coronavirus - Sea FM Tasmania Burnie

'Borderline' test in the state's south

Latest Corona

Health authorities are investigating one potential coronavirus case in the state's South, the first "borderline" test to be returned in Tasmania.

"This is the first time in Tasmania and we're currently probing the case further," Deputy Director of Public Health Scott McKeown said.

"We are taking a precautionary approach, which includes isolation and contact tracking to manage any public health risk."

More than two-thirds of Tasmania's 214 cases have come in the North West, where a hospital outbreak has forced a tight lockdown and widespread testing.

On Monday 744 people were tested statewide, with 619 of those in the North West.

10 of Tasmania's 11 virus deaths have been in the North West.

'Do not hoard', PM tells grocery shoppers

Shoppers are seen at Coles in Earlwood, in Sydney, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Coles will on Wednesday hold its first

Shoppers are seen at Coles in Earlwood, in Sydney, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Coles will on Wednesday hold its first "community hour" for seniors and pension card holders from 7am at its stores nationwide, before opening to everyone else. (AAP Image/Danny Casey)

Stop hoarding.

That's the blunt message from the prime minister to Australians in the wake of mass panic buying sparked by the spread of the coronavirus.

"It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis," Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"It's ridiculous, it's un-Australian, and it must stop."

Bad behaviour and people emptying supermarket shelves are distracting officials' attention and diverting important resources to keeping shopping centre supply lines open, he said.

The prime minister read from the advice of senior medical officials, which discourages the panic-buying of food and other supplies.

Australia's major supermarket chains also banded together to plead with customers to be considerate of each other and stop abusing staff.

The call made in newspaper advertisements across the country came after more footage emerged online of customers verbally attacking retail staff because they couldn't find the goods they wanted in-store.

Aldi, Coles, IGA and Woolworth said they were doing everything they could to get as much produce on the shelves as possible, often under difficult circumstances.

"So we ask you to please be considerate in the way you shop," the ad says.

"We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with disability.

"No one working or shopping in any of our stores should experience abusive or aggressive behaviour."

Mr Morrison also urged people not to abuse staff.

Coles on Wednesday held its first "community hour" for seniors and pension card holders from 7-8am at its stores nationwide, before opening to everyone else.

People with government-issued concession cards on Tuesday flocked to Woolworths, which implemented a similar measure, and IGA is considering whether to roll out the same.

Coles is trying to employ more than 5000 casual workers to help restock its supermarkets quicker under a fast-tracked induction process, and will hire more Coles Online delivery van drivers.

Panic-buying sparked by the spread of coronavirus in Australia has seen supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta, rice and frozen food, as well as tinned and other dried goods.

The issue has caused stress and frustration amongst elderly shoppers, many of whom find it difficult to make frequent visits to supermarkets for essential goods. In many cases, particularly for toilet paper, the shelves are often bare.

Woolworths fresh food director Paul Harker said there was no shortage of goods in Australia but it was a logistics puzzle to get products to stores in line with the pace and demand.

© AAP 2020

'This virus may never go away,' WHO says

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The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organisation says, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a "massive effort" to counter it.

"It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away," WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan told an online briefing on Wednesday.

"I think it is important we are realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear," he added. "I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be."

However, he said the world had some control over how it coped with the disease, although this would take a "massive effort" even if a vaccine was found - a prospect he described as a "massive moonshot".

More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including several in clinical trials, but experts have underscored the difficulties of finding vaccines that are effective against coronaviruses.

Ryan noted that vaccines exist for other illnesses, such as measles, that have not been eliminated.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added: "The trajectory is in our hands, and it's everybody's business and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic."

Ryan said "very significant control" of the virus was required in order to lower the assessment of risk, which he said remained high at the "national, regional and global levels".

Governments around the world are struggling with the question of how to reopen their economies while still containing the virus, which has infected almost 4.3 million people, according to a Reuters tally, and led to more than 291,000 deaths.

 

The European Union pushed on Wednesday for a gradual reopening of borders within the bloc that have been shut by the pandemic, saying it was not too late to salvage some of the northern summer tourist season while still keeping people safe.

But public health experts say extreme caution is needed to avoid new outbreaks.

Ryan said opening land borders was less risky than easing air travel, which was a "different challenge".

"We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic," WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told the briefing.

