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Information on COVID-19 for Patients, Including Vaccine Roll-Out and Re-Opening

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

 

NEW ADVICE: RE-OPENING OF STATES AND TERRITORIES

All states and territories have now reached the fully COVID vaccinated target rates, and borders are now reopened.  This new phase in the pandemic will present a new set of challenges for us all.

As you are aware, we take our responsibility for keeping you safe, very seriously. We do this by:

  • Wearing full personal protective equipment, including full-face shields (in areas of community transmission);
  • Being fully vaccinated against COVID; and
  • Doing weekly covid surveillance testing.

However, we also have a responsibility to keep our nursing team safe in their workplace (i.e. your home).  To do this we are introducing the following process:

  • All patients (and family or friends who remain in the area where you are being treated) are to wear a mask during the home visit;
  • Patients who are not fully COVID vaccinated are to undergo either a surveillance COVID PCR test 3 days (72 hours) before your treatment date (as this is a surveillance test only, there is no need to isolate after this test) OR a COVID Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on the day of treatment;
  • Please screenshot a copy of the PCR result or take a photo of the RAT and send  it to 0488 944 447 prior to the scheduled home visit by our nurse;
  • If you do not do the COVID test, treatment will be delayed until you do;
  • If the result is positive, treatment will be delayed until all appropriate measures have been taken; and
  • We ask that any family or friends, over the age of 12, who are not fully COVID vaccinated refrain from entering the area in your house that you are being treated in, during the home visit by our nurse.

We will continue to monitor and modify our approach as needed.

 

CONTINUING ADVICE: COVID-19 GENERAL INFORMATION

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 to any known exposure sites;
  • Been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19; or
  • Developed any flu-like symptoms.

If you fulfil ANY of the above criteria or have any close contacts with flu-like symptoms (whether or not they have been tested for COVID-19) 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. You can also call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice.

 

Please note at this time, whilst we always make every attempt to accommodate your specific requests around treatment days and times, our first priority is to provide safe care to our patients as we all navigate the changing health and community requirements.  We. therefore, 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;
  • 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; and
  • vaccination (PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION).

 

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;
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) that were contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from a person with confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face; or
  • Aerosols (virus carried by air particles).

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 in 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 including any restrictions and isolation; and
  • Use 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).

#Note: please keep up-to-date with mask requirements within your State or Territory. If you are in a high-risk group you are encouraged to wear a mask. 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 be increasing the risk of infection.

 

You may test for COVID using either a self-administered RAT or at a testing clinic (PCR or RAT).  If you have flu-like symptoms (as above) contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line.  They will be able to provide the most up-to-date information on the location of your closest testing facility. If your symptoms are serious you may be admitted to the hospital and isolated from other patients to prevent further spread of the virus.

 

COVID Preparedness and Management

Environment

Think about your home and how you might isolate yourself or a member of your family if they are COVID positive. Consider how you can limit the use of communal areas (especially bathrooms) and improve ventilation. Clean down any communal areas with Clinell wipes, which kill coronavirus, after use. Clinell wipes can be bought online and from pharmacies, Officeworks etc.

 

Supplies

Put in place backups for obtaining groceries, meals and other household needs using “no contact”. Have betadine sore throat gargle, paracetamol and ibuprofen on hand as well as gloves and masks. Obtain RAT kits (at least 2 for each member of your family). Obtain a pulse oximeter (to measure the oxygen in your blood), or check your smartphone/fitness device to see if it does this already.

 

How to take care if infected

Take warm showers, drink lots of fluid, and get lots of rest. Watch for worsening signs of infection, indicating hospitalization required:

  • your oxygen level is 92% or less when you test using the pulse oximeter, even if you feel okay
  • worsening shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • blue lips or face
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
  • fainting or collapse
  • being more confused
  • becomes difficult to wake up
  • little or no urine (wee) output – less urine than usual, even though you have been drinking lots of fluid
  • coughing up blood

Take care of your mental health

Stay connected with family and friends. Have movies, books or other activities ready to provide entertainment.

 

After the infectious period has passed and symptoms are gone

Wait 24 hours and clean all surfaces with Clinell wipes wearing a mask and gloves.

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.