ED perfect storm prompts Christmas plea

A perfect storm about to hit already overloaded hospital emergency departments has prompted a plea to celebrate Christmas outdoors.

Hospitalisations from the latest COVID-19 wave are expected to surge just as holiday accidents and alcohol-related injuries skyrocket during the festive period.

“Our EDs will be in for a very rough time,” Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson said.

He called on Australians to keep up pandemic safety measures.

He said limiting the spread of COVID-19 would reduce hospitalisations and take pressure off health workers.

“What we need to try to do is avoid getting sick enough that people need to go to hospital so we avoid that extra pressure right at the peak period,” Professor Robson said.

“So do the right thing if you are in enclosed spaces and have your Christmas gatherings outdoors if possible.

“Also, stay home if you feel sick or unwell and self-isolate if you contract COVID-19 until you’re no longer symptomatic.”

As well as hand hygiene and distancing, the peak body for Australian doctors recommends wearing masks on public transport, in aged care settings and around vulnerable people.

“For example, if you are going into a nursing home to visit your grandmother, you should be wearing a mask,” Prof Robson said.

He said the best way to protect against the virus was to stay up to date with vaccinations and many general practitioners have arrangements in place to provide care outside of hours.

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