© RAW 2020

"An extraordinarily difficult time"

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Premier Peter Gutwein is warning people not to flout social distancing regulations by holding backyard parties as the state's pubs, clubs and casinos prepare to close at noon on Monday. 

Places of worship, gym and indoor sporting centres will also close, while restaurants will be limited to takeaway only.

Nursing home visitors will be limited to two at a time for up to two hours, with children under 16 banned, unless it's an end-of-life situation.

The typically combative Premier blasted the disastrous example set by those in Great Britain. 

"We are not going to go through the farcical situation that we saw in Britain, where "last drinks" brought hundreds of people together for one last night, which must have - there is no doubt in my mind - further spread the virus in that country," said Mr Gutwein. 

The Premier says schools and childcare centres will remain open for the time being. 

"Tomorrow night at National Cabinet we will be looking again at the issue of private gatherings," he said. 

"This cannot be a migration from the pub to the backyard; this is important, this will save lives."  

"Do not come": Spirit crackdown

Spirit Tasmania

The State Government is cracking down on Spirit of Tasmania arrivals, now banning non-essential passengers altogether. 

Some people have been seen ignoring self-isolation requirements minutes after leaving the vessel in Devonport.

"As from today, if you are travelling to Tasmania and it is non-essential travel, do not come," said Premier Peter Gutwein in announcing the rules, which exempt Tasmanian visitors coming home.  

"Do not get on the TT-Line. What we will do is turn you around and ask you to go back." 

A Tasmania Police compliance team is being tasked with enforcing self-isolation and non-essential gathering rules.

In other developments, Tasmanian Government Minister Jane Howlett is going into self-isolation.

She'll be absent from Parliament this week after her chief of staff had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in Queensland.

Mr Gutwein says it proves no one is exempt.

"While I believe the vast majority of Tasmanians are doing the right thing when asked to self-isolate, there are examples being brought forward where people are going against the rules," Mr Gutwein told the daily coronavirus briefing in Hobart. 

"I want to say again: stop deliberately putting people's lives at risk."

The state's infection count stands at 28 after news of another half-dozen cases emerged on Monday evening. 

The cases are evenly split between northern and southern Tasmania, and five of them stemmed from the Ruby Princess liner which docked in Sydney last week. 

Three people have recovered completely. 

 

"Toughest quarantine measures in the country"

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Premier of Tasmania Peter Gutwein speaking to media ahead of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Sydney, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AAP Image/James Gourley)

Any non-essential arrival in Tasmania - including those returning home - will be placed into quarantine at a government-operated facility, as of midnight Sunday. 

Premier Peter Gutwein announced the strict new measures on Saturday, reaffirming the need to secure "Fortress Tasmania" from the spread of COVID-19.

There will be one facility in the south, one in the north and one in the north-west, operated by Communities Tasmania and overseen by police and ADF personnel. 

It comes as the state recorded a further 12 cases of coronavirus overnight, including a healthcare worker from the Mersey Community Hospital. 

The majority of the latest cases are relations of cruise ship passangers or people returning from overseas, ranging in age groups from 20s to 80s.

As of noon on Saturday, Tasmania had 59 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced all Australians returning from overseas would be placed into hotel quarantine at their point of entry for two weeks, without getting on a connecting flight. 

The new measures mean Tasmanians returning from overseas would have to do 2 separate two-week periods of quarantine at government-operated facilities. 

Also as of last night at 6pm, there's a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people on public or private land with Mr Gutwein fearing the sunny weather this weekend will entice Tasmanians to congregate.  

10 self-quarantine activities

10 Self Quarantine activites

With many businesses now advising staff to self-quarantine and work from home for the next few weeks to avoid the spread of covid-19, most of us will be spending majority of our time at home. We want to help keep work and life separate while still feeling comfortable. So schedule your work hours and read on for a list of suggested activities to help keep you sane and a little less isolated while in quarantine. (you can even do most of these, yes even #3, while face timing your friends and family).

1. Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favourite Netflix shows. You can link up with friends and host long distance movie nights and TV watch parties! There ain't no party like a Netflix watch party! 

2. Read

Reading increases creativity and imagination, lowers stress levels AND makes you smarter. Sign us up (to that library card)! You can find many great book recommendations and free downloads online. Catch up on classics and learn more through articles you’ve always wanted to read but didn’t have the time for. You could even start a book club with your friends and discuss (facetime) whether your team Jacob or Edward. Feeling inspired by all the new books you’ve read, why don’t you try writing your own?

