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'No excuse' for attacks on Broome ambulance officers by COVID patients, regional head says

Justin Fonte says ambulance officers are putting in extra hours to make sure the community is covered. (Supplied: St John Ambulance)

The head of regional WA's ambulance service says attacks against officers by COVID-positive patients are the "ultimate act of disrespect".

Two women faced Broome Magistrates Court last week charged with assaulting a public officer, arising from separate incidents.

Within the space of 48 hours, one woman allegedly spat at an ambulance officer and another allegedly assaulted two officers and a security guard at Broome Hospital.

Both had tested positive for COVID-19 and police said the two women were aware of their diagnoses at the time of the incidents.

St John WA head of country ambulance operations Justin Fonte said while attacks on volunteers were rare, it was frustrating to see them at a time when local officers had been working around the clock helping country health services.

"Even a single act like we had the other day, it's reprehensible behaviour," he said.

"Our ambulance officers, they have families, and I think in the same way it's not OK for one of your family members to be assaulted, it's equally wrong for one of our officers to be on the receiving end of this ultimate act of disrespect."

Officers put in extra hours while others isolate

Mr Fonte said procedures were in place to help officers who came into contact with COVID-positive patients, and officers typically were dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) for their own protection.

Ambulance officers in the Kimberley have been increasingly exposed to the virus, with the region recording a higher rate of infection than Perth.

"While some officers are isolating, others are putting in extra hours to make sure their community is covered," Mr Fonte said.

COVID is spreading through Broome's transient population.  (ABC News: Erin Parke)

"Please thank them the next time you see them on behalf of the community. They certainly deserve our gratitude."

A large percentage of Broome's transient population has also recently tested positive to the virus, with some in the town being taken to local accommodation providers to isolate. 

Will winter bring a COVID-19 onslaught?
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