Monday, 23 March 2020
Questions without Notice
I will make a brief comment and then pass on to the Minister for Health. The modelling work that is being done to provide advice to the government, and to the other Australian governments, is to ensure that we seek to manage the spread of this virus in such a way that it will avoid what would otherwise be quite intensive peak demands. I think we all understand that. The first line of attack in this is social distancing and other measures that will significantly alleviate the pressure on the health system. That is the first thing we need to do. But what we have done in putting those modelling processes together is to look at the potential impact on what the effect will be on those intensive care units, but also emergency departments and other parts of the health system. That will mean ensuring that we maintain medical supplies and we manage the health workforce within the hospitals that can best ensure that those beds and services are there when they're needed. We, at this point, have a very low number of patients that are actually in ICU, but of course we expect that to change as things change with the spread of the virus in the future. I will ask the health minister to add further on respirators and other matters of that nature.