The rumour mill has gone wild in the Southern Highlands!
With one recognised case in our population of 45,000, the local media, social media and the general rumour mill are on fire.
There are likely to be a few more cases but probably not a lot.
So what should we do? Really simple really!
We showed that we could do it in March and April.
- Stay at home as much as you can
- Physical distancing - a couple of metres from the next person, especially when indoors.
- hand and cough hygiene
- everyone with a symptom must get tested (this includes children). Do not put this off - even a day or two make tracing harder and spread easier.
- do not go to work or school or childcare if you have a symptom - any symptom - and stay home until you are symptom free and have tested negative
- be modest in your family reunions and socialising - even then, maintain physical distancing - so avoid hugging and shaking hands.
- If you have been to the Crossroads Hotel at Casula or any other recognised hot spot or been in Victoria in the last 2-3 weeks - please get tested today.
We are seeking advice from the Public Health Unit as to what those in the at-risk population (especially Aged Care Workers and Health Care Workers) who have "soft contact" with a case (eg Bowral Woolies if you were there between midday and 9pm on July 11 or midday and 9pm on July 12 according to the NSW Health website) - and will be giving that advice to our workers once that is established on Thursday.
Please note if you have been to Woolies Bowral in specified hours you do not need testing unless you have a symptom. Be alert - not alarmed.
For the general population, our advice is:
If you have any symptoms - (fever, dry cough, unexplained tiredness , aches and pains, diarrhoea, sore throat, conjunctivitis, gut symptoms, a loss of taste or smell), please get tested at the Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic or the General Practice Respiratory Clinic at Mittagong or the pop-up clinic at Moss Vale Showground. Be aware there may be a significant wait.
If you worked at Woolies Bowral - you will be contacted by your work administration and given advice as to what to do. In the meantime - please take all distancing precautions and try and keep out of circulation!
If you have shopped at Woolies Bowral between 3 July and 13 July and have no symptoms - please DO NOT PRESENT FOR TESTING as this will cause gridlock in the system. Please stay home if you can - if not, minimise interactions with other people and do safe Covid practice. Await further advice.
If you were at the Crossroads Hotel or the Gaming Room at Picton Hotel between July 3 and July 10, or at any of the other recognised hotspots - please get tested and minimise your contact with others until results are available.
There were significant delays in testing at the Bowral and Mittagong testing clinics over the last couple of days.
There is now more staffing and extended hours.
Please do not clog up the system by getting tested if you have no symptoms or no contacts as above.
Who can stop the spread? Each of us.
We have learnt the huge financial and personal effect of managing a major outbreak.
If the pandemic resumes in NSW, we will likely have to close down various areas and regions, or even the whole state, for periods of time - at even more cost.
Surely we can see the wisdom in resuming physical distancing and Covid consciousness - more than just our health is at stake.
It is a big wake up call to all of us.
Looking around on the streets and the coffee shops, we have turned our back on social distancing over the last month.
We have become complacent and the biggest story in the media is how soon we can pack thousands into stadiums.
We are concerned at the jobs and dollars - and let down our guard by forgetting to do the major strategy that has greatly reduced our first wave in Australia - social distancing.
Experts believe that we can allow people out of their houses back to shops, schools and sport - but that will be lethal if we don't physically distance ourselves.
Just remember - a metre and a half from everyone else and plenty of hand hygiene.
And ANY symptoms (fever, dry cough, unexplained tiredness , aches and pains, diarrhoea, sore throat, conjunctivitis, gut symptoms, a loss of taste or smell) should result in a Covid-19 test at one of our two testing site (Bowral and Mittagong).
There is increasing evidence that wearing masks can reduce the transition of the virus indoors, when not at home, and especially where physical distancing is difficult.
If you are in a shop, bar, coffee shop or restaurant where physical distancing is not happening - speak up, as the standard you walk past is the standard you accept - or leave the place.
The economic and social recovery is not worth dying for.
The Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic continues to operate seven days a week out of the hospital's outpatient department.
This is planned to continue for several more months.
Hours of Business:
Weekdays - 8am-6pm
Weekends - 10:30am to 3pm
Phone number - 4861 014
People do not require a referral from their GP to attend the BDH Flu Assessment Clinic.
The direct phone number for the flu clinic is 4861 0145 and enquiries will be answered during hours of operation only.
If you have any respiratory symptoms - even if you think it is just a cold - please get tested.
You need to call 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 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.
The is a new pop-up clinic at Moss Vale Showground from 8am to 6pm on Thursday (July 16). Enter from the Illawarra Highway/Robertson Road.
Wear warm gear to stand in line. Results are available about 24-48 hours after testing.
Remember - any symptoms - get you or your children tested!
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