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One of Mater’s most important COVID-19 missions will come to an end on June 30 when its last remaining hotel quarantine team stands down.
Mater has been at the forefront of Queensland’s quarantine network since September 28, 2020, when it responded to an urgent plea for assistance from the State Government.
Since then Mater’s nursing, administrative and phlebotomy teams have cared for more 42,500 guests and conducted 187,500 COVID-19 pathology tests.
Before Queensland’s national and international borders opened last year, Mater’s dedicated team was caring for almost half of all quarantine arrivals in the state at four Brisbane CBD hotels.
Mater Hotel Quarantine Associate Director Jessica Lewis said Mater staff had played a vital role in protecting Queenslanders from COVID-19 until the successful roll-out of the state’s vaccination program.
“The whole purpose of hotel quarantine was to keep Queenslanders safe, especially at the time when there was no vaccine for COVID-19 – and we succeeded,” Ms Lewis said.
At its peak, the quarantine team comprised more than 60 nurses and administrative staff, who worked in tandem with Mater Pathology phlebotomists, QPS officers, hotel workers and Metro North HHS staff.
Since February Mater has provided nursing and phlebotomy services at the Novotel Brisbane Airport Hotel for quarantine and isolation purposes. The team have cared for seamen and tourists requiring quarantine services, as well as travellers and vulnerable persons in the community in need of isolation accommodation after testing positive for COVID-19.
Mater Hotel Quarantine members came together on Wednesday for a morning tea to celebrate their achievement – and swap lots of stories.
“Working in the unique space of Hotel Quarantine has been the highlight of my career and so many others in our team say the same,” Ms Lewis said.
“My predecessor Ros Gavin created a dedicated, cohesive team who always had each other’s backs and worked tirelessly to help one another and our guests.
“The team morale was great. People have worked together who will now be friends for life.”
Mater Emergency Commander Jen Pitt said Mater’s hotel quarantine team had shown incredible agility, initiative and compassion.
“Mater was given a very complex and fast-changing challenge, but the team responded magnificently,” Ms Pitt said.
“They played a critical role in protecting Queenslanders when we were at our most vulnerable.
“Mater is grateful for the job they did – and very proud too.”
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