News State QLD News Seven COVID cases on ship off Queensland coast

Seven COVID cases on ship off Queensland coast

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Seven new COVID-19 cases reported in Queensland have come from a gas tanker off the Sunshine Coast.

The state recorded nine cases overnight, with the other two detected in hotel quarantine.

“We’ve been working with (the ship’s crew) for some time as they steam down from the state’s north,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Wednesday.

It’s possible more cases will come from the British-flagged Inge Kosan in coming days, and Mr Miles said the government was deciding whether patients would be treated on board or taken ashore.

“Queensland Health is very good at this, they work with Maritime Safety Queensland and with the ship to ensure testing occurs, to ensure that health services are provided, and they’ll be making decisions about where best to provide those health services.”

Consideration is being given as to whether infected patients can be quarantined on the vessel to reduce risk to the rest of the crew, and Mr Miles said health care had been provided aboard ships in similar cases.

It comes as an audit investigating the fit testing of personal protective equipment in the state’s hospitals “revealed widespread inconsistencies and deficiencies”, according to the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union.

“The data has clearly demonstrated what the QNMU has long feared, that there are huge inconsistencies in the PPE fit testing programs across our public health system,” secretary Beth Mohle said.

“Now that the problems have been identified, we are keen to focus on fixing the problems by working with QH to ensure that nurses working with COVID-positive patients and others suspected of having the virus, are kept safe and well.”

A requirement all staff working with COVID patients to be fit-tested and fit-checked at the start of each shift, flagged by the government, was also welcomed by Ms Mohle.

As of May 10, all staff working with COVID patients must be fully vaccinated as well as having PPE checked, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.

“(These) are the steps we’ve taken as a consequence of the audit,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“The majority of hospitals are all doing the right thing and have been doing this but we know we can do better.”