COVID has impacted all of us differently. In Western Australia, strict border controls kept case numbers extremely low through the first two years of the pandemic. Nevertheless, Royal Wolf has been on the front foot, helping clients prepare for the inevitable increase in cases to come.
Keith Simpson, Royal Wolf Regional Manager West (covering Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory) says he noticed just how needed Royal Wolf solutions were during a personal visit to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth.
“I noticed that a triage nurse was sitting outside under a gazebo in the howling wind,” he says.
“He had to stop everyone before going into accident and emergency and ask them a set of Covid-related questions. He was doing this in absurd weather conditions, while sitting in a clear plastic poncho.”
It was hardly ideal working conditions, but Mr Simpson knew Royal Wolf was soon to install a container in front of the emergency department that would allow triage nurses to safely identify potential COVID patients and help quarantine them from other patients.
“I promised him in a few weeks, his life would change immeasurably,” Mr Simpson recalls.
ROYAL WOLF CONTAINERS CRUCIAL FOR WA HEALTH
The solution at Fiona Stanley Hospital caught on, with Rockingham Hospital in Perth’s southwest soon ordering a triage station of its own, plus a kiosk container that could be used in a drive-through testing centre within a car park.
Shane Bettinson, Royal Wolf Business Development Manager for WA, says he was constantly thinking about bespoke solutions clients would need during this time.
“The health care workers at Rockingham Hospital were receiving negative comments because they had a temporary (testing) system that was causing delays,” he says.
The drive-through testing site now allows people to wait in their cars, making the process much smoother and safer for everyone.
Other health providers needed solutions unique to their sites.
In the state’s far north, healthcare workers have more than COVID to worry about. They need to ensure any system can handle the harsh weather conditions.
“In Broome, we’re in preparation to supply a drive-through COVID testing site,” Mr Bettinson explains.
“They needed it to be cyclone rated. The whole point is to make sure the containers are engineered to withstand a cyclone event. So, we’ve come up with a solution to do that.”
“The containers are high enough to accommodate a roof shade system that acts as tie-downs for people to drive through. That’s something that is a bit different – we’ve tried to come up with a solution that works in this challenging scenario.”
The triage solution outside Fiona Stanley Hospital is now also in place at Rockingham and Sir Charles Gairdner hospitals.
“I met with the two head nurses at Sir Charles Gairdner – they’re excited (about the Royal Wolf solution),” Mr Bettinson says. “It gives them a better system. While I was there (before installation), two people walked into emergency without being triaged – that’s what they wanted to stop.”
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO PROTECT WORKERS
Royal Wolf is also developing bespoke solutions to help stop the spread of COVID outside the healthcare industry.
For example, Amazon has a huge warehouse space adjacent to Perth Airport. At the moment, delivery drivers and Amazon staff use the same entrance and are regularly co-mingling. As cases rose in Western Australia, it was clear this situation couldn’t continue.
“I’m going to be setting up a 10ft container at the entrance,” Mr Bettinson says. “So the drivers aren’t coming into the entrance warehouse area. You’re keeping the people who aren’t working for Amazon separate to the workers.”
He explains there has been a real sense of urgency to set up solutions before border restrictions change.
Yet, with the Omicron variant already in Western Australia, it is clear businesses can’t wait until the border is open to prepare themselves for COVID in the community.
“I was sending a 40 footer up to the detention centre 80km north of Perth,'' Mr Bettinson says. “They cancelled it once they heard the borders were going to remain closed. But then they realised Omicron is in the community so it’s going ahead again.”
BUSINESSES NEED TO PREPARE NOW
Mr Simpson says as COVID spreads in Western Australia, more businesses are going to need solutions to keep people safe.
“There was a real urgency (before the announcement about the border was made),” he says. “Everything needed to be in place by February 5. We were trying to deliver as much as we could when we could.”
Mr Simpson says with Omicron now in Western Australia, Royal Wolf will continue to come up with new solutions to mitigate community spread.
“We’re pursuing something at the moment regarding the test kits,” he says. “Whether it’s PCR or RATs. We’re trying to define the conditions under which they will need to be stored. I’ve touched base with the COVID Response team in WA. We think temperature-controlled units will be suitable.”
Mr Bettinson adds the company’s creative solutions have caught the attention of decision makers who need to keep our community safe, and he hopes Royal Wolf can continue to help.
“It’s all word of mouth,” he says. “Fiona Stanley came about and then Rockingham saw that … It’s great to be in a position to provide solutions and assist.”