UPDATE: COVID-19 health measures

COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact worldwide. It’s time to unite as we try to slow the spread of the virus

The situation in Victoria is rapidly changing, so we suggest checking one of these official channels regularly to remain up to date:

  • the Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus section
  • A free app (Coronavirus Australia) is available for access to up to date and comprehensive information for both Apple (App Store) and android (Google Play) devices
  • a WhatsApp number to access latest advice and information is also available – see aus.gov.au/whatsapp

Below are some tips to help you stay well and protect you, your family and the wider community as we navigate the coming months.

1) Practice social distancing

Ensure a distance of 1.5m is kept between yourself and others. No handshakes, hugs, kisses or close talking (no one likes close talkers anyways).

Bans on mass gatherings are now in effect in Victoria, in addition to many other recommendations regarding personal and community safety. Keep up to date with specific Victorian recommendations here.

2) Follow good personal hygiene

The Victorian Government recommends you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Most people don’t realise they touch their face on average 16 times an hour. This makes it easier for the virus to travel from your hands onto your face and into your nose and airway.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Do not share drinking bottles, crockery and cutlery.

3) Get the Flu Vaccine

The Government is recommending everyone gets vaccinated for flu (influenza) when available. This could help reduce the risk of further problems.

Please call our clinic to find out whether we have the flu vaccine in stock or follow our social media channels for updates.

4) Maintain good Household Hygiene

Clean any high-traffic or frequently used areas in your living area often. Examples include door handles, light switches, taps, keyboards and kitchen benchtops.

Also, be sure to clean your mobile phone regularly, as it’s a common bridge between your hands and face.

5) Remember the basics

It’s a stressful time for everyone, but it’s important to maintain healthy habits. Keep up your nutrition and aim to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables each day, plus lean sources of protein.

Get 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if you’re house bound. There are some great online videos you could try in the comfort of your own home.

Sleep is vital to human health – you should be getting between 7 and 9 hours’ sleep a night. Minimise alcohol consumption and if you are a smoker, quit.

It may be difficult in the current environment to establish or re-establish habits that help you stay healthy; help is available if you need assistance with these, including for quitting smoking.

Lastly, remember to connect with loved ones (safely). Withall the great technology these days, you should still stay in touch with your friends and family. 

6) Optimise existing Medical Conditions

It is important to maintain your general health. This is especially so if you have an underlying chronic condition which is associated with more severe cases of COVID-19, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, a lung condition such as asthma or COPD (emphysema), kidney or liver disease, or you have had cancer, especially if you are currently undergoing treatment.

Ensuring that we can manage these conditions optimally is important both for long term control and may help if you do develop COVID-19 in the coming months. As of late March, we are able to do general health checks, mental health care plans and reviews, chronic disease management plans as well as general appointments via telehealth, so looking after these conditions does not for the most part mean you need to leave your home.

Feeling unwell? Here’s what you should do.

If you have travelled overseas to ANY country in the past 14 DAYS 

OR 

are unwell with fever, cold/flu or respiratory symptoms, please DO NOT BOOK ONLINE. Instead, PHONE reception.

Please note that only patients fulfilling Department criteria may be tested for Covid19.

Precautions when arriving at the clinic

If, after calling ahead, you are given an appointment with your GP (again, this can only be done via reception in the above circumstances), please DO NOT ENTER the clinic on arrival, but wait INSIDE your car in the carpark and CALL us to let us know you are here.

Returned travellers

If you have travelled overseas, please isolate yourself at home for at least 14 days.

Practice good personal hygiene and social isolation, and follow the Victorian Government’s guidelines for social distancing, hand hygiene and other measures to slow the spread of the virus (available here). 

Getting tested for COVID-19

Dedicated Covid-19 testing clinics are at major hospitals including MMC Clayton, Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospital (call pre-arrival (03) 9076 2000).

Alternatively, call the national hotline on 1800 020 080, the Victoria Health Department on 1800 675 398 or see the Victorian COVID-19 website.

New Telehealth Services

Many GPs are now introducing telehealth services. This is where you liaise with your doctor via platforms such as Skype, Zoom or mobile phone. To find out more, please call our clinic. Please take care and try to remain positive. It’s a challenging time, but support is available.

And Finally:

Everyone is adjusting to a new way of life for the next few weeks to months, and most people have many challenges they are facing along the way. Please take care and try to remain positive – remember that this time will pass. Below is a list of websites which can help support your mental health. If you feel you are struggling please make an appointment – there is a lot we can do to help you.

Head to Health COVID section: It talks about maintaining good mental health, how to access support, resources for parents and protecting our elderly whilst staying connected, with many links to helpful sites.

https://headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support/covid-1

Beyond Blue “Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak” has excellent advice and a number for short term phone counselling support which is available 24 hours a day.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

The ‘Smiling Mind’ program, which is a way of practicing mindfulness skills, is available as a phone app, has a mindfulness program specifically designed for people who are isolating at home called ‘Thrive Inside’, along with an article explaining how it could be helpful.

https://www.smilingmind.com.au/thrive-inside

https://blog.smilingmind.com.au/how-mindfulness-can-help-during-coronavirus

Additional Resources:

Live number of cases in Victoria: available here

Advice about how to protect yourself: WHO