3. Have a Bath

There’s nothing more enjoyable than submerging yourself in water, whether it’s for hygiene, leisure, health or because of a global pandemic. There’s some serious heath benefits, scientifically proven, to taking a bath such as reducing pain and inflammation, calming the nervous system, helping blood flow easier and relieving symptoms of cold and flu. Try out a new luscious bath bomb or epsom salt, lie back and relax.

4. Get Creative

Have you ever seen an artwork and thought “wow, I wish I could make that”. Whatever you want to draw or paint, you can learn the process through online courses or just give it a go and challenge yourself. Experiment with different mediums, charcoal, pencil, oil paints and more to find what you enjoy best. It can give you a real sense of achievement once you have them hanging on your wall. Watch the video below for some serious watercolour artwork inspo. 

 

5. Puzzles & Games

Dust off those boards games and have a friendly match. There’s nothing like getting to know your family better (or worse) than over a game of Monopoly. If you’re in self isolation and have no one to play connect 4 with, you can download plenty of games on your phone such as “Scrabble…with friends” or “chess…with friends” etc. Get out that Nintendo, PS4 or Xbox, we’ve all watched Witcher, have you thought of playing the game and living through Geralt?

6. Learn New Recipes

You probably have a repertoire of simple meals you make each week (cheese on toast) or maybe you’ve vowed to go meatless? You can look up recipes online and get some inspiration from Instagram. Plug in that slow cooker and add in all your veggies. How about perfecting that old family recipe, and the beauty of surprising a loved one with their favourite meal. Having pasta? try a different sauce or creating the pasta from scratch. Bon appétit!

7. Get Organised

Now is the perfect time to declutter and keep only what you need. Sort your clothing into piles, bag up all your unwanted clothing and have them ready to donate. Throw out old makeup that is past its prime, and wash all your brushes. Use your recycling and create a compost. Sell unwanted items on Facebook marketplace or gumtree. Wipe down all surfaces daily. Create a to do list and take control of your time and priorities.

8. Keep a Quarantine Diary

Putting your thoughts and feelings into words can change the way your brain deals with stressful information and makes room for other, more positive thoughts. By keeping a record your future self (and kids) will be interested in how you dealt with this intense time and disruption to daily life.

9. Show Pets Your Love

Go outside and soak up the sun by taking your pupper for a walk or hike, also a great way to get in your exercise as we assume you won’t be hitting up your gym. Teach your pets a new trick and show them off, you can even film it and start a youtube or Instagram so you can post images and write captions from your dog’s perspective “smooches for mama”.

10. Dance

Put on your favourite tune and get moving! Dancing is a fun way to increase your aerobic fitness, reduce stress and boost your mood! Finally you can learn the dance steps to “Ain’t no party like an S Club Party” (I know you’ve been thinking about that song since I mentioned it in the first point).

10th Tasmanian virus death

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A tenth person has died from coronavirus in Tasmania.

The 90-year-old man from the North West who was receiving care at the Mersey Community Hospital passed away yesterday.

Premier Peter Gutwein has sent his sympathies to the deceased's loved ones.

"Sadly this is the 10th life lost to coronavirus, and the 9th life lost in the North West of the State as a result of the outbreak. To the North West community, which I know to be a tight knit community, my thoughts are with you all."

"We will continue to undertake the measures needed to keep Tasmanians safe. Please, look out for one another. Stay home and save lives," he said in a statement.

Two men in their 20s, also from the North West, have tested positive to COVID-19, bringing to the state tally to 207, with 117 recovered. 

Both are close contacts of a previously confirmed case.

The region's retail restrictions have been extened until next Sunday May 3rd, while school holidays have been prolonged for 4 days. 

Anyone across the state with even mild symptoms is being told to get tested.

As of Friday night, there were 13 inpatients at Tasmanian hospitals due to coronavirus including one ICU patient.

Nearly 8000 tests have been completed. 

11th case confirmed, prison visits banned

virus 1

The state government has announced a temporary ban on personal visits to prisoners, in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It comes after Tasmania's 11th case of the disease was confirmed, a woman whom arrived from the UK on Wednesday, now in isolation at home in the south of the state.

Another Tasmanian - a woman in her 50s - has the condition and is being treated in Sydney after disembarking from the Ruby Princess cruise ship on Thursday.

