The Mirror News

Opening up of Victoria

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

IT is with a heady mixture of relief and joy that we celebrate the continuing reopening up of Victoria as a result of an impressive run of days of ‘double zeros’. At last so many of the freedoms which we took for granted pre-pandemic are coming back. The borders are starting to open up, the ‘ring of steel’ has been lifted and slowly a new COVID-normal life is available for all of us, city and country more alike.

We need little reminding, however, how fortunate we are in comparison with so much of the rest of the world. The virus remains as contagious as ever and it will rear its head again if given a chance. Complacency will be the enemy to ongoing suppression. Continuing to adhere to the well-known rules, especially with the predictable influx of our Melbourne friends, will ensure that we all stay safe. 

The medical centre is as busy as ever. Most consultations are face-to-face now and although it is predicted that telephone/video consultations will have a place to play in the future, in-person consults will continue to be the main encounters.

The Respiratory Clinic remains pretty constant and will continue running for the foreseeable future. The waiting room is getting a little busier but patients are encouraged to still phone in on arrival and wait in their cars. And the message remains the same-get tested early for any respiratory symptoms. We have been impressed by both how well patients have adapted to the changes and with coming in for tests; we thankyou all for your ongoing understanding and support in what has been a terribly unusual time.

The Health Precinct has been writing these articles since March. Initially it was to ensure that people got the correct messaging as there was a lot of uncertainty, anxiety and half-truths being told. Indeed the articles early on were hard to write as both the information and the pandemic were changing so rapidly that what we wrote on the Sunday risked being out of date on the Wednesday! So many things have changed over the past 8-9 months and each health service had different changes to implement and then advertise, but now the message is well known and fortunately the Australian pandemic landscape is quiet. The threat of COVID running riot through our state and causing mayhem in especially our vulnerable populations seems at this stage to have been avoided.

So at present we plan to make this our last contribution. We hope they have been of some help and would like to finish with a resounding thankyou for all the support the readership has given each of our health services, for your acceptance of new rules and for the unified community-wide approach to the pandemic. 

Lastly, special thanks to my co-writers Paul (CEO of SGH) and Justin (CEO Prom Country), who is finishing up at Prom Country at the end of this week. Well done Justin and all the best for your future endeavours.

South Gippsland Hospital 

AS summer approaches the news keeps improving, which is a reflection of all the public health measures being effective and the community’s effort to abide by the restrictions. Thank you for your diligence. 

With the latest news, resumption of our group based activities can now proceed meaning that all our community services are fully operational.  Our hospital services remain unchanged, as does the access requirements, however it is worth noting that patients are no longer required to be COVID-19  tested before their surgical procedure.

Believe it or not, we still have some free cloth masks available at the Community Health Centre. They are available between 11.30 am and 3 pm from Monday to Thursday. Anyone wanting  a reusable DHHS mask is asked to please ring the Community Health Centre (CHC) reception on 5683 9780 when they arrive at the CHC, or to knock on the front door, and a staff member will pass the mask out to them.

Despite all this good news, please remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 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.

To recap on previous updates, 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 hope you enjoy the last weeks of spring with family and friends in a COVID safe way.  As always 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 8 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 Victoria is looking extremely positive as we write this update. 

Whilst we can celebrate the 9 days of zero cases and more freedoms of movements, there is still potential virus in the community and the vulnerability of aged care residents unfortunately 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 past experience to see how quickly and unexpectedly this virus can spread via someone with no symptoms.

Restricted movements into and out of the facility will need to continue as they are currently are. Families and friends 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. 

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

We are now also in a position to allow residents to leave the facility. Residents can now go out on their scooters or on foot on their own if able or where required can be accompanied by their families.  These outings can occur Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm and Saturdays between 9.30am and 2.30pm (when reception is attended). At this stage outings can only occur when reception is attended due to additional screening and recording requirements. 

Residents will need to wear masks when they leave the facility and comply with all other guidelines and rules during that visit including temperature checks and hand sanitisation on exit and entry of Prom Country House.     

If you would like to book a visit into the facility or to take your loved out for a day trip please contact reception on 5682 0800 Monday to Friday during business hours.  

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