It has now been 20 days with no change in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Wingecarribee which remain at 25.
There have been just two additional cases recorded in NSW, while there is a 90 per cent recovery of all cases recorded.
But the Southern Highlands Division of General Practice doctors warns that it is "definitely not time to relax."
The latest statistics from the South West Sydney Local Health District as of May 10 are:
Division spokesman Dr Vince Roche raffirmed the key to success was social distancing and hand washing.
"The rules for visiting other people at home relaxed a little from May 1 and will relax a little again next May 15," he said.
"Social distancing and good personal hygiene remain the mainstay of our strategy - along with testing everyone with any respiratory symptoms.
"Every time you leave the safety of your house, you have to imagine that you have COVID-19 disease - and you also have to imagine that everyone you see - whether at work, the coffee queue, or the supermarket - has the infection.
"We need to behave as if we want to avoid passing on or catching the infection.
"And be extra careful when visiting vulnerable people.
"We need to keep this going after school goes back, after football resumes, and the shops and restaurants start reopening.
"Please remember that the new relaxed rules do not intend for you to become a "Mixmaster" - ie visit one or two people - share viruses - visit a couple more - share viruses - visit someone else - share viruses etc.
"Please do not waste the pain of the last eight weeks!"
The Division of General Practice encourages all Wingecarribee residents - and indeed all Australians - to download the new Australian Government COVIDSafe app.
Dr Roche said that while the app did not prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, it would make a huge contribution to the early and swift tracing of contacts of newly diagnosed people.
"It is a valuable tool in pushing down the number of infected cases towards zero - and helping Australia to move back to a normal way of life," he said.
"Five million Australians have downloaded the app. We need to double or even triple that for the app to be really effective.
"Please download it today!"
Dr Roche said that all Registered Aged Care Facilities in the Highlands had carefully weighed up the risks and benefits to their residents and staff and had reviewed their previous policies where they have remained closed to all visitors - including families - with the exception of emergencies and palliative care patients.
"All these nursing homes have put measures in place to facilitate their residents talking with their families by phone, Skype, FaceTime etc to minimise the distress that isolation causes both residents and families," he said.
"GPs are doing as much as possible of their care by phone, fax, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc!
"Aged Care facilities are working closely with GPs and the hospital to provide the most appropriate and timely care to residents - and to keep them away from the hospital and the Emergency Department with grave risks to elderly people in a possible COVID exposed environment.
"Each Aged Care Facility has communicated their new visitor policies to residents, families and GPs - as the pandemic picture slowly changes in Australia.
"I'm sure we are all aware of the terrible scenes in nursing homes overseas (as well as here in Penrith and Macquarie Park) - and understand the huge pressures on Nursing Homes to keep their residents and staff safe.
"Most local GPs are strongly supportive of the measures that our local Aged Care Facilities are taking - and interestingly, feedback from residents and their families are mostly strongly supportive of the ongoing physical isolation."
Keep up the Normal Care
Dr Roche said there was significant concern among doctors about the decrease in "normal care"- whether paediatrics, antenatal, conditions where patients truly need to be seen in the Emergency Department or in the case of GP care, people with chronic and complex illness (eg heart disease, lung disease, diabetes) - where anecdotally there has been a large reduction in people keeping their appointments and an increase in cancelled appointments.
"Normal Care needs to continue throughout the epidemic," he said.
"Some may be done by telehealth - but much will involve face-to-face appointments with doctors and midwives."
Some General Practices have adequate flu vaccines for 65+ age group and some may be waiting for their next delivery.
Stocks are low due to high uptake.
Dr Roche said this was also true of stocks of vaccines for the 5-64 year age group.
"There are plenty of vaccine for the childhood influenza vaccine - six month to less than five years," he said.
"Flu vaccination is highly recommended as we still have the usual influenza bugs circulating - and people weakened by the flu are a sitting target for a severe dose of COVID-19.
"This is a good year to have one. But do not wait weeks or months - there are no advantages and real disadvantages in holding off.
"If you don't normally have a flu vaccine - this is the year to do it! And if your GP Clinic is out of vaccine - it is not their fault - please do not abuse the staff - the Public Health Unit gives it to the General Practices as soon as they get the vaccines from the manufacturers, and they will be restocked as soon as supplies are available."
The Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic
Hours of Business:
Dr Roche said the Flu Assessment Clinic continued to run smoothly.
"We recommend all people who feel that they need to be screened should talk to their GP by telephone first," he said.
"People do not require a referral from their GP to attend the BDH Flu Assessment Clinic, but they prefer GP Clinics do the first line of triage.
"Screening criteria have changed - often on a day-by-day basis- and these changes that are inevitable as the epidemic progresses.
"As the epidemic progresses into the next phase - community transmission - GPs are being encouraged to test any members of the public with a fever or respiratory symptoms, and especially any Health Care or Aged Care workers with a fever or respiratory symptoms."
The direct phone number for the flu clinic is 4861 0145 and enquiries will be answered during hours of operation only.
If you have respiratory symptoms or a fever or both - please get tested.
Even if you have seen your GP, you need to ring the Clinic on 4861 0145 to organise your time to come to the clinic.
Results are usually available in about 24 hours.
In addition, there is a new Commonwealth-funded General Practice Respiratory Clinic opened in Mittagong.
The clinic is located in the lower level of Mittagong HealthCare Centre, 58 Bowral Road, Mittagong.
It is open 9am to 5pm seven days a week.
The clinics are designed to assess patients with mild-to-moderate respiratory symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough, tiredness and shortness of breath.
Regardless of whether COVID-19 testing is indicated, or a specimen is taken, the patient will receive clinical guidance about managing their respiratory symptoms through the clinic.
Patients must have an appointment before attending the clinic.
Patients can make an appointment online via HotDoc and there will be no charge to the patient.
To set up an appointment, patients can also phone the clinic directly for triage, call HealthDirect or be referred by their GP.
Referring GPs will receive a copy of the pathology results.
All staff and visitors to the hospital are being screened for infection risk with a questionnaire and a temperature test as they enter the hospital.
Limit is one visitor per patients and the new restricted visiting hours are 10am-11am, and 4:30pm to 5:30pm.
The only entrance to the hospital for staff and visitors is via the Milton Park Front Door.
Dr Roche said that there had been a limited reintroduction of some elective surgery since April 27- with Category Two and some category Three patients - at both Bowral District Hospital and the Southern Highlands Private Hospital.
"If you are on a waiting list - the respective hospital will contact you if you are able to have your surgery," he said.
"We are hoping to achieve 25-50 per cent of our usual surgical throughput.
"Why not more? There is still a relative shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) - eg gloves, face masks, gowns - and we cannot afford to run down our supply in case Covid gets worse.
"Likewise we need to keep enough hospital beds empty to allow us to cope with a surge in Covid activity should it occur."
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