Schools, buses prepare for COVID-19 as Qld cases hit 27
GYMPIE region schools and school bus runs are bracing for the spread of coronavirus, with local families told to be ready for the schools to be shut down should a single student or staff member test positive to the virus.
Gympie High parents and caregivers received a special message from principal Anthony Lansky yesterday, saying the Education Department was working closely with Queensland Health to monitor the situation and manage any impacts on schools and early childhood centres.
“You can be assured that we have been preparing and stand ready to act should the need arise,” Mr Lansky said.
“If a case (of COVID-19) is identified in our school, the Department of Education and Queensland Health will work closely with us in managing our response an dour actoins will be taken with communmity health at the centre of our decision making.
“If there is a confirmed case at our school, it is likely our school will need to close for a period to allow Queensland Health to assess the situation and to perform contact tracing as required to identify people and students who may have come incontact with the COVID-19 case.
“The Department of Education will then work with our school to conduct any specialised cleaning of our facilities as required to ensure our school is safe for students and staff to return when clearance is given. A closure is likely to include any on-site services such as outside school hours care and th eother facility hirers.”
Online learning materials and virtual classroom capabilities will be available for teachers to support ongoing learning.
Polleys Coaches, which operates multiple school bus runs in the region, said they were taking the threat of COVID-19 and the safety of students, passengers and employees very seriously.
Staff self-assessments (with a focus on bus drivers) are being completed, and Bus Infection Control processes and standard operating procedures are being implemented on every bus at the end of each trip to mitigate risk of contagion, CEO Justin Lippiatt said.
“Polleys is being proactive in its implementation of these strategies, processes and procedures, against the spread of the coronavirus in the Gympie region,” he said.
Parents are asked in the strongest of terms to keep their children at home if they develope flu-like symptoms, and to avoid close contact with others, see a doctor or contact 13 HEALTH immediately, and call ahead to the medical centre of hospital.
Seven new cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in Queensland today.
Details of the cases are:
1. A 19-year-old male from the Brisbane region with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in The Prince Charles Hospital in a stable condition. He is a close contact of the 22-year-old male university student, confirmed as a case of COVID-19, 10 March 2020.
2. 37-year-old male from the Brisbane region with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in The Princess Alexandra Hospital in a stable condition. He had recently returned from travel in Geneva, Switzerland and through Abu Dhabi, and Dubai.
3. Tom Hanks, 63-year-old male with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in the Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition. He had recently returned from travel in the United States of America and recently arrived on the Gold Coast.
4. Rita Wilson, 64-year-old female with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in the Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition. She had recently returned from travel in the United States of America and is a travelling companion of the third confirmed case.
5. 40-year-old male from the Brisbane region with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in The Prince Charles Hospital in a stable condition. He had recently returned from travel in the United Kingdom.
6. 24-year-old male from Brisbane region with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a stable condition. He had recently returned from travel in the United States of America.
7. 56-year-old female from the Brisbane region with confirmed COVID-19 is in isolation in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a stable condition. She had recently returned from travel in Indonesia.
Contact tracing is underway for these seven new cases, in addition to the previously confirmed cases. We will notify the community if any other public health alerts are required.
A total of 27 people in Queensland have now been confirmed with COVID-19, including three people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and is feeling unwell to see a doctor immediately.
Please call ahead to the GP surgery or hospital and let them know your symptoms and travel history, this will help them prepare for your arrival.
Queenslanders can do their part by practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re sick.
Washing your hands properly and often is the gold standard of health advice that can help prevent viruses from entering your body.
Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or find up-to-date reliable information on the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.