16 March 2020

WA records 10 new cases of COVID-19

A further 10 Western Australians – including three health workers – have tested positive for COVID-19 overnight, bringing the State’s total number of cases to 28.

Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Robyn Lawrence, said today that at least nine of the new cases had travelled abroad recently while the movements of the 10th case were still being investigated.

Dr Lawrence said the cases – seven men and three women – ranged in age from 27 to 70 and were all in the metropolitan area. One case was in isolation at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The three healthcare workers were employed in a range of healthcare settings though none was in general practice.

The Department of Health is working with relevant airlines to contact passengers who were sitting within close proximity of the recent cases and flight details will be uploaded to the HealthyWA website as contact tracing is completed.

Destinations from which the cases had travelled were:

  • the US (four cases)
  • the UK (three cases)
  • Canada (one case)
  • Germany via Doha (one case).

Dr Lawrence announced today that new testing protocols had been introduced for healthcare workers whereby any who had fever and acute respiratory illness would be treated as a suspect case, irrespective of whether they had recently returned from overseas.

She also reiterated the importance for members of the public to remain vigilant to prevent spread of COVID-19, particularly ahead of the flu season.

“The best way people can protect themselves – and others – is to practise good personal hygiene and social distancing,” Dr Lawrence said.

“This means washing your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap, coughing into a tissue (or the crook of your elbow) and staying at home if you are unwell.

“Where ever possible you should also try to keep at least 1.5 metres from others and refrain from physical contact such as shaking hands and hugging.”

Dr Lawrence also reminded people of new national measures that had come into force to protect the community including mandatory 14-day self-isolation for anybody arriving from overseas and a 500-person limit on all non-essential gatherings.

She also said people who were not well enough to attend work or school needed to stay away from shops and other public places.”

In addition to the current cases, 5878 Western Australians had undergone testing for COVID-19 and tested negative to the virus.

See WA Health’s HealthyWA website for the latest information on COVID-19.

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