Masks mandatory at Maranoa health facilities

Face masks now mandatory for all visitors to any health facilities across the Maranoa. PICTURE: CONTRIBUTED.

An internal alert has been issued for all South West Hospital and Health Service facilities under Queensland Health’s COVID-19 guidelines as a result of pockets of confirmed cases of influenza amongst a number of staff and their families across the region.

South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Dr Anthony Brown said pockets of influenza were being observed among staff across the region.

“As a result, mask wearing is now mandatory for all visitors to any of our health facilities across the region and for all our health facility staff,” Dr Brown said.

“However, there is no requirement for aged care residents within our aged care and multipurpose health service facilities to wear masks.

“There is no cause for community alarm and the move to mandatory mask wearing at our health facilities is purely a precaution to increase the safety of our patients and aged care residents.”

Dr Brown said the community and staff were really familiar with COVID safety requirements, and he was confident the changes would have minimal impact on patients, residents, and visitors to health facilities.

“All our facilities continue to operate as normal,” he said.

“We know COVID-19 continues to circulate in the South West Hospital and Health Service region, as it does throughout Queensland.

“So far this year, we have had 336 confirmed cases across the region, compared with 3668 cases for the same period last year.

“Currently, we have four COVID-19-related hospitalisations in the region.

“As always, vaccination remains our best protection against both COVID–19 and seasonal influenza.”

Dr Brown urged Maranoa residents to be vigilant and practice common sense hygiene habits for extra protection against Covid and influenza.

“Always wash your hands with sanitiser, cover your coughs, put tissues straight in the bin and stay away from other people if you or they are sick,” he said.

“Practising social distancing by staying at least 1.5 metres away – think three big steps as recommended during the recent COVID-19 pandemic – will mean coughs and sneezes don’t reach another person’s face.”

Symptoms can include fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea or lack of taste or smell.