Health authorities are preparing to double the capacity of intensive care units around the country, and the deputy chief medical officer has said new ventilators won't be right for all patients.
Professor Paul Kelly said health authorities were planning not only for an increase in the numbers of people in intensive care, but across the hospital system.
"Many hospitals are looking at ways that they can increase their capacity in hospitals or to move capacity into a way of having people that are sick with COVID-19 safely for themselves, for staff of the hospital as well," he said.
Asked whether new modified ventilators would be up to the job of treating people with the virus, Professor Kelly said even if they weren't the best available, they could save lives.
"So there were certainly some people that will get sick with coronavirus that do need the specialised type of ventilators that are in intensive care, it's true," Professor Kelly said.
"In the end, if the only thing we have is the ventilators that might not be the 100 per cent, absolute gold standard but they are effective, they do work, and up to a point can be life-saving, I know what I'd prefer to have if I was sick."
Professor Kelly confirmed more than 178,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Australia, and that new tests were being assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
By Thursday afternoon Australia had 2793 cases of the disease, and 13 deaths.
Australia's testing rate was "probably more" than any other country in the world on a per capita basis, and was 25 times as many as the United States, on a per capita basis, Professor Kelly said, with a 1.5 per cent rate of positive tests.
"It convinces me that we're finding the ones that we need to look for," he said.
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