Many people are concerned about being out in public because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
I completely understand this. The best advice we have is to socially distance ourselves from other people in the community and to practice good hand hygiene. For people who are avoiding social contact going outside for appointments can cause fear or anxiety.
Unfortunately at the same time, other everyday illnesses and health concerns don’t go away, just because there is a new global virus spreading. We are putting in extra precautions to prevent the risk of infection and to help ensure people are safe when they visit.
Seeing us doing things differently can be a bit scary if you don’t know why we are doing it.
That’s why I wanted to explain to you what to expect if you do need to come in for an appointment at one of Your Community Health’s centres and answer some common questions.
Can I still make an appointment and what will happen if I do?
Yes. We would like you to call to make an appointment, rather than just walking in, if you can. However you make an appointment with us, our helpful Client Services Officers will ask you a few additional questions when booking the appointment.
They will ask the usual questions about the reason for your visit. They may also ask:
- Do you have a cough?
- Do you have a sore throat?
- Do you have shortness of breath?
- Have you recently travelled overseas?
- Have you been in contact with a person who is known to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
By asking this of you and other clients, we can make sure that you are not exposed to contact with people who may be at risk of having the virus.
If a client answers yes to all or most of these questions, we will recommend that they visit a coronavirus assessment clinic to be assessed prior to booking an appointment with us.
After they have been screened and received a clear test, we can make an appointment for them to assess their other healthcare needs.
If clients are not at risk of having the virus, we will of course book your appointment as normal.
What if someone has COVID-19 and visits Your Community Health?
If we suspect a client is at risk of having contracted the virus, we will give them a face mask to wear. We will move them to a safe, isolated space to wait for a doctor or nurse to assess them.
Our staff will be wearing full protective clothing and will practice our strict infection control protocols. The space they have been waiting in will be thoroughly cleaned after it has been used and other people will not be allowed access it until this has been done.
We have these safety precautions in place to prevent risk, and I am sharing them with you to help ease any fears that you have. However you should know that we have always had emergency procedures and precautions in place like this. Our priority is ensuring that we protect all clients and staff from cross-contamination – even though this is highly unlikely.
Are there changes in the waiting areas?
You may notice a few changes that we are making in the waiting areas, for extra precautions.
The waiting areas are being cleaned more regularly. This is just a precaution.
We are temporarily removing toys and magazines, so that germs are not passed through touching these objects.
We are moving chairs slightly further apart from each other where possible, to limit unnecessary contact.
As always, we have hand sanitiser and tissues available in our waiting areas and hot water, soap and paper towels or hand dryers in our toilets.
Will there be changes to my appointments?
Unfortunately however, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our social groups and group exercise classes until further notice. Reducing group gatherings is one of the most effective ways we as a community can prevent the spread of COVID-19. So this is an important step to helping Australia get the spread of the virus under control.
What can I do if I am concerned?
You can always talk to us if you have any concerns. Give us a call and we will see what we can do to help.