Thousands of home welfare checks after coronavirus cases are sent home


Health authorities have allowed some coronavirus patients, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, to return home for treatment instead of keeping them isolated in hospital.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said home treatment would become more common as more people were infected in a bid to free up hospital beds for critical cases.

“I am aware that a small number of the currently confirmed patients have been allowed to isolate themselves at home,” Mr Miles said.

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“As we transition to seeing more cases, we would see more people receive their treatment at home.”

Mr Miles said health systems would be gradually moving towards home treatment for the virus.

“Most people, 80 per cent of people, would have very mild symptoms, something like a common cold,” he said.

“It’s entirely reasonable, it’s better for them, it’s better for our hospitals too, if we can treat them in their homes.”

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The Australian Red Cross has already made more than 8,861 welfare calls to 3,406 people who have been self-isolating.

Mr Miles said most of Queensland’s infections had been mild.

“All of these cases are relatively mild,” he said.

“None are in intensive care at this stage.

“We’ve treated the early cases in hospital because we could, because we had that capacity.

“But also because it gave us an opportunity to observe the virus and observe how people responded to it.”

Doctors conduct home checks


Debbie Kilroy says she is being well looked after by doctors. (Supplied: Debbie Kilroy)

On Monday, prisoner advocate Debbie Kilroy and activist Boneta-Marie Mabo revealed they had tested positive for COVID-19 after being on the same plane as Mr Dutton.

Mr Dutton returned a positive result for the virus on Friday and was admitted to hospital in Brisbane.

He told Sky News on Monday that he had since been able to return home and is self-isolating after his family moved to a friend’s house.

Ms Kilroy and Ms Mabo are also among the coronavirus patients being treated outside hospital.

“We are not being hospitalised as there’s limited beds,” Mr Kilroy said.

“We are the first ones being quarantined in community.”


Boneta-Marie Mabo says its been difficult being away from family while in home-quarantine. (Supplied: Debbie Kilroy)

On social media, Ms Kilroy shared images of her home-quarantine treatment, which included checks from doctors wearing protective equipment.

“Day three in quarantine in our community … being well looked after,” she said.

“I feel quite unwell with flu-like symptoms.

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“Don’t risk your health cause (sic) the virus is vicious.

“Self-quarantine and take care everyone.”

Ms Mabo said the hardest part of being in home quarantine was having to stay away from her daughter.

“It’s quite distressing, it’s been hard,” she said.

“There is no treatment for this, so we’ve just been keeping our fluids up, eating healthy, doing what we can to stay healthy in the situation.”

Actor Tom Hanks, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, was discharged from the Gold Coast University hospital in the last day.

His wife Rita Wilson remains in the isolation ward.

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(ABC News)

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