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Information on COVID-19 for Patients

Information will be updated, as it comes to hand.  Please review regularly.

Please note at this time, whilst we always make every attempt to accommodate your specific requests around treatment days and times, our referral rate has increased dramatically.  We are trying our best to provide service to as many patients as possible, therefore, we ask you to limit requests to address only essential needs.  We thank you for your understanding.

This information is provided by View Health to help guide our patients on:

  • recommendations for keeping well as restrictions around COVID-19 ease;
  • the best way to prevent infection with COVID-19;
  • what to do if you think you, or a close contact, are at high-risk or have been exposed to COVID-19; and
  • what to do if you develop flu-like symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, cough, sneezing, runny nose or shortness of breath (which is new or worsening), regardless of whether you think you have been exposed to COVID 19 or not.

 

People having cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy and people with medical conditions requiring immunotherapies, such as infliximab, vedolizumab and ustekinumab for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, natalizumab and ocrelizumab for Multiple Sclerosis, and infliximab, tocilizumab, abatacept and rituximab for Arthritic conditions are at increased risk of infection, including COVID-19*. Infection with COVID-19 in these people may result in hospitalisation, serious complications or death.

 

COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person to person through:

  • Direct contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
  • Contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) that were contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Close contacts of a person with a confirmed infection (such as people staying in the same house or sharing a closed space for a prolonged length of time) are most at risk of infection.

 

Current recommendations, as restrictions ease in parts of Australia:

To prevent infection:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol hand rub.  Guidance on the correct handwashing technique can be found in the following Queensland Health video https://youtu.be/NpmB80pWUsk;
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes (this is harder than it seems!). If it is necessary to touch these areas, like when eating, make sure to wash hands first;
  • Practice physical distancing  by keeping 1.5 metres away from others; avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses; use tap and go instead of cash; travel at quiet times and avoid crowds; and avoid public gatherings;
  • Follow the guidelines in each state related to the lifting of restrictions, including isoloation and social gatherings;
  • Consider all reasonable ways to limit the time spent in hospitals, day units, clinics or GP surgeries as these areas are likely to have the greatest number of infected people. This can be done through health professional home visits (View Health, home doctor) and telehealth services using Facetime, Whatsapp etc (bulk-billed Medicare item numbers have been created to cover the cost of these);
  • Do not travel.  People returning from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days.  Border closures between most Australian states and territories are in effect.  Anyone traveling into states and territories with border closures will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Note: wearing a mask does not prevent infection, however, masks likely reduce the spread of infection in people who have COVID-19. If you wear a mask it is important you wear it properly (over your mouth and nose) and do not touch your face to make adjustments, which may potentially increasing the risk of infection.

If you have:

  • Recently returned from a high-risk area;
  • Been in contact with someone who has recently returned from a high-risk area;
  • Been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19; or
  • Developed any flu-like symptoms (as mentioned above)

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

 

If you fulfil any of the above criteria, or have recently returned from overseas or interstate, and have treatment due with View Health it is extremely important that you contact our office on 1300 466 324 so we can discuss your treatment arrangements.

 

Testing criteria for COVID-19 have been greatly expanded (NB the criteria differ slightly between states). Testing clinics have been set up in all states.  If you have flu-like symptoms (as above) contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line.  They will be abe to provide the most up-to-date information on if you fit the criteria for testing and the location of your closest testing facility.  It may take a few days for the test results to be returned. If your symptoms are serious you may be admitted to hospital and isolated from other patients to prevent further spread of the virus. If you are well enough to remain at home while you are waiting for your test results:

  • Remain in your home and do not attend work, school or other activities;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow;
  • Avoid cooking for or caring for other members of your household; and
  • If you need to leave the home, or close contact with other people is unavoidable, wear a mask.

Further information is available on the following Federal and State Health Department websites.

Australian Government Department of Health

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Western Australia

https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/coronavirus

South Australia

https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/novel+coronavirus

Victoria

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

New South Wales

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

Queensland

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/diseases/coronavirus

 

*Please note this list of medications is not exhaustive, it merely outlines the types of treatment View Health routinely administers.  Other medications may affect the immune system as well.