There were 54 other Tasmanian passengers on board the vessel who have all had been contacted and informed of they must self-quarantine once they reach their destination.

Premier Peter Gutwein said he doesn't take the decision to ban jail visits lightly.

"The TPS will increase telephone access for prisoners where possible and appropriate, and put extra resources into alternative communication measures, such as video calls, to ensure that prisoners can continue to connect with their families and friends."  

The Premier also delivered a frank message to Tasmanians generally.

"If you don't need to go out, don't. Don't put the health and safety of other people at risk. Be cautious, be responsible and importantly, abide by the rules because the penalties will apply and they will be substantial."

Failure to self-isolate once ordered can attract a fine of up to $16,500 or six months prison.


 Image: Pixabay 

11th virus death in Tasmania

coronavirus update

Tasmania has recorded its 11th death from coronavirus

The man in his 90s passed away overnight at the Mersey Community Hospital, only hours after a 90-year-old male died from the condition at the same facility.

"On behalf of the Tasmanian Government I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this very difficult time," Premier Peter Gutwein said. 

"This is the 10th life lost in the North West of the state and my thoughts are with the entire community in the region who I know are hurting right now. We must continue to do all we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus and follow the rules put in place to keep one another safe."

A staff member from the hospital was Tasmania's only COVID-19 case confirmed last night.

Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch is confident the man in his 40s had very few close contacts.

"This healthcare worker took themself off work as soon as they had symptoms - which is exactly what we expect healthcare workers to do - substantially reducing the risk to fellow staff and patients."

The Mersey Community Hospital is said to be undertaking processes to ensure there's no outbreak similar to that of Burnie's hospitals - which are still undergoing a deep clean. 

Hundreds of North West health workers are finishing up their two week quarantine period and beginning to return to shifts, pending a negative test result.  

Tasmanian has now had 208 confirmed infections, with 123 recoveries.

12th person dies of COVID-19 in Tasmania

Corona Update

An 86-year-old woman has become the 12th person to die from coronavirus in Tasmania.

She was being cared for at the Mersey Community Hospital.

This is the 12th life lost to coronavirus in Tasmania, with 11 of those related to the North West outbreak. It takes the national toll to 91.

Premier Peter Gutwein extended his deepest sympathies to her family, friends and loved ones.

“We must continue to do all we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus and to keep Tasmanians safe and secure,” he said.

13 Tas deaths as national count eases

Coronavirus latest news2

Indications continue that Australia is bringing the pandemic under control, with the ACT the first jurisdiction to record no active cases - among five mainland jurisdictions with no new infections in the past day. 

South Australia will reportedly become the first state to loosen pandemic restrictions, from May 21.

There have been no new cases of covid-19 in South Australia for more than one week, the result boosted by the highest rate of testing per capita across the nation

That state's Premier Steve Marshall has told The Australian they'll be able to slowly ease restrictions and not suffer the setbacks seen in other countries.

945 people still have the illness nationwide, including 64 in Tasmania, after the number of active cases dropped by 41.

NSW remains the nation's hotspot with 692 active cases, Queensland the second highest with 84. 

Another two Tasmanian cases, a man and a woman in their 50s and 70s, were confirmed in the north and northwest overnight.

Two 86-year-old women have become the state's 12th and 13th coronavirus fatalities after passing away at the Mersey Community Hospital. 

The deaths came within 24 hours of each other. 

"It is a stark reminder of the serious nature of this virus and our need to maintain strong measures to mitigate its spread," said Premier Peter Gutwein while conveying his sympathies to their friends and families.  

205

coronavirus update

More Covid-19 infections on Tasmania's northwest coast are casting doubt on whether the region's hardline restrictions will be lifted on Sunday.

The four latest infections include a possible instance of community transmission, two workers at Burnie's public and private hospitals and a close contact of a confirmed case, taking the state's total to 205.

Three women and one man are aged in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. 

Premier Peter Gutwein says Public Health is monitoring the situation. 

"We will continue to review on a day-by-day basis whether or not the restrictions are lifted on Sunday," he said. 

"My hope is they will be able to, because that will mean that the snapshot we've got and the number of positive tests and cases we're seeing has flattened." 

The State's Director of Public Health says there are some positive indications. 

"There have been no further cases from any of the three North West nursing homes where residents and staff were tested late last week," said Dr Mark Veitch. 

