“Hundreds of beds will come on tap”

The State Government has announced it will be pursuing a “Wuhan-like response” to COVID-19, totally mobilising some hospitals and moving other non-coronavirus patients elsewhere.

Health Minister Greg Hunt this afternoon said WA would virtually be creating new hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 treatment.

“Hundreds of beds will come on tap,” he said. 

“We essentially have whole new hospital to draw upon. We are significantly expanding our services.”

It comes as WA’s case growth slowed down last night, with only nine more confirmed cases, compared with 17 the day before.

Mr Hunt confirmed 12 patients were in intensive care across the State.

“The patients in ICU are very sick, our thoughts go out to them and we wish them the very best,” he said.

“Ultimately I expect we too will be confronted with difficult numbers and community spread.”

Wuhan; the epicenter of the virus

COVID-19 is believed to have started out of a live market out of the Chinese city of Wuhan.

While experts say the doctors who blew the whistle on the new virus were not heeded for many weeks, once coronavirus was made public, the Government moved incredibly fast to lock the city down.

Vision of doors – assumedly of those infected – being welded shut by authorities shocked the world.

However, China managed to build a whole new hospital in less than seven days to process hundreds of patients.

There have now been no new cases reported in Wuhan for more than six days.

While WA can’t prop up a whole new hospital in a week, Mr Hunt’s goal to make the State a “virtual Wuhan” seeks to do the next best thing. 

That is, clear out hospitals to be dedicated to COVID-19 treatment centres.

Hospitals to clear out and equipment on its way

Bentley Hospital will be utilised as a COVID-19 treatment centre, with all maternity services it used to offer consolidated at King Edwards. This will free up 81 beds for coronavirus patients at the hospital.

Hundreds of further beds will be put aside at North Metro and South Metro hospitals.

Mr Cook announced more than $15 million of extra clinical equipment was on its way, including more than 300 ventilators and 201 humidifiers.

Slowing caseload no time for “complacence”

WA’s slowing caseload overnight follows a trend going on across the nation.

Last week, Australia recorded a 20 to 30 per cent rise in caseloads day-to-day.

But over the last three days, there has been an average rise of just 9 per cent.

Mr Cook said that even with the slowing number overnight, it was not possible for WA to become COVID-19 free anytime soon.

“Ultimately, WA cannot become… an island in a global community that has COVID-19,” he said.

Of the patients in WA currently recovering from the virus, 54 are in hospital and 12 are in the ICU.

Seven of those patients have come from the Artania Cruise Ship and two of them from the Ruby Princess.

They join a further 38 people across the country also in critical care, 20 of which are on ventilators to breathe.

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The nine new cases overnight bring WA’s total number of cases to 364.

With expanded testing to start on Thursday, the health minister and chief medical officer said they expected a jump in cases by the end of the week.

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Watch: WA has recorded 9 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, all from the metro area. It brings the State’s total to 364.

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Feature image: fredon.com.au