Inside the fever clinic at Health Hub Morayfield. Photo supplied.
Inside the fever clinic at Health Hub Morayfield. Photo supplied.

Grave warning as thousands of high-risk workers untested

A community COVID-19 fever clinic director is calling for free testing of high risk workers warning all it will take is one seemingly well worker to change the State's relatively stable pandemic picture.

Health Hub Morayfield director Dr Evan Jones said it was imperative the State's testing net was widened.

Figures released today by Queensland Health show of the Moreton Bay region's 95 positive virus cases, two people tested positive but the origin was unknown.

Dr Jones said testing needed to catch workers in high risk work environments who had a lot of contact with the community and who may contract the virus and spread it without knowing.

"If you look at all the advice we need to be testing anyone with any possible symptoms and we need to be aware of asymptomatic shedders, those who might be minimally affected or asymptomatic but may be in situations where they are coming into contact with lots of people," he said.

"These include food services, residential aged care workers, bus drivers. I don't think we can emphasise enough, particularly if they have minimal symptoms, that they should come and be tested."

"I've been listening to reports and it's pretty clear that is the way we have to go next."

 

Health Hub Morayfield is testing up to 150 patients a day but has called for more community testing. Photo supplied
Health Hub Morayfield is testing up to 150 patients a day but has called for more community testing. Photo supplied

Dr Jones said the system, including the Morayfield hub, was set up to test up to 400 patients a day.

"We can absolutely test more," he said.

"What we need to be able to do is make sure those people in high risk occupations are in fact negative," he said.

"Because we know there are asymptomatic shedders or those with little or no symptoms."

He said one asymptomatic shedder had the capacity to alter the recovery picture for the community.

"That is why we need to test and why health authorities are continuing with health restrictions at this time."

"Because otherwise we will see a second rise and we have a largely non-immune population."

Dr Evans Jones is calling for wider community testing. Photo supplied.
Dr Evans Jones is calling for wider community testing. Photo supplied.

Dr Jones said community was responding very well to the restrictions, but he would "advise against any type of complacency".

"Three months ago one person had this virus and now 2.5 million around the world have it and that goes to show the infectivity of the virus and the only way, because we have people who are asymptomatic or with minimum symptoms, is to test, test, test," Dr Jones said.

"Anyone who even has minor symptoms come in and be tested."

He confirmed current Queensland Health testing protocols prevented anyone without symptoms being tested.

He urged anyone with symptoms including a cough, cold, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat to come in and be tested because even if it was not coronavirus "we still have things like tonsillitis, ear infections and chest infections that must be treated".

""For doctors in the system we need to be treating every patient with those symptoms," Dr Jones said.

Originally published as Grave warning as thousands of high-risk workers untested