The Mirror News

COVID-19 Update

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

ALONG with everyone else, we are pleased that our (Australia/Victoria/South Gippsland) numbers of COVID-19 are so low and that life is returning to a new normal. Not to normal. A new normal. The lock-down has certainly bought us time but the threat of Corona virus remains very real-examples at the Meat Works remind us of that. Until we have a vaccine we have to presume that we will be at risk of outbreaks and even of a ‘second wave’ similar to what we have seen in Singapore.

Perhaps especially with the lifting of some restrictions, our emphasis must continue to be on hand-washing, social distancing (continued avoidance of hand-shaking and hugs), staying away from others when ill with any form of respiratory illness and getting swabbed. And supporting contact tracing. Please consider downloading the Australian government Ap. There is no doubt that this has the potential to reduce the time to find close contacts, knowing that COVID-19 gives us a 48 hour window where a patient is infectious but not symptomatic, a window to find and isolate those close contacts who would otherwise then spread the virus. (It is estimated that 44% of all transmissions are ‘pre-symptomatic’!) 

It is imperative to look after your physical and mental health. At the medical centre we have seen a drop off of patients attending to their chronic diseases. Pathology requests and imaging requests are well down. We are most definitely open for normal business and although some of what we do is quite different (like waiting in the car and doing some consults by phone), the medical centre is a safe place to visit and we encourage you to make that appointment which was due. 

The Respiratory Clinic is continuing to see anyone with a respiratory illness and is physically separate from the rest of the clinic. It is used for 10 to 20 patients a day at present.

We had another large drive-through flu clinic a week ago. Supply of vaccines remains problematic but please if you haven’t had a shot yet ring the medical centre and get on the list. Everyone eventually will be able to be vaccinated.

South Gippsland Hospital 

THE Bass Coast Health Maternity Service has almost ceased operations from our hospital, with only a few days left. Around 20 Bass Coast women have engaged in our maternity care model since Monday 6 April  and as we go to print there have been 15 births attributed to a Bass Coast postcode. Some women have decided to remain engaged with our service beyond 1 June, when the formal arrangements come to a close. We have been delighted to be caretakers of the service for our healthcare partners, which has provided them time to safely build up their capacity to deal with any COVID-19 outbreak. We extend gratitude to the whole team who have responded so well to the task, showing great agility and commitment to enact the change required.

With this in mind, our acute ward will return to a familiar look from next week, and surgical services will most likely resume on Monday 22 June in the new building, which is on target for handover a week earlier. The community care services have started to return to a new business as usual and clients will be contacted over the coming weeks in relation to resumption of group activity.  Although we are returning to a more normal service profile, we still have to restrict visiting hours and ask that you are screened (temperature check etc) on arrival. As a reminder our visiting hours are 9.30am  to 11.30am  and  5pm to 7pm daily. However, from the weekend 6 June we are consolidating visiting hours to a 4 hour block for both Saturday and Sunday (9 am to 1pm). There are also limitations on the number of people who can visit, so please check our website for details https://southgippslandhospital.com.au/ . While you’re on line, please take a few moments to follow us on Facebook for health service information.

As an update to our contribution to the extended state-wide testing blitz, South Gippsland Hospital has tested 80 asymptomatic heath care staff, and 30 asymptomatic teachers over the last few weeks. Whilst we have participated in this testing, our Urgent Care Centre is not a COVID-19 Assessment Clinic. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the hotline on 1800 675 398. If directed to access a clinic you can either access the Foster Medical Centre or the Wonthaggi Medical Group. Once again, thank you for continuing to support your local health service and for your understanding during this time.

Prom Country Aged Care 

WE continue to have no cases amongst our staff, contractors, residents or visiting medical team members and thank the community for the ongoing understanding and vigilance in doing the right thing during this pandemic.      

As the restrictions in the wider community begin to ease, Prom Country Aged Care will need to continue to restrict movements into the facility for the foreseeable future due to the highly infectious nature of the virus. Even though community restrictions are being eased this virus is still present within the wider community and the safety of our residents and staff, as always, is our number one priority. This is no time to become complacent especially in a residential aged care environment. 

During this pandemic we have been fully compliant with the directions issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Victoria and the newly developed Visitors Access Code for residential aged care.  We will continue to monitor any changes in this advice to guide us as to potential easing of restrictions. 

Family and friends can visit Prom County House using any of the following:

  • Non-Contact Visitor Room between 10am and 3pm – Monday to Saturday.
  • Short in person visits under strict conditions between 10am and 3pm Monday to Saturday. 
  • Skype or other technology with assistance from community development team.

Bookings for any of these visits are welcome by calling reception on 5682 0800 Mon – Fri during business hours. All visits to the facility must be pre booked and in person visits require additional screening and approval prior to entry. 

Family and friends can visit residents using any of the above methods, however our preference is using the non-contact visitors room or technology if possible, as these are the least risky ways to keep in touch whilst this virus is still in the wider community.  

Critical medical appointments are still being attended and exemptions exist if residents are unwell or during palliative stages. 

A reminder that from 1 May 2020 to enter the premises of a residential aged care facility in Victoria you must have had a 2020 Flu Vaccination and be able to provide evidence of this prior to entry. 

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

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