Covid-19 Alert

Galway Medical Centre AND CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 Update 24 March 2020

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Thirty-six people in South Australia have today tested positive for COVID-19. There have now been a total of 170 confirmed cases in South Australia.

Today’s positive cases range in age from a person in their teens, through to people in their 80s.

Any travel or location details relevant to when individual cases were infectious will be released, when they are available.

One case involving a person in their 50s is under investigation as possibly being South Australia’s first locally acquired case. This person had recent contact with people who were unwell and had recently travelled overseas however they were not tested for COVID-19 during their illness.

All other confirmed cases have recently returned from overseas, interstate, or are a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

We are also investigating a small cluster of cases linked to Lyndoch Hill Winery in the Barossa. Anyone who has attended the winery since Saturday 14 March and has become unwell with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should self-isolate and seek testing.

As of yesterday, more than 5,000 people have been tested at dedicated metropolitan COVID-19 clinics and SA Pathology have undertaken more than 18,000 tests.

Our contact tracing follows national guidelines and anyone who is a close contact of a confirmed case will be followed up by the Communicable Disease and Control Branch.

For more information, contact the Coronavirus Health Information line on 1800 020 080 or go to www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID19.

Source: SA Health (2020)  COVID-19 Update 24 March 2020 https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/news+and+media/all+media+releases/covid-19+update+24+mar

Frequently Asked Questions:

https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/covid+2019/community/covid-19+frequently+asked+questions#AreCOVID-19symptomsthesameastheflu

Other helpful links

Our Commitment to you:

We will take measures to ensure we are not part of the spread and that you are all safe when attending the clinic.

  1. Support immune function.
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try and keep your stress levels to a minimum
  1. We will ensure if any staff are returning from overseas and are recommended voluntary isolation by the Australian government that we will not have them return to the clinics until the recommended isolation time has lapsed.
  1. We will now start asking all patients booking over the phone if they are:
  • Symptomatic – with flu like symptoms: Cough, Fever, Shortness of breath/ breathing difficulties
  • Have been in mainland China, Italy, South Korea, Iran
  • Clients who have travelled to any high-risk areas may be given alternative clinical consult options for treatment.
  • Associated with any person who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection
  1. You may be asked to remain in your car or not enter the practice if you are symptomatic, but should this occur we will provide an alternate clinical service. The Australian Government has made phone consultations possible for affected and or at risk patients.
  1. Our practitioners will wash hands throughout the day, use gloves and protective personal equipment as indicated with and in between patients.
  1. Hand Sanitiser will be available throughout the clinic and all bathrooms will have disinfectant hand wash/soap. Please wash your hands when you arrive in the clinic.
  1. Health organisation signs will be put up in Staff areas with tips to be aware of as a practitioner and also in common areas for patients.
  1. All door handles, EFTPOS terminals, phones, reception desk and common areas will be disinfected continuously throughout the day.
  1. We will throw away the magazines and other multi use items in the reception space. Kids toys will be hidden for this time.

We are committed to ensuring that the clinic is a clean and safe place to come.

When attending the practice, we ask that you:

*Please help us help our local community by keeping us informed of any symptoms you might be experiencing, letting the receptionist know over the phone when making your appointment. Patients with acute respiratory symptoms will most likely be asked to wait in the car and the doctor may come out to see you or phone you to assess the most appropriate course of action.

*Sanitise your hands as soon as you enter the building using the hand sanitiser provided.

*Anyone may consider the option of waiting in the car or on the seats provided outside, rather than in the waiting room. If you choose to wait in the carpark or outside, on arrival you should:

  • Call reception to check in,
  • Answer any questions asked by the receptionist
  • Wait to be called back when it is your turn.
  • You will then enter the practice, perform your hand hygiene and go straight into the doctor’s office.
  • Remember to perform hand hygiene before you leave as well.

*Observe and take note that if there are more than 4 people already in the waiting room that you check in and then wait on the chairs provided outside until you are called or a person leaves the waiting room, which will then create space for you.

*If you need to cough or sneeze that you follow cough etiquette as displayed below.

*Please continue to be polite and respectful to all staff and other patients. There will be zero tolerance for aggressive or intimidating behaviour and people displaying inappropriate behaviour will be asked to leave. We are all in this together and it is vitally important that we take care of each other during these stressful times and beyond.

