The Mirror News

Medical Precinct Coronavirus update

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

THE numbers are coming down and the restrictions are finally being relaxed. It has been a long hard lockdown which we know our city friends have been doing so much harder than us. Our relief is huge; their relief will be immense.

Victoria has done it tough and especially when compared to other states. Let us hope that there is no sting in the tale of this virus, that there are no further lockdowns needed to prevent the tragedies which are playing out overseas. 

A degree of anxiety at the inevitable influx of Melburnians when finally allowed to travel is understandable in our community. The need to continue with social distancing, handwashing and masks as preventative measures will be even more crucial when this happens. As we read about how outbreaks in regional Victoria have occurred already, we are reminded that although we may all be bored and ‘over the pandemic’, the virus remains as virulent as ever. 

The Medical Centre continues its normal work…in a COVID-aware way. Like everyone else, we are tired of masks, even if we are more used to them than most! Patients have got familiar with the new norm of being phoned to come in from their car, and with getting asked a screen of questions on booking in.

The Respiratory Clinic continues to see multiple patients daily. We commend those who do the right thing and phone for an appointment to get tested for the well-known symptoms (cough, fever, loss of smell/taste, sore throat, shortness of breath). 

South Gippsland Hospital 

As most would be aware, regional Victoria is taking more steps toward a ‘COVID normal’ which will mean there are more opportunities to welcome visitors to your home, and cafes and restaurants can increase their capacity. Like everyone reading we are pleased to have heard this news last weekend. Well done to everyone for helping achieve this result!

This news will not permit resumption of our group based activities, although our individual centre based community services are now fully operational and the Senior Day Stay program continues to expand available days in the Banksia Centre to provide respite care.    

It is worth noting that the hospital visitor access requirements and the processes at the hospital are in general the same, however visitors may now visit for up to two hours per day. There are limits on the number and duration of visits allowed and  all visitors must wear a face mask (as you would know).

It is pleasing to report that our surgical capacity is now at 80% of usual capacity, aligned with directives issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

We still have some free cloth masks available at the 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 (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 South Gippsland Hospital  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 

A huge thankyou to all our families, staff, residents, and contractors for the hard work in keeping Prom Country House free from COVID-19. It has been an extremely tough 7 months and we are grateful of the way that each and every one of you have assisted in this process.  

The COVID-19 environment in both regional Victoria and Metro Melbourne is looking extremely positive as we write this update. 

The vulnerability of aged care residents however remains unchanged and will continue to exist until we can find a vaccine.  With the increased movements in the community comes increased risks for aged care, we only have to look at the last few weeks in regional Victoria to see how quickly and unexpectedly this virus can spread via someone with no symptoms.

We will continue to monitor the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions for aged care daily and adjust any restrictions that we can on a risk basis.

Restricted movements into and out of the facility will need to continue as they are currently with some slight changes to the number of visitors a resident can have in the facility at one time.  Anyone residing in Metro Melbourne or who has been exposed to Metro Melbourne or other hotspots where community transmission is occurring will be refused entry.

Families and friends residing locally or in other regional areas of Victoria can continue to visit their loved ones under strict conditions.  

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

Visitors 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.
  • In person visits under strict conditions. 
  • Skype or other technology with assistance from community development team.

Daily visitor numbers continue to be restricted both for individual residents and collectively within the facility for the safety of all residents.   

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

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.


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