"A concerted effort is being made to identify any further cases of coronavirus in the North West. Anyone who lives in the North West who currently, or in the last few days has had respiratory symptoms like a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or fever should arrange testing through the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or their GP."

 

3rd Burnie hospital worker with coronavirus

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The medical and surgical wards at Burnie's North West Regional Hospital are closed to new admissions, after a third worker at the facility tested positive to coronavirus.

A full investigation was already underway to aggressively trace and track the movements of the first two diagnosed medical ward staff members.

The other COVID-19 case confirmed late yesterday was a child from Northern Tasmania, taking the state's toal to 82. 

Around 18 close contact hospital staff have been put into self isolation, but authorities say they'll be more.

"We're exploring options both within and outside the North-West Regional Hospital. We do have a co-located private hospital and we'll be in communication to determine if there's any excess capacity we can utilise there. We recognise that there is in-patient capacity at the Mersey Community Hospital and we may well be able to transfer appropriately selected patients there. And also the configuration of some of the wards at the hospital may change," Chief Medical Officer Professor Tony Lawler said. 

26 Tasmanians have now recovered from the virus.

3016 tests have been carried out, that number boosted in recent days as authorities attempt to unearth evidence of community transmission in the north-west. 

Meanwhile, Legislative Council elections for the seats of Rosevears and Huon are off for the time being.

Attorney-General Elise Archer says they're aiming to hold the Upper House polls before August 25th, if possible.  

Premier Peter Gutwein has also announced Tasmanian boats will only be allowed to launch from the same municipality in which they're kept.

There's fears thousands of people will descend upon "vulnerable coastal communities" this Easter.


Image: Vos Construction

6th case confirmed, cruise ships locked out

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All cruise ships will be suspended from visiting Tasmanian ports until June 30th in an unprecedented move by the state government.

There are now six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tasmania, after a female in her 60s tested positive late yesterday, a travel companion of a previous case in Hobart.

Spirit of Tasmania vessels are excluded from the new ban, while domestic flights are continuing as normal.

A single vessel will be allowed to refuel in Hobart on Sunday, but none of the 43 passengers will disembark.

Premier Peter Gutwein says he's not looking at closing the state's borders altogether, but believes this latest announcement is the right move.

"This is not a decision I make lightly, and one which has been done in careful consultation with senior members of our State Emergency Management Committee, Tasports and the tourism industry," he said on Sunday.

5 vessels were due to dock in Hobart, 5 in Burnie and 2 in Port Arthur during the period until June 30. 

Meanwhile Tasmania's sixth case of coronavirus is not being considered an example of community transmission.

The woman in her 60s is currently in isolation at the Royal Hobart Hospital, a tourist and travel companion of a previous confirmed case who had been overseas.

"While it is likely it had occurred within Tasmania, it has not occurred within the broader community because this person had already been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case," Health Minister Sarah Courtney said.

The 5 other cases are all in a stable condition.  

A Tasmanian Response Package from the state government is due to be unveiled this week. 

8th coronavirus death in Tasmania

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A 74-year-old man at the Mersey Community Hospital has become Tasmania's eighth death from coronavirus, and second in 24 hours.

He'd been transferred from the North West Regional Hospital which closed amid the outbreak, but has since reopened its Emergency Department.

Premier Peter Gutwein has sent his sympathies to the family.

"That's eight deaths in less than 3 weeks. I cannot express just how serious this is. This is not the time to become complacent," he said. 

As of 6pm on Friday night, there had been 184 cases across Tasmania, 68 of which had recovered. 

About 500 coronavirus test results from staff and patients at three aged care facilities in the North West where an infected worked completed shifts are due back this afternoon.

Deputy Director of Public Health Scott McKeown says a specialist team has been established, should there be widespread infection at the nursing homes.

"This team is being led by a senior public health medical specialist who's also an epidemiologist, another public health doctor, 3 public health nurses, 2  epidemiologists and the support of the extensive team of contact tracers who work within Public Health Services," he said.

Also from today's media briefing, the Health Minister fired back at long standing accusations of not having adequate personal protective equipment for frontline staff.

Sarah Courtney says from today, a weekly outline of current stocks will be released to health workers.

"We have placed orders worth an additional 26 million dollars over and above our normal supply levels to prepare us for this pandemic. Those orders have already been placed. This is a key priority of ours," she said. 

