The Mirror News

COVID-19 landscape changed

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

THE COVID landscape has changed quite a lot since last article. Again. And predictably not for the last time. For this is a book with many chapters, a plot with innumerable twists and turns, and with a conclusion which is impossible to accurately predict.

At the Medical Centre perhaps the biggest change patients will notice now is the requirement for everyone to now wear masks whilst in the building, which we will provide on entry, where you will also be asked to hand sanitise. However, please note that the medical centre is safe to visit! With the ‘first wave’ (which fortunately never really eventuated) many of our patients stayed away from face-to-face appointments and we are keen to prevent delayed diagnosis and management of medical conditions as the situation again ramps up. Patients from Melbourne, the numbers of whom will be decreasing with the lockdown, are identified prior to attending and are more likely to be treated in the Respiratory Clinic end of the centre (or politely asked to see their Melbourne doctor if more appropriate).

Telephone consults remain an option especially for our frail and elderly, but there is no doubt that these have limitations.

At the time of writing, there has been one recorded new active case somewhere in South Gippsland. 

The Respiratory Clinic continues to see all patients who ring and inform us that they have any of the following symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell. Patients will have a phone consult initially to be appropriately triaged and then given a time to come into the Respiratory Clinic (entry via Station Rd at the Rail Trail end of the clinic) to be tested. Patients have to self isolate until their results are back. No-one should attend work if unwell.

We do not know what is ahead. That is one of things making medical planning so difficult in this pandemic. With the increase in numbers in Melbourne certainly the gentle relaxation we collectively felt over the last month or so has gone. There is no place for complacency. Please, as we all fight “COVID-fatigue”, adhere to the principles of social distancing, cough hygiene, hand washing and getting tested if any symptoms. 

South Gippsland Hospital

SOUTH Gippsland Hospital has recently commenced additional access requirements which coincides with the rise in reported COVID 19 cases. These safety measures are being introduced based on directions issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and also coincide with the commencement of our new visiting times on weekends (10am to 1pm Saturday and Sunday). Our visiting times remain 930am-1130am and 5pm-7pm Monday to Friday, and the requirements outlined below will continue until further notice. 

If you’re over 18 years, a mask will be provided when entering the hospital and you should wear the mask throughout the visit until you exit the hospital. You can bring your own cloth mask. Only one visitor at a time (our rooms are too small to allow two) and for no more than one hour at a time. Special arrangements can be made with approval of Marion Bowron, our Director of Nursing and Midwifery, yet please liaise with the nurse in charge of the acute ward in the first instance. As has been the case for some time, your temperature will be checked on arrival to the hospital (or community health centre) by one of our security guards or general services staff. Your name and contact details will be collected, as well as time of entry and exit. You will be asked to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser on arrival,  and requested to continue to conduct hand hygiene regularly during your time limited stay (eg after touching hand rails and every time they enter or exit a patient’s room).  

You will not be permitted to enter the hospital (to visit) or the CHC (for a consultation) if you have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection such as:

  • breathing difficulties such as breathlessness  
  • cough 
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • loss of sense of smell or taste

Please note that symptom and temperature screening is now shared across the main entrance of the hospital and the Community Health Centre (CHC) on weekdays. This may mean that CHC clients will need to be screened at the hospital entrance. For hospital visitors, please stay in the patient’s room at all times and limit movement around the building. Quick trips to the toilet can be made of course, and when your visit is over, please leave the hospital via the main entrance as soon as you can.   

If you are coming to the hospital for a pre-admission or CHC appointment, or theatre procedure please follow directions from the staff that greet you, and please note that you can bring a support person (but only if needed). 

If you have been to Melbourne or Mitchell shire in the last 2 weeks please refrain from visiting the hospital unless you’re seeking medical treatment (such as for urgent care presentations) and please remember the Foster Medical Centre is our local Respiratory Clinic.  You may enter the Jones Street entrance to access the South Gippsland Radiology service. 

We thank you for your understanding during these times and apologise for the inconvenience. The health of our community, patients, visitors and staff is our biggest priority during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Prom Country Aged Care 

WHAT a difference a fortnight makes in the life of COVID-19. 

Victoria has now seen a significant uplift in community transmission of the Virus as we enter what is now the second wave. Unfortunately, we are now seeing cases re-emerge in both South Gippsland and surrounding regional areas. In addition, we have seen the virus impact 12 aged care facilities across Victoria in the last week.  

Prom Country Aged Care continues to have no cases of COVID-19 amongst our staff, residents, contractors or visiting medical professionals.  We are now back on extremely high alert and ask for families, visitors, and the community to assist us in keeping the virus out of Prom Country House.   

With the recent lock down of Melbourne and Mitchell Shires, we are not allowing visitors and contractors from these areas to enter the facility, unless for critical medical care or palliative visits.  Please do not be offended when we ask for identification and implement the increased restrictions in line with the government health directions. This is a critical step in protecting our residents from this pandemic.  

We have also increased our staff’s requirements in relation to travelling into and exposure to these areas.

Whilst South Gippsland is not included in the current lock down restrictions, we need to be hypervigilant in not allowing the virus to spread into our facility.  We therefore ask anyone who wishes to visit the facility at the moment to reconsider their need, even if they reside locally or in other regional areas, until this second wave is under control. 

If you still wish to visit, we ask that you please use our non-contact visitors room as the preferred method of visiting over the next 5 weeks.    

A reminder its particularity important during this pandemic, if displaying even the slightest symptoms of a cold, cough, headache, sore throat etc you get tested and isolate until clearance is provided. 

We are all in this together and ask that you continue to support us in the goal of keeping Prom Country House free from COVID-19.  

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to book a potential visit please call reception on 5682 0800 during business hours. 

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