Anglesea Community Update on COVID-19
– current as of 27th March 2020
– please note, information will be changing rapidly
– please refer to our previous update for introductory info
Since our last update there have been many changes and new messages from the Federal and State Governments, some of which may have appeared contradictory. This remains an area of rapidly changing information and we are adjusting our systems and processes day to day to ensure that we help contain the spread of the virus, protect staff and patients, and most importantly, protect the vulnerable people in our community.
We can not iterate strongly enough how important it is for us all to play a role in managing this pandemic, and it has been heartening to see how many community groups and businesses are engaging in supporting each other and the community in general.
Quite simply, the best thing we can do is strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
This graph shows how important this can be. If just 3 out 10 people do not take this seriously there is no impact on transmission, which means a huge impact on our health system.
Our advice in pragmatic terms is:
- Stay at home
- Only shop once a week if you can
- Avoid people when out – stay at least 1.5m away
- Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
- Stay connected with people via phone and online
- Be kind and generous at all times!
Do not gather with friends or extended family – unless it’s online.
Do not go on holidays – have a Staycation instead!
This quote is from an epidemiologist and explains how quickly you can compromise your efforts in physical distancing, even when you feel you are doing the right thing.
“You should perceive your entire family (or household) to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbour, your neighbour is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.”
We have been busily transitioning to predominantly Telehealth consultations over the last two weeks. Again, this is to protect our staff, patients and the community and prevent inadvertent transmission of the virus (or any virus!). The Government is set to provide further Medicare rebates for Telehealth in the coming week, which makes it more accessible to everyone. Currently not everyone meets the criteria for Telehealth rebates.
You may have seen that inside the clinic we have increased hygiene and distancing measures with tape on the floor that provides guidance around a 1.5m buffer between people to reduce the potential for close contact. We are trying to avoid having anyone in our waiting room at the moment where possible.
For some consultations however, we will need to see patients in the clinic. For these people, when you arrive at the clinic stay in your car (if you drove) and please call reception on 42156700 (Select option 1) to let us know you have arrived. If you do not have a mobile phone please wave from the door but do not enter.
The nurses and doctors may see you in your car, or invite you to come into the clinic.
If you are attending for blood tests, or other pathology tests, the same process applies. Dial 42156700 and select option 3 for Clinical Labs and you will be invited into the clinic when they are ready to see you. Barwon Health allied health services have been suspended at the Anglesea Community Health Centre for the time being. Please liaise directly with Barwon Health about this if you have questions, complaints or concerns.
Stay safe and be proactive. We can work together to improve outcomes, and it is only together that we can make this work.
UPDATED TESTING GUIDELINES
(please note these continue to change regularly)
Currently you only meet guidelines for testing for COVID-19 if you meet one clinical AND one epidemiological:
- Clinical criteria:
- Fever > 38°C or
- Acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath, cough, sore throat).
- Epidemiological criteria
- Travellers from overseas with onset of symptoms within 14 days of return.
- Close contacts of confirmed COVID‑19 cases with onset of symptoms within 14 days of last contact.
- Healthcare workers and residential aged care workers.
- Aged and residential care residents.
- Patients who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
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:
“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate. This is the dilemma we face, but it should not stop us from doing what we can to prepare. We need to reach out to everyone with words that inform, but not inflame. We need to encourage everyone to prepare, but not panic.” — Michael O. Leavitt, 2007
Influenza Immunisation Update
We are expecting the governmental supply of Influenza Vaccinations to arrive soon and will follow current guidelines that recommend immunising during the coming weeks rather than delaying until May. We do not have control over the supply we get, so please be patient as we will have enough to go around, but the supply will be staggered. Do not panic!
We will be arranging Flu Vaccination clinics and will have more information in the coming days on how this will work. We will send out an SMS to people about this and call those who do not have mobile phone numbers.
In 2020, influenza vaccines funded (free) through the National Immunisation Program are available to the following groups. This is due to their increased risk of complications from influenza.
- Aged 6 months to less than 5 years (this cohort is newly eligible in 2020)
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
- All people aged 65 years and over
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
If you do not qualify for a funded vaccination you will need a consult with a doctor to get a script – this can be done via Telehealth and booked online or via reception.