28 Feb 2022

Surf lifesavers frustrated at Covid-positive swimmer's rescue

From Checkpoint, 5:47 pm on 28 February 2022

'An incredibly poor decision'. That's the assessment of lifeguards after a Covid-positive swimmer needed rescuing at Bethells Beach yesterday.

The person entered the water knowing they have Covid.. and then needed the help of lifeguards after getting in trouble. Surf Lifesaving Northern Region chief executive Matt Williams told Checkpoint.

He said he was "flabbergasted" someone with Covid-19 would even consider going swimming.

"I can't see how a sane person would have made that decision. We're all stuck in the same boat here, but when you're putting those lifeguards at risk, who are already doing so much for the community, it felt like it was very ill-conceived."

The person entered the water knowing they have Covid-19, and then needed the help of lifeguards after they got into trouble.

He was brought out of the water by lifeguards, but CPR wasn't needed. A member of the public then informed the lifeguards that the person had Covid-19, which he confirmed.

Williams said if they had infected one lifeguard, that could have a flow-on effect and the whole club could become infected.

"It's not what lifeguards need after such a hard summer on the beach and already giving so much. So we're really asking the public to use some common sense... stay home, do your 10 days, and go to the beach after that."

Williams said lifeguard numbers were already affected by people isolating and returning to university after the summer break.

"Luckily we have some reserve capability within the region where lifeguards can come from other clubs to support, but that being said, it's just not what is needed. There's enough challenges for lifeguards to work through at the moment without having to deal with this."