Almost 200 staff and residents of the Central Queensland aged care home at the centre of a potential coronavirus outbreak, have returned negative results for the virus.
Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed on Saturday that 193 tests have been carried out at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre after a nurse at the facility tested positive to the disease on Friday.
Those tested over the past 24 hours include 42 contacts, including 39 staff and three members of the community.
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At least 114 vulnerable residents have also been tested and thankfully they have come back negative for COVID-19.
Mr Miles told reporters on Saturday that it was “the best result they could have hoped for”.
“All 193 tests have returned negative, which of course, is the best we could have hoped for out of that batch of testing,” he said.
“However, people, everybody, including the residents, their families, the staff, the entire Rockhampton community, should rest assured that we are taking the risks here very, very seriously.”
He said some residents of the aged care home are now being moved out, to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
“We have a team of paramedics, they are briefing together at 10.30am, and at 11.00am will be available to the HHS to transfer residents out of that facility to a private hospital,” he said.
“What that will allow us to do is to move residents from the Westwood Wing who are likely to be in better health than those in the Ivy Baker Wing, who we think may have been exposed.
“Once we have decanted residents out of the Westwood Wing, we will be able to spread out the Ivy Baker residents, providing greater infection control, private rooms and ensuites.”
It’s understood the transfers should take around 24 hours to complete.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the Hospital and Health Service’s decision to move the residents on a temporary basis was smart, safe and sensitive to resident’s needs.
“The system has prepared for this, our staff are prepared for this and Central Queensland has planned for this,” Dr Young said.
“Safety of every single one of our aged care residents is our top priority.
“Taking this decision today will maximise our chance of ensuring there’s no spread of COVID-19 inside the facility.”
It comes after Queensland recorded just one new case of coronavirus overnight.
A 70-year-old woman from the Gold Coast who was a passenger of the Coral Princess cruise ship has tested positive.
She’s among just 13 active COVID-19 cases across the state.