Take it seriously: Doctor warns we’re not doing enough
TAKE it seriously.
That's the stark warning from a Sunshine Coast emergency doctor who says the greatest concern is the community not taking the coronavirus threat seriously.
"It is serious," the doctor who spoke anonymously said.
"People are not taking the advice being given by Queensland Health."
The doctor said people could be seen embracing in public and standing in close by.
"There's a sense of business as usual when we are on the brink.
"When the tsunami hits, is a matter of time.
"There is no reason to believe the curve is flattening.
The doctor said any steps people could take to halt community transition would save lives.
"We don't know the true incidence (of infection).
"We can't test everybody.
"Because we cannot test everybody, currently the majority of cases are from overseas.
"But we really don't know how much community transmission is going on because we are only testing known cases.
"Many of us estimate that the true incidence in the community is many, many magnitudes higher.
The doctor said if "the worst happened" the Coast would need 10,000 hospital beds and 1000 to 2000 intensive care beds.
"I don't have to tell you we don't have that capacity.
"I work with the best people.
"Everyone in the public healthcare sector is preparing as best they can.
"It's a sheer numbers game.
The doctor said health services were in disaster preparation mode.
"I can assure you this is changing rapidly.
"The health care sector is doing everything it can.
"I'm at risk in the community and at work.
"I've had to say goodbye for now to my in-laws.
"I don't want to risk passing it on and we can't care for them if they catch it.
But the doctor said that level of dedication to reducing the threat of transmission was not evident in the broader community.
"People need to take this seriously, look at the advice that's on the Queensland Health website.
"We can all do the simple stuff.
"Protect the vulnerable, check on elderly neighbours, be a community.
"The Sunshine Coast can be good at that."
The doctor encouraged people to work from home if they could.
"We are fortunate to live where we can go to the beach or hiking without coming into close contact with anyone.
"We're not yet in lockdown.
"When you come in from outside wash your hands.
"Before you eat, wash your hands.
"Do it all the time and get kids doing it.
"And stop touching our faces. Wash surfaces."
The doctor said there had been an increase in cases where the virus had been detected but said the health system didn't have the capacity to test everyone with a cough.
"If you have symptoms please stay at home.
"Nobody (in the public) is taking it seriously enough.
"They think it can't happen here.
"It is happening. Everyone (in the public health care sector) goes to work thinking is this the shift when we're going to see multiple cases of serious pneumonia. Or will that be tomorrow."
The doctor said the public should have confidence in the healthcare system, but healthcare workers needed the public to do their part.
"We will stay at work to care for you, if you stay at home to care for us," the doctor said.
"It's a simple message.
"We are all preparing for a tsunami.
"It's normal and rational to be scared and frightened.
"That's why there has been panic buying."
Do you think the Sunshine Coast region is prepared for a coronavirus lockdown?
This poll ended on 22 April 2020.
I'm not sure.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The doctor said behind the scenes rosters were being prepared to cater for whatever situation emerged.
The doctor said the Sunshine Coast would gain a sense of when the worst would hit here by what had happened elsewhere.
NSW already has the most cases ahead of Queensland and Victoria.
The doctor expected Queensland to really feel the worst of the impact a week after NSW with Brisbane feeling the brunt a little ahead of the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast followed by more rural areas.
"I want people to have confidence in the health care system," the doctor said.
"But if we have the numbers we may have, we can't manage it.
"In western countries we have never seen anything like this in living memory.
"It's uncharted territory.
"It may be surreal now for people because everything seems fine.
"But that's a false sense of security.
"Don't panic but follow the advice and that's not what I'm seeing."