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COVID-19

There has been a lot of misinformation being shared on social media, here is our run-down of recommendations for Australia.

  1. Wash hands with soap and water, and avoid physical contact where possible [see social distancing]
  2. At the moment if you have a cough or cold you are still only likely to just have a common cold, however you should contact your GP, notifying them of the reason for your visit in advance.

General

COVID-19 is a novel contravirus, ie a new strain of virus that affects the respiratory system in humans. Symptoms are similar to the common cold and flu, but it seemingly shows little signs in children, and has a higher mortality rate in persons aged 70 or older. Note that there are still moralities in younger persons, however to reduce the velocity of contagion across states and between countries there are recommended and state governed procedures that should be followed.

Soap or anti-bacterial hand wash:

Washing your hands is the cheapest and most effective forms of infection control. COVID-19 is spread mainly through small droplets we create when we sneeze or cough, which may be directly transferred through close contact or may last on surfaces for days. As corona virus must infect you through your mouth, nose or eyes, washing hands ensures we remove the germs and limit its spread.

Traditional soap (either block or liquid form) is the best form of handwash, followed by disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol content. Ensure you dry your hands thoroughly after washing.

Pandemic, what does it mean and is there reason to be alarmed?

The COVID-19 virus was classified a pandemic by the World Health Organization as the spread of the virus was at a stage where it could no longer be contained. This doesn't mean that everyone will get sick, nor does it mean that the virus is any more deadly than before it was classified in this way. It's closer to a notification to countries who either had no or few cases to take additional precautions.

Self-isolation

If you are in a home where the others who live with you haven’t travelled you should minimise close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. The other household residents do not need to self-isolate provided these precautions are followed. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.

When to visit your GP -

You can continue to visit your GP as normal. We are taking precautions to stop possible corona virus cases from entering the practice.

If you have any of the following symptoms - fever • cough • sore throat • shortness of breath, you will be asked to remain outside the practice, where we will provide support and diagnosis over the phone where possible, and you will be referred by your doctor to the recommended services when required.

You will be referred to a corona virus testing center if you have also had contact with a person who has been diagnosed with corona virus, or had contact with an international traveller within the past 14 days.

Masks -

The current advice is that surgical masks do not provide much protection against COVID-19. Purchasing them makes it harder for health services to access them, so it is recommended that the general public do not need to wear masks.

Social Distancing -

In general, remaining at least 1.5m from your peers

When visiting bars, gyms, grocery stores - do so at quieter times when possible, avoid ensure you wash your hands after contacting surfaces, after social contact and before eating.

House Gatherings - Small groups are not yet asked to stop contact, ensure all attendees are well and maintain distance where possible and continue to wash hands regularly.

Elderly relatives - It's difficult to reduce or stop contact, especially for your loved ones, however it is advised that contact with persons over 70 be reduced as much as possible.

Government Regulations

Ban on static gatherings of 500 people or more. Static refers to 500 people in the same location for an extended period of time, which will affect sporting events, grand-prix and likely Anzac Day services to name a few. This does not affect public areas such as train stations, supermarkets and local markets as they don't have static attendance. The RACGP news feed has more details here: https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/events-of-more-than-500-people-should-be-banned-du.

Persons traveling or returning from anywhere overseas must self-quarantine for 14-days.

Schools will not likely be closed based on current advice - There are two primary reasons for this. The first is that schools are generally closed environments, meaning schools are unlikely going to be the primary avenue for virus transmission within the greater community. Furthermore, removing the children of healthcare professionals who have few alternatives for care, will put greater stress on our medical support systems, let alone other essential services.