Western Australia has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for three days in a row.
Health Minister Roger Cook said he was very pleased with the result as he announced the local manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
“Early in our experience of the COVID-19 pandemic we had a lot of concerns around the supply of PPE and our stores of PPE,” Mr Cook said.
“PPE is so essential for making sure that we can protect our frontline workers and that we can protect our patients.”
He said that was partially the reason elective surgery had to be cancelled.
“We simply did not have a great deal of confidence around PPE.,” he said.
“I’m pleased to announce that WA has started production of its very own high-quality face shields.
The business, located in Perth’s eastern suburbs, will manufacture 10,000 face shields.
Last week, the Minister announced hand sanitiser would be produced locally — by a different business.
Local experts come up with PPE design
“The new venture has been led by biomedical engineers from the East Metropolitan Health Service’s Centre for Implant Technology and Retrieval Analysis (CITRA), who will also oversee production,” Mr Cook said.
“The six-member team is based at Royal Perth Hospital and is internationally renowned for its expertise in assessing the safety and quality of medical products and devices.”
The CITRA team had been testing equipment imported from overseas to make sure it met local standards and was fit for purpose.
“The CITRA team came up with the idea to produce a face-shield to help with the COVID-19 response.”
Mr Cook said there would be more announcements to come on the production of products in Western Australia, which meant the state would not be reliant on disrupted supply lines from overseas.
WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken said the collaboration to bring the face shields to manufacture was remarkable.
“Dr David Russell-Weisz, the director-general of the Health Department, told me there were four things we needed: PPE, ventilators, sanitisers and swabs,” Professor Klinken said.
“In absolute record time, we’re producing face shields here in Western Australia.
“This is an outstanding example of where you can get industry, academia and government all working together for the good of the community in a really rapid time.”
‘Hat-trick’ of no new cases
Mr Cook said WA had recorded a “hat-trick” with three days in a row with no new cases.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Western Australia remained at 551, with nine more recoveries overnight.
Mr Cook said that left 23 active cases across the state, three of those in the Goldfields.
Eight patients remain in hospital, with three in ICU.
Mr Cook said a further 687 people had been swabbed at COVID clinics on Friday as the testing was expected to ramp up.
“My message to everyone is congratulations on doing such a great job to date to social distance, to make sure you’re practising good hygiene, to make sure we keep the number of active COVID-19 [cases] down to just 23,” he said.
“This has been an outstanding success for the Western Australian community and we now need to do more.
“Three days in a row now we’ve had zero new cases, so now is the time for everyone to try harder to make sure we do even better because when the National Cabinet meets at the end of next week, that will give them confidence to relax more restrictions and make sure there’s more opportunities for us to go about our new normal lives.”