The Tasmanian government is bracing for a potential second coronavirus outbreak in the state's North-West, as it keenly awaits the return of test results for staff and residents at three aged care facilities.
Last night, State Emergency Service workers transported about 500 test samples to the Royal Hobart Hospital laboratory, where they are being processed.
Premier Peter Gutwein said this morning that the results would be handed to government over the course of the day.
Coronavirus: All the latest updates on COVID-19 for Tasmania
"I am hopeful that we will not see a further outbreak but I think we should ready ourselves for the results of these tests," he said.
"And I know for the families that have people in these aged care facilities, they will be waiting with bated breath for those results."
The tests followed confirmation on Thursday that a health care worker who had worked in three aged care facilities in the North-West had tested positive for coronavirus.
The aged care facilities she had worked at were Melaleuca Nursing Home at East Devonport, Eliza Purton Home for the Aged at Ulverstone, and Coroneagh Park at Penguin.
Public Health acting director Scott McKeown said Public Health Services had stepped up a response team - including epidemiologists, doctors and nurses "in the preparation of the possibility of further cases in these aged care facilities".
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"Members of this team ... have already been working with the aged care facilities and the Australian government on the COVID plans that each of these facilities have in place, to be prepared for this possibility that we're facing," Dr McKeown said.
"Immediate protective actions have been put in place in that work that has occurred, which has included the quarantining of all staff who worked with the infected health care worker."
A total of 52 people have been identified as having worked with the infected health care worker, while 12 staff members have been identified as close contacts. All have been quarantined as a result of contact-tracing efforts.
Dr McKeown said Public Health Services was monitoring about 1000 health workers currently in quarantine in the North-West
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