Mount Gambier hospital prepares for Covid

Charlotte Varcoe

MORE than 30 beds within the Mount Gambier and District Hospital will be allocated to patients who have tested positive to Covid-19 as health officials brace for the virus to enter the state.

The hospital is expected to be separated into three different zones with a red zone allocated at the far end of the hospital for Covid-positive patients only.

This part of the hospital was chosen to be the red zone as it has an individually run air circulation system, preventing the risk of the virus carrying throughout the hospital.

The ward will be for Covid-positive patients requiring non-Covid related medical treatment.

Those who require hospitalisation due to Covid will still be transported to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Limestone Coast Local Health Network executive director of medical services Dr Elaine Pretorius said the initial ward identified would have 16 beds available with a second ward accommodating a further 21 beds.

She said the hospital would also consist of an orange zone which would allow for some “crossover” of Covid-positive patients.

“There will also be a green zone which will have no Covid-positive patients there at all,” Dr Pretorius said.

“If we have to, we are open to opening other wards, however that would start to turn our green zone into an orange zone and we would have to think a bit closer about that.”

She said patients from outlying towns would use health transport services to the Mount Gambier hospital.

The announcement comes following the opening of the South Australian borders scheduled for Tuesday.

Dr Pretorius said she was feeling “quite comfortable” leading up to the day, stating South Australia would start from a different point than other states.

“South Australia is starting as a vaccinated population and hopefully it is vaccinated people coming into our state,” she said.

“The rapid antigen testing is also available, as well as medication, which means we are as prepared as we can be.

“The most important thing for us here is to continue adhering to some of the public health rules, such as wearing masks, and if community members have not had their vaccination yet, please consider it as it is our best defence.”