Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

All information provided here is current on the 11/05/2021 but this may change
Click here for information about our COVID-19 vaccine clinic
Click here for current daily updates from the Department of Health

Victoria Harbour 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 healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whether you are worried about symptoms of COVID-19 or any other type of health problem, our GPs are still on hand to answer your questions and provide care.  We encourage you to continue consulting your regular GP for any health matter.  Safe in-person (face-to-face) consultations or Telehealth appointments are available.   Dorevitch Pathology collection services remain open within our facility.

Our COVIDSafe Plan & Entry Screening:

As part of our COVIDSafe Plan routine screening questions will be asked when you book or attend an appointment.  Pre-entry screening is also being carried out.  Please read door signage and follow instructions.  You will always be informed of your options when you book or attend an appointment.

We remain open for your health needs but as conditions of entry, all patients and visitors must:

  • wear a face mask
  • scan our location specific QR code to assist with contact tracing if required

Outbreak Alerts:

If YOU or a CLOSE CONTACT have been in, visited or travelled through a current outbreak, red-zone, orange-zone or other public exposure site you are NOT PERMITTED ENTRY into our medical centre.  FIRST call reception on tel (03) 9629 1414 to organise a Telehealth consultation with one of our GPs.  

Click here for current Victorian COVID-19 public exposure site and outbreak information.

Click here to view an interactive map with current national venue exposure sites.

Click here to find out about the Victorian Travel Permit System.

Booking an Appointment:

You can make an appointment  online or call reception during business hours on tel (03) 9629 1414.  Before booking or attending an appointment you MUST CALL and ADVISE us if you have symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19.  This includes:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • shortness of breath
  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste
  • close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 OR awaiting test results
  • any interstate or international travel OR been in contact with any returned traveller in the last 14 days

If you have symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19 OR if you have fever or flu-like respiratory symptoms you will FIRST be offered a Telehealth phone consultation with one of our GPs.  During this phone consultation our GP will assess and provide you with further advice.  This advice may be to not attend our medical centre but to manage your symptoms at home OR attend a COVID-19 testing siteIf you need urgent medical care always call Emergency 000 (Triple Zero).

Telehealth:

Click here for information about our Telehealth service.

COVID-19 Testing:

Click here for a list of COVID-19 assessment and testing centres in Victoria.  Our medical centre is unable to offer routine COVID-19 testing due to a limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).  If you think you have COVID-19 or you have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 first make a Telehealth phone appointment with one of our GPs to find out how you should get tested.  You can also call the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline on tel 1800 675 398 which operates 24/7.

Both lines operate 24/7 and will connect you to a registered nurse if needed. 

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.

Click here for a list of COVID-19 assessment and testing centres in Victoria.

Click here to find out more about The Call-to-Test service for vulnerable Victorians.  This service will enable some of our most vulnerable to get tested for COVID-19 at home with a qualified health clinician. The service will provide access for people who cannot leave home due to injury, mobility or other eligible reasons.

Click here to find out how to get your test result.

Our medical centre is unable to offer routine COVID-19 testing due to a limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).  The closest COVID-19 public hospital screening clinic to us (no bookings required) is:

If you have a Medicare card there is no fee for the test at a public health facility, mobile testing centre or a GP clinic offering bulk billing pathology.

If you do not have a Medicare card (visitors from overseas, migrant workers and asylum seekers) and you choose to have a test collected at our medical centre Dorevitch Pathology will charge you a fee for the test. However, if you have symptoms, you can receive a free test at any of the following Victorian locations:

  • A Hospital Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic
  • A Community Health Centre Respiratory Assessment Clinic
  • A mobile drive-through clinic in a retail setting
  • A regional walk-through clinic

COVID-19 testing clinics will ask you for a form of identification and contact details.  If you don’t have a Medicare card, please bring one form of identification (eg: driver’s licence, passport, transport concession card or student ID).  The testing clinic does not need to know your visa status.

