April 22, 2020 15:49:45

Western Australia has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for the second time this week.

Key points:

  • There have been just two cases of coronavirus in WA since Sunday
  • The Premier says it “shows what we’ve been doing has been working”
  • There are 25 COVID-19 patients in WA hospitals, five in intensive care

Premier Mark McGowan said it meant WA had recorded just two cases of coronavirus in the past four days, with the state total remaining at 546.

“That is an exceptional result and I would like to pass my congratulations onto everyone across the community who has assisted in achieving that outcome,” he said.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in WA has dropped to 88, with just eight of these in regional areas.

There are 25 coronavirus patients in WA hospitals, with the number in intensive care falling to five.

“These are all very encouraging numbers for Western Australia,” Mr McGowan said.

“But in particular a zero result again is just a great piece of news for our state and shows what we’ve been doing has been working.”

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said in regional WA, there were now no cases in the Great Southern, the Mid West, the Pilbara or the South West.

“The Goldfields has three remaining active cases, the Kimberley has four active cases, the Wheatbelt only has one active case remaining,” he said.

‘Slow start’ planned for elective surgery

Mr McGowan confirmed WA private and public hospitals would resume some elective surgery from Tuesday next week after a decision made by the National Cabinet on Monday.

He said the approach to resuming elective surgery would be cautious, deliberate and targeted to avoid “undoing all the hard work and the results” the state had achieved.

“The recommencement of elective surgery will be at about 25 per cent of the usual elective surgery capacity,” the Premier said.

“Which is a modest start, a slow start, but obviously we have the potential to ramp it up in the future.”

Mr McGowan said the 25 per cent rate would be reviewed after three weeks.

Mr Cook said about 3,000 procedures were deferred during the five-week period when surgeries were postponed.

He said starting on Tuesday, about 330 patients would initially receive the operations they had been waiting for and hospitals would only be booked two weeks in advance.

“By the end of May, almost 1,700 patients will have had their surgery or procedure completed,” Mr Cook said.

“Hospitals will give priority to cancelled cases and specialities within the highest number of over boundary cases.

“This includes gastroenterology, plastic surgery, urology, orthopaedics, general surgery and ear, nose and throat operations.

“Breast screening services and some dental services are also recommencing.”

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

Mr Cook said the backlog would be hard to clear, acknowledging that resuming 25 per cent of elective surgeries was “treading water at best”.

He said a significant factor allowing the surgeries to go ahead had been the state’s ability to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) resources.

The stocks of surgical masks had increased from 300,000 to 1.5 million and there had also been major increases in the supply of safety glasses and swabs.

“We will continue to closely monitor the impact of the elective surgery resumption … to ensure that it does not compromise our supplies of PPE or our preparedness for COVID-19 cases in the coming months,” he said.

He warned the appropriate use of PPE by clinicians was vital, saying “overuse” could possibly curtail future elective surgery.

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First posted

April 22, 2020 14:19:42

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