The Mirror News

EXTENDED LOCKDOWN MEASURES

AS Father’s Days go, this one wasn’t one filled with good news on the COVID front. 

It wasn’t a great surprise that the government extended lockdown measures, as the numbers had yet to be consistently low enough on their modelling to free us up a lot so we were somewhat prepared, but it was still pretty awful news.

Again we feel so fortunate to live where we live in country Victoria. Our city friends are doing it so much harder and it is worthwhile remembering that when we gripe and feel frustrated. 

The details on how improvements are being made in contact tracing and infection control in healthcare settings, and in particular Nursing Homes and Hospitals, were not documented at the time of writing -these are obviously critically important areas.

Whether this five stepped process of loosening the restrictions is aiming for an elimination vs suppression policy and how this differs from our neighbouring states is also of interest and unclear at present.

Whatever. The rules are set at present.

At the Medical Centre we continue to work in as safe an environment as possible. The Respiratory Clinic is still operating and all patients with even the mildest of the well known symptoms are directed to ring the medical centre and be triaged there.

We are seeing more complex patient problems and certainly the COVID pandemic and the restrictions are causing some of this. A plea from our receptionists; if you do think you have a problem which will require a little longer than a normal appointment to address, please tell them and they will allocate a longer appointment time.

South Gippsland Hospital 

AS we go to print it appears there will be no changes to our current service model in the near future,  following  the announcements on Sunday 6 September about the roadmap for easing restrictions. The South Gippsland (SGH)  Executive Management team met Monday afternoon to review the detail and whilst there has been  much commentary from those that support or oppose the plan, SGH is committed to  abiding by the directions in the context of our service delivery. The health of our community, patients, visitors and staff is our biggest priority during the COVID-19 pandemic . If there are any changes planned for our community services these will be outlined on our website, and Facebook page.

 A reminder that free cloth masks are available at our Community Health Centre.  These reusable face masks, donated by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),  are available between 11.30 am and 3 pm from Monday to Thursday until supplies run out. A washable black cloth mask will be given away free of charge to anybody who needs it and who may have had trouble obtaining one of their own.

Anyone wanting  a reusable DHHS mask are asked to ring the Community Health Centre reception on 5683 9780 when they arrive at the Centre, or to knock on the front door, and the staff member will pass the mask out to them.

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, however as is widely understood, the Foster Medical Centre have a respiratory clinic operating Monday to Friday (Ph: 5682 2088). If anyone is having trouble getting physically into the Foster Medical Centre and has symptoms please speak to the respiratory clinic nurse to see if SGH can assist in any way.

We thank you for your ongoing support and understanding, and we apologise for any inconvenience during these times

 Prom Country Aged Care 

WE thank you all for your ongoing support in making Prom Country House as safe as it can be during these times.  

PCAC continues to have no cases amongst our residents, staff, contractors or visiting medical professionals.  

The COVID-19 horizon locally is looking a little more positive since our last update. Although we can all agree we are unsure of what the new COVID normal will look like and particularly in Aged Care we will be on high alert for quite some time still. 

Stage 3 restrictions in our region continue until 13 September 2020 after which we move to step 2 in the slow and steady easing of regional restrictions. 

Whilst there is some light on the horizon, we still need to be hypervigilant in not allowing the virus to unintentionally enter Prom Country House. 

PCAC will continue with the current restricted movements into the facility until the 13th September. After this date we will revert back to our previous visitor arrangements for families and friends who reside locally. Anyone residing in metro Melbourne or other hotspots where community transmission is occurring, such as Latrobe Valley, will be refused entry.

A reminder, 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.

Daily visitor numbers will need to be restricted both for individual residents and collectively within the facility, so please don’t be offended if the time or day requested is already taken.   

Bookings for visits are welcome by calling reception on 5682 0800 Mon – Fri business hours. 

Our preferred method of visiting at this stage, remains 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 critical medical appointments can still be arranged and attended. 

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

Danny O’Brien MP

THE “roadmap” out of Covid-19 restrictions is unbalanced and will punish Gippslanders and Gippsland businesses unnecessarily.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, called last week in Parliament for Gippsland locals to be allowed to support local businesses given our low number of cases but under the roadmap, that won’t happen for at least another two months, longer for some businesses. 

Mr O’Brien said lumping Gippsland in with all of regional Victoria was unfair. 

“On the Government’s own plan, which it says is based on the best scientific advice, the vast majority of regional Victorian shires have had no new cases for 14 days so should be on the last “step” where most restrictions are lifted. 

“In Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast and East Gippsland already qualify and Baw Baw will qualify this week if it has no new cases. Based on the thresholds the Government has set, we could remain locked down due to small outbreaks in places like Geelong or Mildura. At the very least, the Government should be considering something such as western, northern and eastern Victorian regions. 

“That way we could safely open up local business and tourism operators to the local market, while maintaining strict travel restrictions to keep people from Melbourne areas with high case-loads out. 

“The roadmap as proposed will devastate many Gippsland businesses and cost more jobs. I’ve had business people in tears at the announcement, which robbed them of the hope they were hanging onto. 

“I think the Government’s case number thresholds are unrealistic and out of step with other states – if these thresholds were applied to NSW and Queensland, they would be facing far greater restrictions then they currently are. 

“This is an awful virus, but I fear the Government has lost sight of the enormous health and economic damage it is doing in trying to deal with the second wave. 

“There are difficult choices here I acknowledge, but the Government’s roadmap lacks balance, sacrificing thousands of jobs, businesses and the mental health of Victorians.” 

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