will stand us in good stead going forwards.”
Aged care residents return negative results
The move comes as three residents at a Sunshine Coast aged care centre – who were in isolation after reporting “respiratory symptoms” – returned negative COVID-19 test results.
An additional resident of Immanuel Gardens in Buderim was also tested yesterday and is still awaiting their results.
Parts of the centre remain closed to visitors while the results are pending, and residents remain under close monitoring.
Lutheran Services said no cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in any of its 10 aged-care facilities to date.
In the last 24 hours, 7728 coronavirus tests have been conducted in Queensland.