COVID-19 Anglesea Community Announcement

Anglesea Community Update on COVID-19

– current as of 15th March 2020
– please note, information will be changing rapidly
– please read this entire update

The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic due to the highly infectious nature of the virus, it’s impact in terms of mortality, and that there is no wide spread immunity or curative treatments currently. The most common symptoms are fever and cough however it does not act like a cold and it is not the flu.

We know from global data that anyone can catch the virus and that anyone can become critically unwell and die, even young and healthy adults. However we also know that those most at risk are people over 60 years old and those with other medical problems.

It appears that people are most infectious when they have symptoms and that asymptomatic spread (passing on the virus when you don’t have symptoms) is not driving spread of the disease in the community.

At Anglesea Medical we are putting in place measures to help contain the spread of the virus, protect staff and patients, and most importantly, protect the vulnerable people in our community. Everyone has a part to play in reducing the spread of the disease.

Simple measures, including social distancing and hand washing are very important. We are asking anyone with any flu like symptoms including a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath and/or you have returned from overseas in the last 14 days to call the clinic before coming in. Inside the clinic we are enacting increased hygiene and distancing measures – you may see tape on the floor that provides guidance around a 1.5m buffer from staff and patients to reduce the potential for close contact.

Currently you only meet guidelines for testing for COVID-19 if:

  1. you have a fever or acute respiratory infection AND international travel in the 14 days before onset of illness, or close contact in the 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Please note that casual contact is no longer a trigger for testing
  2. You have severe community-acquired pneumonia (who are critically ill) and no other cause is identified, with or without recent international travel
  3. You are is a healthcare worker with direct patient contact who has a fever (>37.5) AND an acute respiratory infection

Even if you feel you just have a cold and would like to see the doctor for something else, we ask that you let the receptionist know. We will be asking everyone with any symptoms listed above to put on a mask before entering the clinic, you will either be placed in an isolated room or be told to wait in your car to be seen. We may talk to you over the phone before seeing you. This is for the safety of other community members at the clinic as well as our staff.

On Friday last week the Government introduced new MBS item numbers that allow GPs to consult with vulnerable and isolated patients over the phone. These can be accessed by patients who;
(a) have been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus
(b) has been required to isolate themselves in
(c) is considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus:

  • 70 or older (50 or older and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent);
  • pregnant;
  • parent of a child under 12 months
  • under treatment for chronic health conditions or immune compromised;

As the disease develops in Australia information will change but currently in the community we should:

  • avoid large gatherings and limit unnecessary travel
  • practice social distancing (1.5m)
  • wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • avoid touching your face
  • avoid being in close contact with sick people

If you feel unwell you should stay at home and call the clinic or the Coronavirus information line to discuss your risk.

The Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week 1800 020 080 or online at:
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

ALERT:

All Travellers arriving from International destinations are now required to self-isolate for 14 days. We are able to provide Telehealth services to these people as well as those listed above.