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Australia’s experience of COVID-19 Workplace  Safety - Imogen Mitchell, MBBS, PhD
Professor Imogen Mitchell discusses Australian COVID-19 response and workplace safety. Australia aggressively limited the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in their country. In the Canberra Jurisdiction, just one case of COVID-19 elicited state border closings and lockdowns which were not lifted until 3 months later when 98% of the population became vaccinated. Initially, Australia had limitations in the availability of PPE.  At first, N-95 masks were just used in high settings and during aerosolization procedures. In Aug. 2020, the State of Victoria reported that 73% of COVID-19 cases in nursing home workers and 54% in nurses were healthcare acquired.   Hospital visitations were restricted and visitors who obtained and exemption to cross state lines were investigated as to contacts they had been exposed to. And vaccinations were required of all healthcare workers. Workers at high risk for severe COVID-19 did not have to work the front lines. Patients with COVID-19 were placed in negative pressure rooms and if not possible, portable air purifiers and medihoods were used.    As the pandemic progressed there was an increasing awareness that wearing an N95 mask was of critical importance.  It was noted that catching SARS-CoV-2 in the ICU was rare, even though this is one of the highest risk settings.  N-95 masks were soon required to be worn by any worker at high risk for COVID-19 and as the pandemic progressed, N-95 masks were recommended facility wide.  A recommendation which is still in effect.  
Health Watch USAsm Webinar, Frontline Worker Safety in the Age of COVID-19: A Global Perspective.  Sept. 14, 2022   Download Slides
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