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COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020 and the government continues to put in place urgent and aggressive measures to slow the spread with local implications for health, services and businesses.
As at 29 March, there were 1,791 confirmed cases of COVID-19 of which 189 are in the Hunter New England health district.
This number is increasing and the Australian and NSW Government is urging everyone to follow NSW Health advice about social distancing, personal hygiene and staying at home.
From a health perspective, medical staff on the frontline at Ochre Health Tea Gardens shared insights into patient management during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrea Hammond, the Practice Manager, stated, “We are urging everyone to stay home unless absolutely urgent.
Anyone that presents to the Clinic will be asked many questions related to Coronavirus and whether they have symptoms and/or been with anyone exposed or have any respiratory illness. Before entering, everyone must wash their hands thoroughly and wear a mask if they have respiratory symptoms.”
The Medical Centre is seeking to provide most of their consultations via telephone unless a physical examination is absolutely required.
If physically attending there are now protocols now in place that must be followed.
Firstly, book the appointment using a phone, mobile or online.
Secondly, for the appointment, drive to the clinic and remain in the car in the carpark.
Call reception from your car and advise staff of your arrival and relevant details and wait.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath), advise staff and take protective measures including wearing a mask.
Thirdly, staff will call you when it is your turn to see the doctor.
Before seeing the doctor, use the hand washing station situated at the entrance of the clinic.
Note, everyone is required to thoroughly hand wash on arrival.
Finally, staff will take you to the doctor and once completed you must leave immediately.
If you do not have a mobile, there is outdoor, undercover and spaced seating at the front of the clinic.
Compliance is important to stop the spread and to help local medical staff and first responders remain healthy and able to work.
This applies to all appointments with the clinic open Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5pm.
Due to COVID-19,the clinic is closed on Saturdays until further notice.
Andrea Hammond, on behalf of all the staff, added. “Thank you so much everyone for their support. It’s an honour to serve and support such a wonderful community through this worldwide crisis.”
Testing is currently conducted at Calvary Mater Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital, Maitland Hospital and Manning Hospital within the Hunter New England COVID-19 Clinics.
Stay safe, informed and connected at home.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, call your local doctor or call the Health Direct Line on 1800 022 222.
If you require non-medical information about COVID-19 call 1800 020 080. Minutes.
By Sandra MURRAY