*Stand behind the white line when approaching the receptionists and be mindful that receptionists have been instructed to follow a “no touch policy”. This means that they may ask you to tap your card on the EFTPOS machine and if you need to enter a pin number, you will be asked to wipe down the pin pad yourself with the alcohol wipes provided.

* Please note that cash will not be accepted any more as it poses an unnecessary risk for infection transfer. There is also the option to pay by phone and have your receipt emailed to you or printed off and picked up at a later date.

*Practice social distancing – ensuring that you are 1.5 metres (or more if possible) away from the next person.

Social Distancing

What is social distancing and why is it important?

Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people.

Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
  • close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

What can I do?

If you are sick, stay away from others – that is the most important thing you can do.

You should also practise good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and
  • if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

As well as these, you can start a range of social distancing and low cost hygiene actions now.

These simple, common sense actions help reduce risk to you and to others. They will help to slow the spread of disease in the community – and you can use them every day – in your home, workplace, school and while out in public.

Social distancing at home

Households

To reduce the spread of germs1:

  • As mentioned, practise good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene
  • Avoid handshaking and kissing
  • Regularly disinfect high touch surfaces, such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs
  • Increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
  • Visit shops sparingly and buy more goods and services online
  • Consider whether outings and travel, both individual and family, are sensible and necessary

Households where people are ill* (in addition to the measures above)

  • Care for the sick person in a single room if possible
  • Keep the number of carers to a minimum
  • Keep the door to the sick person’s room closed and, if possible, a window open
  • Both the sick person and the people caring for them should wear a surgical mask when they are in the same room
  • Protect other vulnerable family members, such as people over 65 years or people with a chronic illness, including, if practicable, finding alternative accommodation

Social distancing in the workplace

To reduce the spread of germs in the workplace[1]:

  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Stop handshaking as a greeting
  • Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
  • Defer large meetings
  • Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
  • Promote good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and provide hand sanitisers for all staff and workers
  • Take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • Consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation
  • Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • Reconsider non-essential business travel
  • Promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
  • Consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled

Social distancing in schools

To reduce the spread of germs in schools1:

  • If your child is sick, do not send them to school (or childcare)
  • Sanitise hands when entering school and at regular intervals
  • Defer activities that lead to mixing between classes and years
  • Avoid queuing and consider cancelling school assemblies
  • Promote a regular handwashing schedule
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • Conduct lessons outdoors where possible
  • Consider opening windows and adjusting conditioning for more ventilation
  • Promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts

Social distancing in public

To reduce the spread of germs:

  • Sanitise your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings
  • Use tap and pay rather than handling money
  • Try to travel at quiet times and try to avoid crowds
  • Public transport workers and taxi drivers should open vehicle windows where possible, and regularly clean and disinfect high touch surfaces

Places of social gathering

Venues where a large number of people are in one place can increase the risk of transmission of viruses.

Non-essential gatherings are suspended for an initial four weeks to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) and to give both businesses and people time to fully understand social distancing requirements.

Restrictions on facilities

The following facilities are restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation).
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues.
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs.
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery.
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

Other facilities are not impacted, but could be considered under a later stage of restrictions, if necessary.

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

More information

For more information about reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, go to https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au

Call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

The phone number of your state or territory public health agency is available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor.

This information sheet should be read in conjunction with the ‘What you need to know’, ‘Isolation guidance’ and ‘Advice for public gatherings’ information sheets can be found at www.health.gov.au/covid19-resources.

SOURCE: Australian Government Health Department 2020 https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing

[1] Adapted from Dalton et al. Pre-emptive low cost social distancing and enhanced hygiene implemented before local COVID-19 transmission could decrease the number and severity of cases.

*“Ill” person refers to someone with an undiagnosed respiratory illness or fever, who is not yet under investigation for COVID-19 but nevertheless could be an unrecognised case. ** This could be costly unless used judiciously while awaiting exclusion of COVID-19 in the case and introduced based on likelihood of local transmission. *** Evidence that low temperature and humidity in air conditioned environments may enhance the survival of coronaviruses such as SARS.[1] **** Sites such as the CDC travel risk assessment site may be useful https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html