Foster and Toora Medical Centres

THIS was certainly not the way we wished to welcome in the New Year!

Everything had been going so well and we were looking forward to saying goodbye to a year full of pandemic fears and welcoming in something completely different, only to have it all become headline news again. State borders are again closed, the 60 zero-case days has become a memory and for the first time COVID has surfaced close to home…

As you will now probably be aware, a case has been identified from Leongatha which lead to a lot of local pandemic activity. The DHHS website issued the following directive: that if you have visited the Coral Fish and Chip shop between these hours then self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible.

Leongatha – Coral Fish and Chips 53 Bair St, Leongatha VIC 3953, 26/12/20 5:30pm-7:30pm, Case worked in store.

Leongatha – Coral Fish and Chips 53 Bair St, Leongatha VIC 3953, 27/12/20 4:00pm-7:30pm, Case worked in store.

There are lists of venues in Melbourne with similar warnings which are updated regularly.

As was the case at the beginning of the pandemic, the situation is changing by the day and it is hard to predict what the following days/weeks hold. Stay up to date by visiting the DHHS website at dhhs.vic.gov.au

What is not a surprise is that we do have new cases in Victoria. There is almost an inevitability that this will continue to occur sporadically until the vaccine is rolled out. The hope is for is a swift response by DHHS and contact tracers to identify not only the close contacts of anyone with COVID, but the contacts of those close contacts, to get tested and isolate as soon as possible. Done well this would help prevent the reintroduction of the state-wide restrictions which, although effective, caused so much hardship and pain.

All of this has lead to a surge in COVID testing and is the reason the drive-through testing at Leongatha was rapidly set up. The Respiratory Clinic at Foster has seen a large increase in activity also. Anyone with even the mildest of respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of smell) is encouraged to get tested-ring the Medical Centre 5682 2088 to book in and get tested, or roll up to the Leongatha drive-through clinic (which is only expected to be a temporary measure). It is quick, safe and there is no cost to the patient.

It is only through the information that this gives that we can stop the spread.

Wearing masks is again mandatory when inside and strongly encouraged when outdoors. Continue to practice social distancing and hand hygiene. There is no doubt that collectively and quite understandably we relaxed somewhat near the end of last year as Victoria continued to record zero cases. The recent changes and cases reinforce the need to maintain the habits we adopted in 2020 for 2021 (and beyond?).

South Gippsland Hospital

GIVEN the emerging status of active COVID cases in the community, all health services within Victoria have to once again restrict visitors. Enhanced measures are now in place for the restriction of visitors and for the screening and testing of patients with epidemiology including, known primary or secondary close contacts of a COVID case or those who have visited identified exposure sites.  Permitted visitors are restricted to two visitors per patient for up to one hour per day ONLY during the following times: 9.30am to 11.30am & 5.00pm to 7.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 2.00pm on Weekends. Please note that all clients accessing the Community Health Centre must first be screened at the main hospital entrance. We thank you for your understanding during these times and apologise for the inconvenience

People in the following categories will not be bound by the one-hour time limit, however the limit of two visitors must still be adhered to:

  • A parent or guardian or temporary carer of a patient in the hospital who is under 18 years
  • A carer of a patient with a disability
  • A partner or support person of a pregnant patient
  • A support person for a patient coming into the Urgent Care Centre
  • A support person for someone attending an outpatient/Community Health Centre appointme

Great response! A huge thank you to the local and broader community, and visitors, for getting along to the Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS), Bass Coast Health (BCH) and Foster Medical Centre testing clinics over the last few days. We are so grateful for the many people who have answered the call to get tested. Some of our wonderful staff have been helping out across the region at either GSHS, BCH or Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) over the last few days.  All across Gippsland everyone is working so well together and we are so proud of the collaborative and well-coordinated response, ably led by the Gippsland Public Health Unit at LRH.

Please familiarise yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19, looking out for these in yourself, and also within family and friends. The symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste. If you have even the slightest hint of being unwell, please stay at home until you can organise to be tested. Our Urgent Care Centre is not a respiratory clinic, as testing is available at the Foster Medical Centre, the Leongatha Hospital, and the Wonthaggi Hospital. Also, please continue to check all exposure sites for your safety and the community. New sites are added throughout the day, so please check regularly. Locations: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/case-locations-and-outbreaks

Thank you readers for continuing to adhere to the public health directions, getting tested when needed, and monitoring the actively updated exposure sites. All these actions you can take to ensure the safety of our community. 

Prom Country Aged Care

AS a result of the emerging COVID-19 outbreak and local cases identified, Prom Country House was placed into lockdown on Friday 1st January until further guidelines from the Department of Health.   This means that we are restricting Visitors to the facility.  Only visitors who are supporting residents who are in palliative care or require behaviour support will receive visitors.  

As this is a dynamic situation that can change at any time, visitor access may change with little notice.We appreciate the understanding the community and families have shown at a time when residents were just starting to enjoy more relaxed restrictions given the previous lack of community transmission. 

In addition to visitor restrictions, staff at Prom Country House are actively participating in asymptomatic testing which is being offered by the Dept of Health and Human Services.  Any staff member who has entered an exposure site at the time a positive case attended or who is experiencing any symptoms will isolate and be tested and not attend work.   This is critical to protecting our workforce to ensure our residents can continue to enjoy a high quality of care.  We are also coordinating efforts with the local Health Precinct who have been quick to respond to this emerging risk and offer support.Families who would like to join our email list for continuing updates can contact us on info@promcountry agedcare.com.au and request to join our newsletter mailing list.