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Covid Crisis as Hospitalisations Treble

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Tags: COVID-19, Hospitals, Health

Yesterday the number of Covid hospitalisations reached a new peak of 184 – more than three times higher than the highest ever peak of 58 in April.
Given the Director of Public Health has estimated the BA.4/BA.5 wave won’t peak until August, it appears likely these numbers will only get worse. Despite a promise in December that Tasmania’s Covid response would continue to adjust to changing circumstances, Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff is utterly failing to respond with any protective measures at all.
Our hospital system is not coping, unable to keep up with increased cases and staff off sick. Every day Covid infection continues largely unchecked in the community, lives and wellbeing are put at avoidable risk.
The Premier and Director of Public Health have not held a press conference on Covid in two weeks. This absence is a complete failure during Tasmania’s most intensive wave of Covid to date.
The Greens and other Members of Parliament were reassured in a meeting with key health personnel prior to the borders opening that our public health measures would be scaleable, based on what was happening with Covid in the community.
Instead, Tasmanians have only experienced a phase-out of mandated protections, which has continued during a wave of increased case numbers and a surge in hospitalisations.
Public health have ‘strongly recommended’ wearing masks, a clear acknowledgement of the efficacy and need for masks, yet community uptake is tremendously low. Putting Tasmania’s public health response onto individuals, and expecting people to be able to identify and act on the key risk settings in isolation, has clearly failed.
We wouldn’t accept making the requirement to obey speed limits voluntary, and neither should indoor mask wearing be voluntary during the peak of a pandemic.
Has the Liberal Government’s plan to scale the Covid response based on risk been abandoned? If not, why isn’t a trebling in hospitalisations enough to trigger reintroducing simple measures like indoor mask mandates? The Premier has a responsibility to provide these answers, instead he and his government have been ducking questions for two weeks.