COVID-19 positive patients from far west New South Wales will be transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital if needed with “no questions asked”, according to South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier.
- A Broken Hill woman with COVID-19 was airlifted to the RAH on Wednesday night
- The RAH is the referral hospital for the Broken Hill Health Service
- Case numbers in far west NSW are expected to rise
A Broken Hill woman who contracted the virus from a close contact while isolating at home was transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) on Wednesday night in a serious but stable condition.
Professor Spurrier said it was standard procedure for patients from Broken Hill to be referred to the RAH.
“Obviously our hospitals are designed, particularly the Royal Adelaide, Flinders and Women’s and Children’s, to treat patients with COVID and have done so throughout this pandemic,” she said.
“Broken Hill has always transferred patients to our hospitals, generally the Royal Adelaide because it’s much closer from Broken Hill to come down to Adelaide, so that was really a standard procedure.
South Australia revoked its cross-border travel bubble with Broken Hill two weeks ago after coronavirus traces were detected in the Silver City’s sewage treatment plant.
Professor Spurrier said the hospital would take in more COVID-positive patients from the region if needed.
“Those are the sorts of plans we put in place when we put [in] the tighter border and didn’t allow the bubble with Broken Hill,” she said.
“We needed to make sure that people in Broken Hill could still have the same healthcare access.
She said the transfer process was managed “very carefully”, with those involved using full personal protective equipment (PPE).
There are more than 50 active COVID-19 cases in Wilcannia, the predominately Aboriginal community near Broken Hill.
Yesterday, Far West Local Health District chief executive Umit Agis said the number of positive cases in the district was expected to rise.
“What the modelling suggests is that you expect out of 100 positive cases, you are going to get 13 to 20 per cent who will require hospitalisation. Within that, two to five will require ICU level of care. Within that, one to two will require ventilation,” he said.
“We do have the capacity at the moment to manage that … if the person deteriorates beyond the level that we can provide we have a retrieval service on standby.”
The district has just five ICU beds in total.
“If it’s beyond our capability we will certainly be transferring them to Adelaide or really any other facility that may be available at the time if Adelaide’s not able to,” Mr Agis said.
Christmas pageant given green light
The state government today announced the Adelaide Christmas pageant would go ahead on Saturday November 13.
COVID-19 restrictions are once again preventing the pageant from running as a street parade and it will be held, as it was last year, at Adelaide Oval.
Premier Steven Marshall said he was hopeful the pageant would return to its traditional format next year.
“I know there will be some people who will be concerned that we won’t be able to go back to the original format of the street parade, but the reality is we are living in very difficult times,” he said.
“Our primary focus has got to be, 100 per cent, keeping the people of South Australia safe, keeping as many people employed as possible, and sometimes with these mass events it is much better for us to look at outdoor events.”
The crowd capacity is yet to be determined and masks will need to be worn by attendees.