A dinner party causes illness to spread: CMO

Corona Update

An illegal dinner party attended by medical workers in Tasmania, is likely to have exacerbated the Covid-19 crisis in the state's North West.

The revelation has been made by Australia's Chief Medical Officer during a briefing to New Zealand politicians.

Professor Brendan Murphy was giving a special committee an update on the situation in Australia.

During the video conference he told MPs, the problems in Tasmania could have been avoided:

"You have to be prepared to deal with further cases. We thought we were doing really well in the last week, and we had a cluster of 49 cases in hospital in Tasmania just over the weekend - most of them went to an illegal dinner party of medical workers," he said.

Premier Peter Gutwein has flagged a police investigation, but still believes it's a rumour. 

"Our contact tracing has not identified a dinner party of health workers, however, I accept that this is a serious allegation and it's something that needs to be followed up," he told Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing. 

"So we will retrace our steps, but importantly I have asked Tasmania Police to investigate this matter, and that will be started today." 

Active cases holding steady

Doctor Medicine Health

Around a third of Tasmania's overall coronavirus cases remain active, with 135 recoveries, according to the latest figures.

Another four cases confirmed on Tuesday night, comprising three northwest coast healthcare workers and a northern Tasmanian infection, have taken the state's infection tally to 218 with 72 active.

Deputy Director of Public Health Scott McKeown says they're also looking into a borderline test result in the state's south.

"This person is not a confirmed case, but we are certainly taking a precautionary approach. The person has been in isolation during their illness," he said. 

"We're applying a rigourous contact tracing process and quarantine until we can be clearer." 

Meantime, Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck says he's keeping a close eye on developments at a virus-hit NSW nursing home which has seen another four residents die from Covid-19 in 24 hours.

A total of 11 people have now died at the Anglicare-run Newmark House in Western Sydney, taking the nation's deathtoll to 88.

The Senator has described the developments as "absolutely tragic" and says a panel of medical experts will chart a path forward for the facility. 

Relatives of residents have claimed they've been kept in the dark by the home's management. 

ADF called in to Tassie to fight COVID-19

World health coronavirus outbreak and international public infectious disease and global deadly virus health risk and flu spread or coronaviruses influenza as a pandemic medical conceptin with 3D illustration elements.

Tasmania has called in Australia's troops to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in the state's northwest.

About 5000 people have been forced into quarantine, made up mainly of healthcare staff and their families, for two weeks amid the closure of two hospitals.

The North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital in Burnie shut on Monday to be deep-cleaned by specialist teams.

The drastic move is the result of more than 60 cases in the state linked to the northwest outbreak, including 45 health workers and nine patients.

There was an increase of six cases on Monday, bringing the state total to 150.

In the battle against COVID-19, Australian Medical Assistance Teams, which are deployed in natural disasters, and Australian Defence Force medics will roll into town this week.

"This is the best way that we can get on top of this, that we can stop the spread of this insidious disease," Premier Peter Gutwein said.

Patients have been moved to Mersey Community Hospital.

Virus testing is also being increased in the outbreak region.

© AAP 2020

ADF to restart hospitals

Burnie

Australian Defence Force Medics and an Australian Medical Assistance Team are due in Tasmania's northwest this week to help get the region's hospitals back up and running.

The Northwest Regional and Northwest Private were closed for deep cleaning yesterday, with around 1200 staff going into quarantine after a rash of coronavirus infections in the area.

"With their families, we will have somewhere between 4-5000 people in the northwest that will be quarantined in the next 14 days; that is unprecedented," said Premier Peter Gutwein. 

The state's total case count rose to 150 overnight with another six in the northwest, including three health care workers.

23 patients were transferred to the Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe. 

Health Minister Sarah Courtney wants the NWRH emergency department reopened before the end of the week.

"We're prioritising the emergency department first; that will be thoroughly cleaned and then re-staffed with the ADF to ensure those services are covered," she said. 

"We will then make sure that the rest of the sites - particularly prioritising the maternity services at the North West Private Hospital - will be the next area of prioritisation." 

The closure of non-essential businesses will also hit the region hard. 

"My sense is that in northwest Tasmania, as in other parts of the state and other parts of the country, the recovery period - whenever it is allowed to start - is going to be fairly slow," prominent Tasmanian economist Saul Eslake told the Seven network.