Dr Daryl Dodt is urging Gympie region residents to heed medical advice and help slow the spread of the coronavirus, or else the country’s health system will fail. Picture: Shane Zahner
Dr Daryl Dodt is urging Gympie region residents to heed medical advice and help slow the spread of the coronavirus, or else the country’s health system will fail. Picture: Shane Zahner

Gympie GP lays bare stark reality of COVID-19 crisis

RESIDENTS are being urged to adhere to the 1.5m social distance and health advice or else risk breaking the region's health services.

Dr Daryl Dodt has called for residents to take the advice seriously as the world struggles with the worst pandemic since 1918.

"If we minimise the exposure, then we have the greatest chance of slowing the spread," Dr Dodt said.

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Under a "worst case" scenario, where 25 per cent of the region's 50,000 population was infected at the same time, it "would be (more than) 10,000 people needing to be in bed for at least two weeks".

Gympie Hospital has no ICU beds. There are only 413 across the state. Photo Tanya Easterby
Gympie Hospital has no ICU beds. There are only 413 across the state. Photo Tanya Easterby

There would also be "1750 people needing oxygen (critical care) to recover and 750 people needing ICU (intensive care and ventilation)".

There are no ICU beds at Gympie Hospital.

Queensland has 413 in total.

"With those numbers our health service could not cope," he said. These figures might sound scary, but Dr Dodt said if people did not panic and thought about what they were doing then the country would manage the pandemic.

“We have to take a different level of caution than what we’ve taken in the past.” Picture: iStock
“We have to take a different level of caution than what we’ve taken in the past.” Picture: iStock

"We have to take a different level of caution to what we've taken in the past," he said.

"The only way we'll get through this with the number of hospital beds we have is to slow the virus.

"A 100 per cent lockdown will not stop the virus."

This includes washing hands after touching any surface like door knobs, keeping distance and isolating if ordered.

The virus can survive on hard surfaces for "two or three days" and can be transmitted directly through droplets, especially by coughing or sneezing.

"These droplets can remain in the air for up to three hours, but only if they are attached to dust particles," Dr Dodt said. 

"But direct contact with virus particles in droplets will transmit the virus. 

"This is why we have a 1.5m social distancing rule," he said.