Qld nurses to spend three months away to fight COVID

QUEENSLAND nurses will spend up to three months away from loved ones to fight a second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria.

Close to 30 nurses are on the frontline of coronavirus testing in Melbourne with some sent inside locked down public housing towers on their second day of deployment.

The nurses must stay alone in one-bedroom contained apartments, to limit the risk of infections to themselves and the community.

They spend their days performing tests across the city, many in pop-up testing facilities, in full protective gear.

 

Queensland nurse Kelly Micallef in full protective gear.
Queensland nurse Kelly Micallef in full protective gear.

 

Brisbane mum-of-two Chloe Kiely, 29, said she went because, "Victorian nurses would help us if we needed it".

She said her kids, aged 8 and 10, probably hadn't fully realised just how long she would be away.

"They do get it, I think," she said.

"They were stoked for it and then about half-an-hour later they were like, oh God … it'll probably kick in about a week when it would've been a while … but we can Facetime, I Facetime them every night."

The nurses are scheduled to complete their deployment on August 5, followed by two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine, but it has been revealed they could be asked to extend their stay by as long as three months.

"There is no social life for us down here, even though it sounds like we're here on a holiday, it's far from that. It's work and home and eat and sleep and then repeat," nurse Kelly Micallef said.

 

Queensland nurse Kelly Micallef.
Queensland nurse Kelly Micallef.

 

 

Ms Micallef and her colleague Alicia Partridge, 22, both spent a day at the North Melbourne public housing towers to complete important testing on residents.

"Getting deployed out to the housing commission definitely hit home that this is very real," Ms Partridge said.

The nurses were escorted in the building by police and had all residents they approached agree to testing.

"A lot of them are quite scared and overwhelmed," Ms Micallef said.

"A lot of them were from a non-English speaking background so it was really hard to verbalise that we were here to test for COVID-19, when we couldn't actually show them our mouths because we had our PPE (personal protection equipment).

"They were treated with respect and dignity and we got 100 per cent compliance with our testing."

 

Elise Adair, Alicia Partridge, Ruth Blunderfield and Sharon Mackay take a selfie at the airport before departing to Victoria. Picture: David Clark
Elise Adair, Alicia Partridge, Ruth Blunderfield and Sharon Mackay take a selfie at the airport before departing to Victoria. Picture: David Clark

 

 

Ms Partridge said signing up to the month-long deployment "wasn't even a question".

"Our goal as nurses is to look after people so it wasn't a question it was just a 'sign me up'," she said.

The nurses agreed that morale was "really good" among the healthcare staff.

"Morale is actually really good, we all keep ourselves positive and laughing," Ms Micallef said.

"We're sharing stories with each other, hearing a lot about the defence force, the type of nursing they have going on, and they want to know about what type of civilian nursing we do."

 

 

 

Originally published as Qld nurses to spend three months away to fight COVID


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