Cairns Hospital tested by PNG virus cases

An influx of COVID-19 patients from Papua New Guinea has contributed to Cairns Hospital declaring its first Code Yellow in more than 18 months.

More than 260 people presented at the emergency department on Tuesday, with road crash victims adding to increased pressure on services.

“A sustained high number of presentations to the ED, alongside a spike in trauma admissions and several patients needing isolation for COVID-19 had led to the hospital declaring a Code Yellow,” the hospital said in a statement on Wednesday.

Executive director of medical services, Dr Don Mackie, is expected to provide further detail on Wednesday afternoon.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said vaccination hubs on Thursday and Sabai islands were a priority to protect “vulnerable communities”.

“It means greater protection for our communities, especially in the Torres Strait,” she said in parliament on Wednesday.

The government announced a sped up vaccination roll out for the islands neighbouring PNG last week due to concern about the high levels of COVID-19 infection.

“It’s only a matter of kilometres, and there’s a lot of trade and commerce that usually happens, and we are seeing more and more cases, unfortunately, in Papua New Guinea,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Friday.

Queensland has vaccinated almost 12,000 health and hotel quarantine workers as of Wednesday morning.

The state recorded five new cases in hotel quarantine overnight, bringing the total number of active cases to 37.

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