Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt expresses his gratitude towards a nurse after giving an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during a press conference at Frankston Hospital in Melbourne.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt expresses his gratitude towards a nurse after giving an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during a press conference at Frankston Hospital in Melbourne.

Dozens of healthcare staff recruited in Northern NSW

WHEN the going gets tough, the tough get going, and never has this saying been more true for the Northern NSW Local Health District.

Recently retired health workers and nursing students have responded en masse to a call to arms for more health workers in the district.

On Monday, the health district's chief executive, Wayne Jones, confirmed "several dozen" workers have already joined the ranks in local hospitals.

"We are thrilled. A lot of people have been responding to the call to arms," Mr Jones said.

"We have heard from registered nurses, allied health assistants in nursing and even a recently retired, very experienced obstetrician."

The health district will continue to employ more staff in coming months.

Mr Jones hopes the extra staff will take the burden off existing health workers.

"As we expand our intensive care units, or staff become affected and they do need to take leave, they will be able to do so," he said.

"They're anxious, they feel the stresses of isolation.

"But they are holding up.

"As they're seeing more staff come on board, they're feeling assured and supported."

The number of people getting tested at local clinics is gradually increasing, however, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Northern NSW stayed at 47 from Saturday to Sunday at 8pm.

"I think nationally we are starting to see a slight flattening of the curve," Mr Jones said.

"Please don't take that as an assurance that things are getting better."

Mr Jones attributed the slowdown to strict measures imposed by the government, particularly border control, and has urged the public to continue practising good hygiene and social distancing.

"Now more than ever it is important to stick with these measures if we are really going to obtain a flattening of numbers," Mr Jones said.