The news remains good!
Wingecarribee numbers are unchanged for the last 38 days.
Still 25 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the Wingecarribee Shire.
There is also no recorded community transmission.
And the good news has continued state-wide with no new cases in NSW on May 30.
Here are some details from across the country:
- National statistics - In the 24 hours up until yesterday (May 30), there were 18 new cases in Australia - mostly in Western Australia (15) and Victoria (7).
- In the last week, Australia had 76 new cases - of these, NSW had 14 new cases, Victoria had 44, WA had 25 and QLD had 3.
And fresh information for South West Sydney Local Health District - to which the Wingecarribee and Bowral Hospital belong:
- Confirmed cases - 259
- Recovered cases 249 (96 per cent)
- Isolated at home - 0
- Isolated in hotel accommodation - 5
- In hospital - 1
- Died 4 (1.5 per cent mortality)
Southern Highlands Division of General Practice spokesman Dr Vice Roche said "we still have a couple of weeks before we find out if our move from social distancing over the last couple of weeks has come at a cost of a second wave."
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"This is a long way from over - if we get a second wave, it may be unstoppable," he said.
"See what is happening in WA - which had really good figures until a few days ago- and Victoria.
"So what should we do in the meantime?
"We need to move from social distancing to the new concept of physical distancing - yes, we are much more out and about, back at schools, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping etc - but we need to make sure that we keep physically distancing - keep 1.5-2.0 metres from everyone else (except our families /house mates).
"When you have the option - still stay at home as much as possible - and especially if you are at higher risk due to your age or other medical conditions.
"Keep hand washing - along with testing everyone with any respiratory symptoms.
"We are currently testing 60-70 people each day in the Wingecarribee - and there have been no positives for 5 1/2 weeks!"
Dr Roche said that all of 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.
"While 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, each Aged Care Facility has communicated their new visitor policies to residents, families and GPs," he said.
"As the pandemic picture slowly changes in Australia, new visiting rules have been introduced at all of our Aged Care Facilities over the last 2-3 weeks.
"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.
"Our 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 protective measures taken by our Nursing Homes."
Keep up the Normal Care
Dr Roche said their was continued 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.
"Likewise, dentists are back at work and it is important to resume the maintenance work again."
Some General Practices have adequate flu vaccines for 65+ age group- but not all.
Dr Roche said stocks were low due to high uptake, but there may be possible alternatives.
"Please discuss with your GP. This is also true of stocks of vaccines for the 5-64 year age group," he said.
"There are plenty of vaccine for the childhood influenza vaccine (6 months to less than 5 years).
"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 - with the exception of the 65+ age group where the year's vaccination stock has been exhausted."
The Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic
Hours of Business:
- Weekdays - 10am to 5.30pm.
- Weekends - 10:30am to 3pm
- Phone Number - 4861 014.
The Flu Assessment Clinic continues to run smoothly.
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.
Dr Roche said screening criteria had changed.
"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," he said.
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 - even if you think it is just a cold - 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.
The Commonwealth-funded General Practice Respiratory Clinicis 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.
Southern Highlands Private Hospital and Bowral Hospital
All staff and visitors to the hospitals are being screened for infection risk with a questionnaire and a temperature test as they enter the hospitals.
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 there had beena 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 currently achieving about 50 per cent of our usual surgical throughput at both hospitals.
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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