Please note that information is changing at a rapid rate, we will try to update as soon as we can but we are also busy with patients and phones calls at the moment! Remember that social distancing and regular hand washing is essential to help decrease the incidence of infection!
Victorian Coronavirus Hotline hotline 1800 675 398.
National Coronavirus Information Line : 1800 020 080
THE STAFF AT HEATHMONT GENERAL PRACTICE ARE UNABLE TO PERFORM COVID-19 SWABS. If you have any symptoms listed below please organise a telehealth appointment and speak with your GP.
Our nearest testing Centre is located at : RINGWOOD EACH, 46 Warrandyte Rd, Ringwood. ph 8595 1333
We are also able to direct you to an independant COVID swabbing pathology provider with an emailed referral form – please speak with your GP via a telehealth appointment.
As of 14/4/2020, Victoria has widened COVID-19 testing to be available to anyone with symptoms. These symptoms are :
- Fever or chills, in the absence of another reason for this symptom, OR
- Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
- In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (headache, myalgia, runny or stuffy nose, anosmia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or are health care workers
Heathmont General Practice recommends :
- When you book for ANY appointment our receptionists will ask if you have any fever or respiratory symptoms. PLEASE BE HONEST WITH YOUR SYMPTOMS AND TRAVEL HISTORY. We are not trying to invade your privacy, nor are we discriminating or not seeing patients that are unwell – the information is only used to aid in infection control. Most of our patients are still coming in for non-COVID related medical conditions and we want to minimise the risk to them in the waiting room.
- If you do have respiratory symptoms, you will be offered either : a) a telehealth appointment with your doctor over the phone or b) an appointment at the clinic, where you may be asked to wait outside or in your car, and your doctor may ring to assess your symptoms over the phone prior to your appointment. In some instances it may be appropriate to assess you in your car.
- If you’re unsure if you need to be tested, please make a telehealth appointment with your doctor to discuss. If needed your doctor will help you organise a COVID swab to be taken at a COVID swabbing location. Please do not come into the clinic without speaking with your doctor first.
- Check the Smart Traveller website for updated information. Current advice is to AVOID ALL OVERSEAS TRAVEL.
- The number of chairs in the waiting room has decreased as they are now spaced further apart to enable social distancing. Please LIMIT THE NUMBER OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS coming with each patient for their appointments to decrease the number of people in the waiting room.
- As part of infection control we have taken the toys and magazines from all the consulting rooms as well as from the waiting room. Please bring something (book, quiet toy or electronic device) to entertain your younger patients (and yourself).
- We are working as quickly as possible to see our patients. We are working to ensure our consultation rooms are as low risk as possible in between each patient appointment. Waiting times may be longer and we thank you for your patience.
- Telehealth Phone appointments with your GP are now available. These are ideal if you need results, prescriptions or a medical consultation where extensive examination is not needed. This will decrease your risk of infection but allow you to access a phone appointment without having to come into the clinic. Please note that depending on the nature of the medical matter discussed in a telehealth appointment, a physical appointment at the clinic at a later date may be required. Please indicate that you would like a telehealth appointment when you’re booking with our receptionists.
Screening clinics have been established at multiple locations across Melbourne. Patients who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 may present to these screening clinics but are asked to call doing so. Our closest centres are :
- EACH Ringwood – 46 Warrandyte Rd, Ringwood – 8595 1333
- Box Hill Hospital – 1300 342 255
- Austin Hospital – 9496 5000
- Monash Hospital Clayton – 9594 6666
As the illness is evolving and more cases are diagnosed within Australia, please find the latest information via the Australian Government website, the Victorian Government website, and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services websites. You can also check for up to date information on DHHS Coronavirus Daily Update (please note that they will no longer publish locations of possible exposure as there is now sustained community transmission)
The following is information sourced from the Australian Government on the latest advice on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) :
What you need to know
Health authorities have identified coronavirus cases in Australia in January 2020. The virus originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and the majority of initial cases were there, but has since spread to multiple countries around the world.
Currently in Australia, people most at risk of contracting the virus are those who have been in Countries with increased risk recently, or have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
What is this coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus originating in Hubei Province, China, is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It had not been detected before this outbreak. It is currently known as “COVID-19”
How is the coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
• Direct close contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
• Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
• Touching objects or surfaces (such as door knobs or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air so we should all go about our lives as normal.
A close contact could include any person meeting any of the following criteria:
- living in the same household or household-like setting (for example, a boarding school or hostel)
- direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a confirmed case
- a person who spent two hours or longer in the same room
- face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes with the case in any other setting not listed above.
Who needs to be isolated at home?
If you have come back from overseas on or after midnight 15/3/2020, you must isolate yourself in your home for 14 days.
If you think you may have been a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 while you were overseas or in Australia, you must isolate yourself in your home for 14 days after last contact with the confirmed case.
Any healthcare worker or residential aged care worker who has been overseas in the previous 14 days should not attend work until they have been well for 14 days after leaving those countries
What does isolate in your home mean?
People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work,school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the
home, but it’s wise to as much as possible isolate yourself and keep at least 1.5m from them. Do not allow visitors into the home. There is no need to wear masks in the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) you should contact a doctor for urgent assessment. At HGP we would appreciate if you could speak with one of our staff members prior to coming into the clinic. Please advice us of your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus. If you get tested for COVID-19 you must then remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until Public Health authorities or your GP inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
Who needs to be tested?
Testing is available for anyone who is a suspected case of novel coronavirus – patients are asked to self isolate at home whilst awaiting results if they are not admitted to a health care facility.
People without symptoms should not be tested.
Patients who meet the following clinical criteria should be tested (as of 14/4/2020):
Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation
Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
Note: In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19* AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
*headache, myalgia, runny or stuffy nose, anosmia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
Note: Healthcare workers and emergency workers remain a high priority for testing.
All patients being tested for COVID-19 should home isolate until test results are available. All patients should attend an emergency department if clinical deterioration occurs.
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly.
From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
• people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
• elderly people
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
• very young children and babies, and people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
How is the virus treated?
There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.
How can we help prevent the spread of the virus?
Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should
- stay home according to recommendations of our Stage 3 Restrictions,
- wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet;
- avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact) – keep a 1.5m social distance from other people; and
- cough and sneeze into your elbow.
What about if I’m planning to travel overseas?
The Australian Government has announced travel restrictions and has advised that visitors from mainland China (1/2/2020) and Iran (as of 1/3/2020), South Korea and Italy (11/3/2020) who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents or their dependents will not be allowed entry into Australia. Any resident returning from Overseas or Cruise ships should also be isolated at home for 14 days after return. The Australian Government has also recommended that Australians :
- avoid all overseas travel
Information is being updated regularly due to the frequent changes, further information on travel can be found on the Smart Traveller COVID-19 webpage.
Where can I get more information?
Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au.
Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.
Talk to your general doctor if you have concerns.