HOT SPOTS: Where our elderly are most at risk
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QUEENSLAND'S oldies hotspots - where nearly one in 10 people at highest risk of coronavirus - are furthest from our big hospitals, analysis by The Sunday Mail shows.
More than 13 per cent of people in the region around Ingham in north Queensland are 75 or over, followed by Fraser Coast (10.76 per cent) and North Burnett (10.31 per cent), far higher than the state average of 6.33 per cent, or 317,000 Queenslanders.
Next are North Burnett, Noosa, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Atherton Tablelands, and the Southern Downs.
Blackall-Tambo has 9.23 per cent over-75s, followed by South Burnett (9.16 per cent) with 2982 over-75s and Gympie (8.91 per cent) or 4597 people.
All of the top 10 are regional areas, relying on non-metro hospitals, with the possible exception of Noosa, which is served by the near-new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Queensland Health was asked what specific plans there were for dealing with COVID-19 in areas with higher numbers of elderly residents but responded with advice to stay away from aged-care homes.
"We are working alongside all our hospital and health services in response to the COVID-19 situation," a Queensland Health spokesman said.
"Queensland Health has strategies and plans in place to ensure we are well prepared for all scenarios, aligned with our state, interstate and federal counterparts."
They warned against visiting aged care homes.
"We want everyone to be as safe and well as possible," a spokesman said.
"We know there's no one in the state who wants to put their family or loved one at risk.
"Following the Prime Minister's announcement to practice social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we are asking the public to limit their interaction with others, and to consider other ways of keeping in touch, such as phone calls.
"The Australian Government has put in place new restrictions for aged care residents.
"We encourage all members of the community to follow health advise and ensure we are all doing our part to protect the most vulnerable.
"The outbreak of any virus in an aged care facility can cause significant problems. As always, if you are sick, you should not visit anyone in an aged care facility."
LOCATIONS WITH HIGHEST PERCENTAGES OF OVER 75s
Fraser Coast 10.76%
North Burnett 10.31%
Southern Downs 9.85%
South Burnett 9.16%
Originally published as HOT SPOTS: Where our elderly are most at risk