Thursday, 4 August 2022
Zali Steggall (Warringah, Independent) Share this | Hansard source
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Just yesterday, across our nation there were 41,238 new cases of COVID-19 recorded—noting that it's widely suspected that there are many more in the community going unrecorded.
A division having been called in the House of Represe ntatives—
Sitting suspended from 09:36 to 10:02
Just yesterday across our nation, there were 41,238 new cases of COVID-19 recorded, and, sadly, there are many more in the community.
The impact on our health system needs to be acknowledged. We currently have so many cases treated in hospital by incredible teams of health workers supported by incredible ancillary staff. It's important to note that statistics have names and faces. Each death is a beloved family member no longer at the dinner table. Each patient is a human being struggling for oxygen. Each healthcare worker is an exhausted nurse or blistered cleaner working on the front line.
We're yet to see the impacts of long COVID, a potentially debilitating condition which follows the acute or early phase of COVID infection. Symptoms have been shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, headaches and brain fog. There's a fear amongst many professionals that our health, welfare and disability services are underprepared to support the growing number of Australians with long COVID. This is a challenge recently acknowledged by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, and I welcome his commitment to seek advice from the experts to address long-term impacts of this virus.
There are five key requirements at a national level that have been recognised by the University of Sydney. The first is surveillance for long COVID, to track rates, symptoms, and impact on work and quality of life over time. The second is to provide better support and resources for GPs to treat long COVID in primary care. The third is more specialists for long COVID clinics for those with more complex problems. The fourth is disability supports for people whose problems have become long-lasting. The fifth is research to understand long COVID.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 10 : 04 to 12:47