The test of choice in Australia looks for the COVID-19 virus from a swab which is collected from the back of your throat then nose.  The test usually takes less than a minute.  The swab is then sent to a laboratory.  Test results can take up to 72 hours.  Your doctor or the clinic where you get tested will contact you with your result. 

After your test you must wear a face mask  and GO HOME and self-isolate until you have your test result  If you test positive for COVID-19, whether or not you have symptoms, you need to self-isolate.  You will be contacted by a public health worker for advice on the next steps.

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Click here for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Click here to use the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to see in which phase you will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

You are required to wear a face mask when attending the medical centre.

Click here for updated Department of Health information about wearing face masks in Victoria.

From 6:00pm on Friday 26th March 2021 new statewide restrictions are in effect.

For all adults and children aged 12 years or older in Victoria face masks now must be worn in the following settings:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a taxi or ride share or tour vehicle
  • by visitors to a hospital
  • by visitors to a care facility (while indoors)
  • on flights to/from Victoria
  • at airports

Remember, you must also wear a face mask in the following situations:

  • while experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
  • if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as to seek medical care or to get tested
  • while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as medical care (except as part of a surveillance or other asymptomatic testing program)

It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people, including outdoors.

You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to wear a mask.

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

A face mask must be a cloth mask or a single-use (surgical) mask.  Face shields, bandanas, scarves or loose snoods, loose buffs or loose gaiters on their own are not considered a sufficient face covering.  A face covering must be a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

For children under 12 years of age:

  • Children aged 2 years and younger: must never wear a face mask due to choking/suffocation risk
  • Children aged 3 to 11 years: families should make their own decisions about whether their children should wear a face mask in the required settings

If you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should STAY HOME and call your doctor to find out how to get tested.

For digital resources about COVID-19 and the use of face masks refer to:

Remember, even when wearing a face mask, you should always keep 1.5 meters distance between you and others.

Click here for information about how to access financial support if you are a Victorian worker who is self-isolating or quarantining.

For translated resources to support culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities during COVID-19 refer to these links:

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a new (novel) coronavirus.

It is spread person-to-person from close contact with an infected person or from surfaces contaminated by a person with the infection.  Given COVID-19 is a new disease there is no existing immunity in our community.  This means that COVID-19 can spread widely and quickly.  There is currently no vaccine available in Australia.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.  Most people will suffer only mild symptoms.  Elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions may experience more severe symptoms.

The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Loss or changes in sense of smell or taste
  • Fever
  • Chills or sweats
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose

In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered.

Anybody can get COVID-19 if they have had close contact with an infected person.  Click here to help you better understand your risk of COVID-19 and precautions you need to take based on your personal circumstances.

Click here to find out how to stay safe and well. Remember:

  • Stay home if you are unwell.
  • Wear a face mask as directed by local public health advice.
  • Good hygiene like coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and regular hand washing.
  • Social (physical) distancing like keeping at least 1.5M distance between yourself and other people.
  • If you have a COVID-19 swab test go straight home and stay at home until you have your test results.

You should also follow current restricted activity directions issued by the Victorian Department of Health.

The COVIDSafe app can speed up contacting people exposed to COVID-19.  For information on the COVIDSafe app go to the RACGP Fact Sheet

The Australian Government COVID-19 WhatsApp channel or the Coronavirus Australian app can also help keep you informed on the latest on Australia’s response to COVID-19.

Refer to the following links:

Self-isolation and quarantine means staying at home or in your hotel room for 14 days.  This is to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 to other people.  This means:

  • you do not leave your home or hotel room unless it is for medical care or it is an emergency
  • you do not let visitors in – only people who usually live with you should be in your home
  • you do not go to public places such as supermarkets, shopping centres or parks
  • you do not go to work, childcare, school or university
  • you do not use public transport including taxis or rideshare

Click here for information about how to access financial support if you are a Victorian worker who is self-isolating or quarantining.

Our medical centre is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all patients and staff. 

