GINGIN residents with cold or flu like symptoms are being advised to stay home and to first contact the Gingin Medical Centre by telephone.
The medical centre, which only has one doctor at present, is asking anyone who thinks they have COVID-19 or even just cold or flu-like symptoms to not go to the centre because if they do turn out to have the virus then the medical centre will have to close for a minimum of two weeks.
The Shire of Gingin, which operates the medical centre, said anyone with a sore throat, headache, runny nose, coughing, shortness of breath, tiredness or fever should first contact the Gingin Medical Centre on 9575 2300.
Some patients will be eligible for a teleconference call.
“But if you are not eligible and have not come into contact with anyone who has travelled overseas in the last 14 days or had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and you live in the Shire of Gingin then you will be able to make an appointment with the Gingin Medical Centre for treatment for treating a regular cold or flu,’’ the shire said.
“However, you will be asked to remain in your car in the car park and the doctor will come out to see you there.
“If you do not live in the Shire of Gingin then you should contact your usual GP.’’
The shire advised if it was necessary for a patient to be tested for coronavirus they could attend any of the COVID Clinics in Perth but they should ring the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 to obtain information on the eligibility criteria prior to presenting themselves.
The clinics are open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm – this week new clinics opened in Joondalup and Midland.
Further details on the clinics can be found at https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/COVIDclinics
People were asked to stay in self-isolation until they received their test results.
The shire said to be eligible for the Medicare teleconference call service patients need to:
- Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but not be a patient at a hospital; or
- Have been required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); or
- The person needs to meet the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection; or
- Be considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, i.e.:
- At least 70 years old; or
- At least 50 years old or over if of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or
- Pregnant; or
- A parent of a child under 12 months; or
- Any person under treatment for chronic health conditions or who are immune compromised (e.g.: conditions of the heart/lung/kidney or cancer).
“Additionally, these susceptible patients are only eligible for the teleconference service if they have attended that GP clinic in the past 12 months,’’ the shire said.
“So they must have visited the Gingin Medical Centre anytime since March 2019.’’
On Thursday, March 19 the Australian Medial Association (AMA) said temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule telehealth and phone consultation items were introduced on March 13 to support GPs to deliver services via videoconference and phone to patients to reduce the risk of transmission to GPs, practice staff and patients.
The AMA statement said health professionals at risk of COVID-19 could also use the temporary MBS items to practice from home if it was appropriate and feasible to do so if they had been:
- diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but were not a patient of a hospital; or
- required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by AHPPC.
The AMA said it expected further changes would be made in the immediate future to protect vulnerable practitioners.
The World Health Organization website says COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus unknown before the outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The WA Department of Health website says:
- stay at home if you are unwell
- practise social distancing
- avoid gatherings
- wash your hands often with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow
- if you have arrived from overseas, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
For more information visit https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/coronavirus