Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones outside Byron Central Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Mr Jones has announced new measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones outside Byron Central Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Mr Jones has announced new measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

It may take time to reinstate elective surgery

THE region's coronavirus infection rate has flatlined in recent days, with no new cases confirmed from April 15 to 20.

Northern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Wayne Jones has welcomed the pause, and encouraged residents to remain vigilant.

"Don't be complacent, that trend can quickly turn around if people don't maintain their social distancing measures, hand hygiene and isolation," Mr Jones said.

While the National Cabinet met on Tuesday and declared elective surgery would be back on the table, Mr Jones said elective surgery would not return to local hospitals immediately.

"A few conversations need to be had first," Mr Jones said.

"We need to meet with surgeons and anaesthetists to work out if or when we can do it.

"We need an adequate supply of PPE and all staff need to be willing to do it."

Mr Jones said there are any number of health staff working on contact tracing, and is looking forward to the rollout of the government's new app.

"We look forward to any strategy that allows us to identify close contacts in a timely way," he said.

At present the health district was ruling out any "casual contacts" as possible infection sources.

"We tend to rule out casual contacts, that's people walking past people in a supermarket or street, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in that case is quite low," Mr Jones said.



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