The coronavirus crisis is being felt across East Gippsland, despite no cases being reported in the wider Gippsland region.
People have taken to panic buying items such as toilet paper, meats and non-perishable canned foods, with supermarkets struggling to keep up with demand as the region stays on high alert.
Cleanliness is at the forefront of tackling the issue.
Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS) is encouraging everyone in the community to play their part to help slow the spread of the virus.
That means following the direction of Victoria’s health officials to practice good hygiene, staying home if you are unwell, and limiting non essential gatherings.
THE HOSPITALʼS RESPONSE
BRHS cheif executive officer, Robyn Hayles said a COVID-19 Incident Management Team of executives, senior managers and clinical and operations leads had been meeting daily since last week to analyse new develop-ments and ensure the hospital is following all guidelines on testing and treating suspected cases and reducing the risk of transmission.
“We appreciate the anxiety and concern that COVID-19 is causing in this community. It is our community, too,” she said.
“We have been following the COVID-19 situ-ation closely for the past few weeks, and we are prepared to identify, triage and manage suspected cases of COVID-19.
“We are working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and are receiving regular updates on COVID-19 as the situation develops. Our staff are trained, prepared and equipped to treat all presentations with symptoms of COVID-19 appropriately.”
BRHS is requesting that people limit nonessential visits to the hospital and Mad-docks Garden Aged Care Facility.
It asks people consider a phone call or video call (such as FaceTime or Skype) to a patient, instead of a visit. If you do need to visit, a maximum of two guests is permitted.
“Reducing the number of people coming and going through the hospital helps re-duce the risk of transmission and helps us protect patients and the community,” BRHS chief executive officer, Robyn Hayles, said.
Please do not visit if you have returned from overseas in the past 14 days, or if you are unwell.
“We know this restriction can be challeng-ing and we understand each family’s situa-tion is different. For exceptional circum-stances we encourage you to call the hospital and speak to your family member’s nursing team for further advice,” Ms Hayles said.
“This decision was made in the interests of taking every precaution to reduce the spread and transmission of coronavirus, particularly among vulnerable populations.”
This situation may change in the coming days, so people are encouraged to check the BRHS website and Facebook page for updated details, as each clinical area could have specific arrangements.
BRHS’ Main Reception number is 5150 3333. For phone numbers for each of the departments and wards, visit www.brhs.com.au/health-services/
Maddocks Gardens does have computers available and can help facilitate video calls with residents via FaceTime or Skype. Call Maddocks Gardens at 5150 3659 if you’d like to arrange a video call.
If you do visit the hospital or Maddocks Gardens, you must use the alcohol based sanitiser provided frequently, cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough, and listen to and obey direction from staff.
Early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart and lung disease are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.
IMAGE: Bairnsdale Regional Health Service is calling on the community to obey demands amid the coronavirus crisis, saying people must play their role in reducing the spread of the virus. (PS)