COVID-19

26 June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic Government advice is being updated constantly. The following information is a guideline only. Please check government websites for the latest information and alerts or call COVID  Hotline –1800 020 080.

Current advice is for all patients to wear a mask during their visit.

The RACGP has recommended that GPs should not treat or test patients suspected of COVID-19 unless they wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If we are concerned you are a suspect case, we may direct you to either hospital (if you are very unwell), a COVID respiratory clinic or to a collection centre for testing. Testing is available now at several locations with results within 24 hrs.

We are offering a telephone or video consultation service  for consultations. It is safe to visit our clinic for a face-to-face consultation. We have implemented infection control and social distancing measures. You should not ignore your regular health needs.

If you identify as having any respiratory infection symptoms on arrival at reception we will ask you to wait outside until called, to wear a mask and then call you in to an isolation room once the doctor is available. If are at high risk of the infection we may not be able to see you but will direct you to the correct health provider. We request that you have a negative COVID test result before attending the practice.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is an essential component of our fight against this pandemic. We are providing vaccination with Astra Zenica vaccines currently. Eligible patients include those aged over 60 years,and patients aged 40-60 years only if risk of disease outweighs the risk of side effects. Side effects of the vaccine will be discussed at your appointment. Two doses are required, ideally12 weeks apart to get maximum immune response. There is not approval in Australia at this point in time to give a different brand vaccine (for example Pfizer) as the booster dose. Patients aged 40-60 years are advised to have the Pfizer vaccine - available at vaccination hubs. More information here.

Exemption to Mask Wearing

Most people are able to wear a mask safely. The few accepted exceptions are:

1. Toddlers under 2 years of age and babies as masks can be a choking hazard

2. Children under 12 years of age if they cannot handle it safely

3. People with medical conditions that cause difficulty breathing wearing a mask

4. Anyone who is unable to remove the mask themselves without assistance

5. People assisting people with hearing or communication difficulties who need to lip read.

If you have difficulty wearing a cloth or paper mask a scarf can be an acceptable short term alternative, ideally with three layers of cloth in front of your mouth and nose.

Quarantine

Quarantine refers to those patients at higher risk for disease but who don't necessarily have it. If you end up with a positive test when in quarantine you then need to 'Self Isolate' or go to hospital if very unwell.

You need to be in quarantine for 14 days if you:

  • have  returned from overseas (any destination)

  • have had close contact with a COVID positive person.

  • you have symptoms of respiratory illness of cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches.

  • have been advised by the Health Department to do so.

Those living with you do not need to be in quarantine, unless you are or become unwell or receive a positive test. The average incubation period is within 5 days of exposure but some are as long as 14 days. You should not go to work or school while you wait for a test results or if you have clinical symptoms. Follow as much of the guidelines for Self Isolation as practical. 

Self Isolation 

Self isolation refers to those patients who have tested positive and are well enough to stay at home. 

  • You should stay at home.

  • You should not have any visitors.

  • You should not have any trips to shops, work or school, church, park, movies, chemist etc 

  • Arrange for food to be delivered (and left at your doorstep).

  • Stay away as much as possible from others who live with you, sleep in another room from your partner if possible. Aim to keep a 1.5 m bubble around you. Use a separate bathroom if possible.

  • Eat away from others,  don't share food or drink. The sick person gets out of the table setting, washing up or dishwasher unpacking.

  • When not completely isolated when in your home cover your mouth when coughing, wash your hands often, wipe touched surfaces or wear disposable gloves and a face mask.

  • Regularly clean surfaces - benches, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles on drawers, toilets and taps, mobile phones, remote controls, keyboards. 

  • Clothes can be washed as usual with other peoples clothes, but wash your hands after putting them in the machine.

  • Close the lid before flushing the toilet to reduce the risk of making the virus become airborne.

 Washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face are helpful preventative measures.