The Mirror News

Precinct Coronavirus Update

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

OPTIMISM. Quiet optimism is creeping back as the numbers decline. 

Relief. And relief that the harsh measures imposed seem at this stage to be working. 

Who knows what is really ahead with this virus and we have said before that there are an unknown number of chapters in this tale of the pandemic. But we are enjoying the relaxation of the restrictions at the moment and we are happy for our Melbourne friends that their severe lockdown looks on track to being relaxed more also. Of course this relaxation will bring with it anxiety-every relaxation of restrictions will do this-but living with a degree of uncertainty and risk is common to all of us as life opens up again. 

Looking at what is happening overseas quickly reminds us that we in Australia remain extremely fortunate. Long may it remain so.

At the Medical Centre it is really business as normal. CVOID-normal anyway.

The Respiratory Clinic is open for business although the numbers are declining markedly. With the lifting of restrictions we reiterate our plea to get tested early for the well-known symptoms. Results are now often through in 24 hours or less.

The consequences of the pandemic on the mental health of the population, and our patient-base in particular, will be an ongoing issue and the medical centre is committed to helping those affected in a time-and-cost-effective way. We are currently exploring ways of improving the delivery of this as demand increases. There will more on this later. 

South Gippsland Hospital 

LIKE everyone reading we were pleased to have seen restrictions eased recently. Well done to everyone for helping achieve this result which has permitted greater movement around regional Victoria and within bubbles. This news has also allowed  us to resume the majority of our centre based community services, although our group activities are still not possible at this time.  Significantly our Senior Day Stay program has resumed in the Banksia Centre to provide respite care.  There are no changes to the hospital visitor access requirements or the processes at the hospital in general, although we can increase our surgical capacity over the next couple of months, meaning that some people waiting for surgery won’t have to wait as long.  

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 has 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 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 

THE COVID-19 environment in regional Victoria is looking at lot more positive as we write this update. Regionally we are now in step 3 of the slow and steady easing of restrictions. 

Whilst this means regional Victorians have increased freedoms, Aged Care still remains an extremely high risk of outbreaks. As we go to print there are 376 active cases in Aged Care across the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews flagged on Friday there are potential extra moves about to be introduced to prevent the spread into aged care. We will monitor these daily. 

The vulnerability of aged care residents has not changed overnight with the easing of these restrictions. So whilst we can do more things regionally, our key priority remains the safety of our residents and staff and to continue to stop the potential of the virus entering our facility.  

Unfortunately this means that we need to continue with the current restricted movements into the facility and all staff and authorised visitors will need to continue to wear masks and face shields until such time as the risk to transmission in Aged Care reduces. This could be some time yet as we monitor the release of regions and the impact of this to increase regional spread.  

At this stage our visiting arrangements remain unchanged. 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 residing locally or in other regional areas of Victoria can visit loved ones under strict conditions.  

All visits to the facility during this pandemic must 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.
  • Short 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, 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.

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