QLD Health responds to Whitsunday coronavirus concerns
AN ASSURANCE has been given to the Whitsunday community from Queensland Health that the region's health services are fully prepared to deal with coronavirus if need be.
There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Whitsundays, however the Whitsunday Times understands that three Chinese tourists attended Proserpine Hospital and were tested for coronavirus last week but have all since been cleared.
A spokesperson from Queensland Health said anyone who presented to health services with symptoms or concerns about coronavirus would be tested.
"Proserpine, like every public hospital in Queensland, is equipped to assess and test people for coronavirus," they said.
"It's important that the community remain vigilant but calm.
"Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) is well prepared to respond to the current international threat of novel coronavirus.
"Mackay and Proserpine hospitals are ready to activate temporary clinics to assess potential coronavirus cases at short notice, if required."
This statement comes after Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan tabled a question in Parliament today regarding an alleged coronavirus case at Proserpine Hospital.
Mr Costigan said he received an anonymous call to his office regarding a patient who presented to Proserpine Hospital with symptoms of the virus.
He then tabled a question to the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles during parliamentary proceedings today asking;
"Will the minister investigate unconfirmed reports that tourists have presented to the Proserpine Hospital with the symptoms of coronavirus and that they were turned away due to a lack of testing facilities and returned to their place or accommodation?"
Mr Costigan said he had no reason to believe the call to his office was a hoax and hoped the question would be investigated as a priority.
"My gut feeling is it is a concerned resident who has blown the whistle," he said.
"I do not wish to cause unnecessary alarm or panic in my community, particularly given the nature of our community in which we rely heavily on tourism.
"But I will not sit back and say nothing if I believe it is not in the public interest to do so.
"It is my duty to raise these matters in parliament as I see fit."
However, a Queensland Health spokesperson assured residents in the Whitsundays they would be assessed if they had concerns about coronavirus and that health services were well equipped to respond if needed.
"The HHS is working closely with Queensland Health and the rest of the state," they said.
"We have responded to health emergencies in the past, and we will do it again.
"We will continue to keep the local community updated on confirmed cases."