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Position statement on impact of COVID-19 released

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ACIPC has released a statement of wide-ranging recommendations to help better protect vital healthcare and community settings and the public from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

The position statement, Current and Continuing Impact of COVID-19, also includes several recommendations to minimise the spread of the virus in healthcare and community settings and recommendations to make testing for COVID-19 easier for vital workers. ACIPC President Stéphane Bouchoucha has co-authored an article in today’s edition of The Conversation around these recommendations.

“COVID-19 remains an ongoing threat to public health as it enters its fifth year,” Associate Professor Bouchoucha said. “More than 45,000 cases of COVID-19 have already been reported in 2024 and Australians are continuing to die from the virus.

“Residential aged care facilities are suffering outbreaks and healthcare facilities remain high-risk COVID-19 settings due to surges in community case numbers and the admission of severe cases. There’s been more than 100 new COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian aged care settings since January 25 alone.

“Australia needs government leadership to focus on its current management of COVID-19, including making it easier for workers to access testing, reinforcing the risk COVID-19 still poses, and implementing measures to reduce the spread of the virus among all workplaces.”

ACIPC’s recommendations include a public health campaign promoting and enhancing more cost-effective access to rapid antigen and PCR testing to all health care sectors and a review of engineering controls in all health care and community settings, including the maintenance and availability of ventilation and air filtration.

More broadly, the College is also calling for support for people with COVID-19 to stay at home while recovering, especially those working with vulnerable communities and in health care.  Businesses, education institutions and industry should also undertake ongoing assessments of their workplaces to ensure they remain COVID-19 safe, taking into account public health and other relevant advice.

“We need the ongoing support of Government to allow communities to engage in key prevention strategies such as promoting and encouraging vaccination, the use of respiratory PPE,  and staying home when unwell,” A/Prof Bouchoucha said. “We will only get this by adopting proactive prevention and management strategies, including raising education and awareness.

“As the experts in infection prevention and control, ACIPC calls on the Federal Government to adopt our recommendations and help minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

To read the position statement in full, click here.