The Mirror News

COVID-19 update

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

HOW things can change in the few weeks since our last article.

We were congratulating ourselves on such a great response to the COVID-19 threat and enjoying the relaxation of the restrictions.

Quite predictably this did not continue.  

Our chief medical officers have always cautioned us that there will continue to be outbreaks and that continued vigilance and adherence to the mantra (of social distancing, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, staying home if at all unwell and getting tested for even minor symptoms) is required to prevent the out-of-control situations we observe overseas. We hope that the blitz in testing and contact tracing will bring these outbreaks under control and at date of writing, that seems the most likely outcome by the experts. 

So what can we do? 

Back to the mantra above! And seriously think about avoiding the current hot spots in Melbourne at present.

We will need to do these things for the foreseeable future…probably until the vaccine is developed and rolled out. Which in all probability is a long way off. In the meantime, the virus doesn’t get tired or bored of restrictions; it just continues to behave as it does…as an extremely infectious agent capable of causing widespread serious illness and death. 

At the medical centre our respiratory clinic has seen a mild upsurge in numbers of people getting tested. If you have any symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste), please ring the clinic and you will be phone triaged and given a time to come in for assessment and testing.

And again, we urge you not to forget your other medical concerns. 

South Gippsland Hospital

THE daily reported numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19), cases from around the State continue to cause concern and although we haven’t had new cases in the South Gippsland Shire for many weeks, we are aware that the current hotspots aren’t that far away and that things may change quickly for us all. It is good timing that an expert panel from the Gippsland Regional Cluster (which is made up of all health services in Gippsland) will be visiting us this week to review our policies, procedures and infrastructure, to ensure we are in the best position possible should there be an outbreak locally.

At the hospital, all staff are aware of their social responsibility, as well as their role whilst on duty, to protect themselves, their colleagues, patients and the broader community. We are thankful for their commitment to maintain all the key aspects surrounding prevention measures, and we are also grateful for the community’s understanding and assistance with the restricted visiting hours and screening processes on entry to the health service.  

Those who have visited this month may have noticed friendly security officers on site helping at the front door. From next week, this trial workforce arrangement will see the officers undertake the access screening process, so that our other screeners can help out the Community Health Centre as face to face activity increases in that setting. 

Some of our volunteers are starting to gradually return, and as more services come back on line (if social protocols allow) our coordinator, Sita Morton, will touch base with the relevant volunteers. If any volunteers reading this have questions, please don’t hesitate to call Sita, on 5683 9777.

If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste – stay home, don’t go in to work and don’t visit friends and family. Get tested and stay at home until you get the result. If you feel unwell with any mild symptoms, the message is to stay home and get tested. As a reminder, the Urgent Care Centre is not an Assessment Clinic. The nearest clinics are at  the Foster Medical Centre or the Wonthaggi Medical Group. Let’s all keep up the great effort to be safe in our community. Thank you!

Prom Country Aged Care 

AS you read this update, we have entered what has now become the 15th week of this COVID-19 pandemic.  Thank-you for your ongoing understanding and tireless commitment to keeping our residents safe.  It has become extremely exhausting and frustrating however now is not the time to undo all our hard work and achievements. We were about to reduce restrictions in the facility, however with the increase in Victorian cases this is now not possible.   

In line with the extension of the State of Emergency by the Victorian Government, restricted movements into the facility will continue until at least 12th July 2020. 

With the recent spike in cases across Victoria and particularly two of our neighbouring council areas Casey and Cardinia we are now back on high alert.  These designated hot spots are where many locals travel to shop, work and visit friends and relatives.  Likewise, we also know of many who live in these hot spots and work or visit family and friends in our beautiful region. 

We need to continue to be hypervigilant, now more than ever, in the potential for the virus to enter the facility. This virus threat is not over, and even though it began to feel a little like it was, there is still an extremely long way to go.  

Our key role as it has been all along is to maintain the safety of our residents and staff.  

A reminder its particularity important during this pandemic, as a potential visitor of an aged care facility that you do not attend the facility if displaying even the slightest symptoms of a cold, cough, headache, sore throat etc. 

And as a potential visitor to aged care, we need you to ensure that you continue to be vigilant at social distancing, hand hygiene and minimise your exposure or potential contact with others who may be asymptotically carrying the virus. This includes making sensible decisions in avoiding hotspots, shopping centres, dining out, dinner parties and visits to families and friends for a little longer. 

We continue to have no cases amongst our staff, contractors, residents or visiting medical staff.      

As a result of the extension of restrictions we will continue with our current visitor arrangements with slight changes to the hours on offer. 

 All visits to the facility during this pandemic must be pre booked and in person visits require additional screening and approval prior to entry. 

Family and friends can book a visit during visiting hours of 9.30am and 3pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am and 2.30pm Saturdays using any of the following:

  • Non-Contact Visitor Room
  • Short in person visits under strict conditions
  • Skype or other technology with assistance from community development team.

Bookings for any of these visits are welcome by calling reception Mon – Fri during business hours. 

With the increased virus activity, our preferred method of visiting is the non-contact room, so please consider if you can visit using this room or other technology to assist in keeping residents as safe as possible. 

As always, exceptions apply to residents who are palliative or unwell and all external critical medical appointments can still be arranged and attended. 

A reminder that all visitors to an aged care facility 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 please call reception on 5682 0800 during business hours. 

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