Over the past week we have seen an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia which has resulted in the Victorian Government declaring a state of emergency from midday 16 March 2020, lasting for a period of four weeks. COVID-19 is a new, serious illness that has spread world-wide and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Social distancing measures such as avoiding large groups and shaking hands are advised to minimise spread of the virus, in addition to use of good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
What we are doing
Your Community Health has been actively responding to this rapidly changing situation, implementing measures that will help keep our clients, staff and community safe. This has included:
- Suspending all social group and group exercise activities and cancelling or postponing all events. We understand that this will be difficult for many members of our community, who value the social connection, but it is important that we do what we can to limit social gatherings at this time We will aim to keep in contact with you in other ways.
- Additional screening for clients. We are asking you additional questions when you book or attend an appointment so that we can check for risks of infection and protect you and other clients.
- Extra hygiene and sanitation measures. We always follow strict hygiene and cleanliness practices, but we are now putting additional protections in place to protect our clients and staff. This includes additional hygiene and infection control training.
- All medical, dental and allied health services are continuing to operate. We are committed to providing accessible health and wellbeing services and are continuing to do so. We are implementing new ways of supporting our community, including through increased use of technology and telehealth.
What you can do
We ask you to assist us in keeping yourself and others safe at this time. You can help by:
- Calling us prior to attending our service if you have signs of respiratory illness. This will enable us to check that it is safe for you to attend our service and provide you with advice on the best way to access care.
- Seek advice if you suspect you might have the virus. If you have a fever or acute respiratory infection (such as shortness of breath or a cough), and you have either travelled overseas in the 14 days before you felt unwell, or have been in contact with someone in the last 14 days who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, you should seek assessment as soon as possible. The assessment clinics are located at these hospitals: The Alfred Hospital; Austin Health; Northern Health; Box Hill Hospital; Monash Clayton; Royal Melbourne Hospital; St Vincent’s Hospital; Peninsula Health Frankston, and Sunshine Hospital. You can also call the dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Wash your hands for at last 20 seconds. Dry with a clean towel or hand dryer. If soap and water is unavailable, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. This will reduce the risk of spreading germs.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
- Stay at home if you feel sick. If you are concerned, phone your doctor or the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398, if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
- Continue healthy habits. Exercising, drinking water, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep will help keep you healthy.
- Avoid direct contact with other clients or staff when visiting our health centres. Your health care worker will advise you what is appropriate and direct contact may be required. This is OK. However, you may wish to avoid shaking hands with other clients in our centres or having other close contact, in order to reduce risks.
- Socially distance yourself. Where possible avoid public or social interactions in order to prevent contact with others and the spread of the virus.
- Find out more. More information about COVID-19 is available on the DHHS website and through the hotline 1800 675 398.
You can also call us for support at any time.
Your health and wellbeing is our primary priority and we are ready to help in whatever way we can.