Coronavirus Update

If you feel unwell and think you have COVID-19 first call the Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or 1800 020 080 to discuss your symptoms and risk of COVID-19.  For translating or interpreting call 131 450.  For urgent medical care call Emergency 000 (triple zero).

Use this tool to help you better understand your risk of COVID-19 and precautions you need to take based on your personal circumstances. Also refer to the current Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is an evolving international health concern. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. It is most likely spread from person-to-person via respiratory droplet and surface contact transmission. Good hygiene can prevent infection. There is currently no vaccine available. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that COVID-19 is a pandemic. A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria due to the serious risk to public health caused by COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, sore throat and fatigue.  It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

What are the risk factors of Coronavirus?

Risk factors of COVID-19 infection include recent international travel or contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the 14 days before getting sick.

How can I protect myself from getting Coronavirus?

To minimise the risk of being infected by COVID-19 you should follow the standard precautions advised by the Victorian Department of Health and the Australian Government Department of Health.  This is the best source of advice on how to keep yourself safe and will be updated daily.

What if I am patient at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre?

Our medical centre is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all patients and staff.  We are here to help and have temporarily changed our service model to better manage your health needs during this difficult time.  Online bookings may be disabled.  Call reception on (03) 9629 1414 for all enquiries.

Pre-screening questions will now be asked when you book or attend an appointment.  You will be informed of your options when you make an appointment.

*Telehealth appointments are now also available for eligible patients.

 

Booking an appointment:

CALL BEFORE attending our medical centre, especially if you:

  • have a fever OR
  • have respiratory symptoms (eg: cough, sore throat or shortness of breath) with or without fever OR
  • have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 OR
  • have been in close contact with someone who is awaiting results to confirm COVID-19 OR
  • have had international travel in the last 14 days OR
  • have been in close contact with a returned international traveller in the last 14 days

When you call, we will provide you with further advice.  This advice may be to not attend our medical centre but to manage your symptoms at home OR to attend one of the COVID-19 screening clinics for assessment and testing.  You may also be offered a *Telehealth appointment.

 

*Telehealth consultations:

Telehealth services due to the current COVID-19 pandemic are now available under **Medicare for registered patients at this medical centre for the following consultations:

  • our patients who are in isolation or quarantine due to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
  • our patients aged over 70
  • our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients aged over 50
  • our patients with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
  • our patients who are parents with a child under 12 months
  • our patients who are pregnant

** This service is only for registered patients who have had a face-to-face consultation at this medical centre within the past 12-months.  If you are registered with Medicare this service will be Bulk-Billed.

If you do not have Medicare or meet the above criteria as determined by one our GPs you can still have a Telehealth consultation but a pre-payment private fee will apply.

To book a Telehealth consultation call reception on (03) 9629 1414 to discuss your eligibility.

 

What if you need COVID-19 testing?

Due to a limited supply of personal protective equipment including surgical marks our medical centre is currently unable to offer routine COVID-19 screening and testing.  The closest COVID-19 screening clinic to us is:

Present via the Emergency Department where you will be assessed and triaged accordingly. You do not need to call before you attend. Wear a mask if you have one available.

 A full list of COVID-19 screening clinics in Victoria can be found here.

 

What does home isolation (self-quarantine) mean?

Self-quarantine in your home (or other appropriate location) means you should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university or use public transport including taxis or rideshare.  Information on self-quarantine (home isolation) is available here.

 

Clearance medical certificates

There is currently no public health requirement for a clearance medical certificate to return to work, school or university.  COVID-19 testing guidelines are set by the Department of Health.  This is no current recommendation to test outside of these guidelines in the community.  Therefore, a definite clearance medical certificate for COVID-19 cannot be provided for people presenting with non COVID-19 viral respiratory symptoms.  For those who present with these symptoms, the current recommendation is to stay home until your symptoms fully resolve.  We encourage employers to keep updated with current local public health guidelines found here.

 

Information for health care workers

Any healthcare worker or residential aged care worker who returned from overseas travel prior to midnight on Sunday 15 March 2020 and travelled to mainland China, South Korea, Iran or Italy must not attend work for a period of fourteen (14) days from the date of their return to Australia. From midnight 15 March 2020, any healthcare worker or residential aged care worker arriving or returning from any overseas destination must self-quarantine (self-isolate) for a period of fourteen (14) days. Healthcare workers who have been overseas in the past 14 days and are unwell with a compatible illness should not attend work and seek appropriate medical care. All unwell healthcare workers should consider being tested for COVID-19.

 

Information for travellers arriving in Australia

ALL RETURNED TRAVELLERS FROM OVERSEAS MUST SELF ISOLATE FOR 14 DAYS

Information for international travellers arriving in Australia is available here.

 

Information if you are considering travelling

All Australians are now advised not to travel overseas at this time regardless of destination, age or health. Refer to the Smart Traveller website.

 

International updates:

Available via the WHO website. The WHO website now includes a Myth Busters section which may assist in addressing misinformation about COVID-19.

All information provided here is current from the 24/03/2020 but this may change given the rapidly evolving situation. We will endeavour to update information on a regular basis. The team at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre thank you for your understanding during this public health emergency.