Queensland Health is sending its top communicable diseases expert, Dr Sonya Bennett (pictured), to Victoria to assist with the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with another 40 registered nurses to follow after an expression of interest was sent out by Queensland Health.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said the rising number of cases in Victoria meant that all assistance needed to be given to help manage the outbreak.
“We have done very well so far, but we have a duty to help each other when these sorts of local outbreaks arise, and Dr Bennett is one of the leading experts in this field,” Mr Miles said.
“She is well known and well-regarded on the national stage.”
Deputy Premier Miles said following a request from Victoria Health, Queensland has opened an expression of interest for 40 registered nurses to be deployed to Victoria.
“The 40 registered nurses will apply and be available for deployment in the coming days,” he said.
“The nurses will assist with COVID-19 testing.
“We have some of the best nurses in the country and it is important we support our fellow Australians.”
Dr Bennett is the Executive Director of the Communicable Diseases Branch within the Prevention Division of Queensland Health, part-time medical officer in the Royal Australian Navy and an Associate Professor at Griffith University.
“She generally performs the role of Chief Health Officer in Dr Jeannette Young’s absence and is responsible for the state-wide strategic direction and policy around communicable diseases,” Mr Miles said.
“Her role includes managing state-wide incidents of public health significance, like COVID-19.
“Sonya is highly regarded by her peers and is the chair of the national body, the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).
CDNA was established in 1989. It is a joint initiative of the National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. It has played a leading role in development of the COVID-19 National Guideline for Public Health Units and in providing advice to government and non-government sectors.
“Sonya will be able to bring her formidable medical and disease knowledge, as well as her organizational, policy and management skills to providing assistance to Victoria.”