State says focus remains on expanding current services; leased private building expected to stay vacant.
State says focus remains on expanding current services; leased private building expected to stay vacant.

No plans for private hospital to join pandemic fight

GYMPIE'S shuttered private hospital building is not expected to become part of the fight to treat coronavirus victims, but a new testing centre has opened.

The Cooloola Specialist and Diagnostic Centre on Channon St joins Gympie Hospital's fever clinic as the two main service points in the fight against the disease.

Those hoping for a return of Gympie's Private Hospital should probably douse their flame, with a spokeswoman for the State Government's Health Ministery saying the plan was "expanding capacity within the existing system".

The private hospital was closed in February last year.

BCM Property: Gympie Private Hospital at 74 -76 Channon Street is for sale. Pic Supplied
BCM Property: Gympie Private Hospital at 74 -76 Channon Street is for sale. Pic Supplied

A 10-year private lease exists over the building.

The pandemic has also affected the council elections.

The Saturday, March 28 voting date remains but the Electoral Commission Queensland has brought in extra protective measures.

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These include: additional cleaning of polling booth areas; extra staff to help with queue; tables and screen have been placed to maximise the distance of voters; and new measures have been installed to help residents of aged care facilities which were "declared institutions".

"The local government elections are proceeding in accordance with advice that only non-essential mass gatherings should be cancelled", said Queensland's Electoral Commissioner, Pat Vidgen.

Pre-poll voters turned out in droves yesterday morning.
Pre-poll voters turned out in droves yesterday morning.

"Elections facilitate an essential service by providing for democratic representation for Queenslanders.

"However, we recognise that this is an extraordinary situation and are adapting our service model accordingly.

"This includes additional hygiene precautions and people management measures to be implemented at the nearly 1500 early voting centres and polling booths across Queensland.

"I ask for the understanding and co-operation of all voters to make sure that the elections are conducted smoothly and with minimal impact on voters and election staff.

"This is a unique and evolving situation and we will update voters if circumstances change.

"I encourage people to check the ECQ website for up-to-date information about how to cast their vote."

Voting lines when pre-poll opened this morning stretched from inside the Senior Citizens' Centre to near the Civic Centre entrance.

The long queues remained until midday.

Across the state more than 100,000 applications for a postal vote were received by the ECQ, eclipsing the 76,000 lodged at the 2016 council election.