We continue to remain open but have temporarily changed our service model to better manage your healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As conditions of entry, all patients and visitors must wear a face mask and scan our location specific QR code to assist with contact tracing if required. Click here to download the Victoria Service QR Code app.

Safe in-person (face-to-face) appointments or Telehealth phone consultation are available by appointment.  As part of our COVIDSafe Plan routine screening questions will be asked when you book or attend an appointment.  Pre-entry screening is also being carried out.  Please read door signage and follow instructions.  You must CALL and ADVISE us if you have symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19 before attending the medical centre.  You will always be informed of your options when you book or attend an appointment.

Our already strict infection prevention and infection control procedures have been enhanced with more frequent environmental cleaning and surface disinfection.  Please observe all patient alert signage. 

Aerosol generating procedures eg: spirometry (lung function testing) have been temporarily suspended. 

Other changes you may notice include:

  • Pre-entry screening: Read door signage and follow instructions
  • Hand sanitisation stations: Perform hand hygiene upon entry/exit
  • Reception: Screens are in place to help safeguard you and our team
  • No cash payment: Contactless payment only accepted via EFTPOS
  • Waiting room: Spaced seating. Floor markings. Magazines and toys have been removed
  • Physical distancing: Respect the space around you and keep 1.5M apart from others
  • Face Masks & PPE: All staff will be wearing face masks and other approved PPE when needed

This service is not for emergency care.  For urgent medical care call emergency 000 (Triple Zero) or go to an emergency department at a hospital.

Telehealth phone appointments with our GPs are still available.

You can book a Telehealth phone consultation online or by calling reception team on (03) 9629 1414.

Telehealth was introduced in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This service has now been extended to the 31st March 2021.  Telehealth consultations will continue to help regular patients of this medical centre access non-urgent but essential healthcare from their home.  This will support public health policies to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread.  Refer to this Department of Health Telehealth Fact Sheet or the RACGP Fact Sheet for more information.

Telehealth at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre:

  • 15-minute phone consultations with your GP by appointment
  • Phone calls from your GP may come from a Private Number (No Caller ID)
  • Your GP will call you as close as possible to your Telehealth appointment time
  • Your consent and identity will be confirmed by your GP before your consultation begins
  • Make sure your phone is charged and that you are available to take the call in a quiet and private place
  • Your GP will discuss with you the most appropriate course of care and if a clinical in-person face-to-face appointment at the medical centre is needed

Common conditions appropriate for a Telehealth phone consultation include:

  • COVID-19 related health questions
  • Non-life threatening respiratory illness
  • Referral letters
  • Medical certificates
  • Discussing test results
  • Repeat prescription medication*
  • Repeat pathology investigation requests
  • Minor illness which can be managed at home
  • Routine PrEP and asymptomatic STI screening
  • Mental health consultations including mental health care plans and psychology referrals
  • Management of chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, COPD, blood pressure and heart disease

* This does not include restricted Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 (Controlled Drug) prescription medications and other Drugs of Dependence.  If you are a Medicare or DVA card holder Electronic Prescriptions are now available.

Fees:

Our medical centre charges a co-payment (out of pocket) fee for all Telehealth services.  Telehealth attracts a Medicare rebate only if you’ve had a face-to-face consultation with any of our GPs at our medical centre within the last 12-months.  If you don’t fit this Medicare criteria, a private non-refundable fee will apply.  This means there is no Medicare rebate.  This Medicare rule does not apply to:

  • Infants < 12 months old
  • People who are homeless
  • People who:
    • live in a COVID-19 impacted area, or
    • currently have COVID-19 or are in quarantine, or
    • are self-isolating as a close contact of someone who may have COVID-19

Refer to our Patient Information section on our website for a list of our Telehealth fee schedule.

This fact sheet outlines how you can get your medicine if you are confined to home due to COVID-19.

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is now electronic prescription (ePrescription or eRx) enabled.  If you are registered with Medicare or DVA, your GP will now be able to deliver an electronic prescription to you via email or to your smart phone as a SMS.  You will receive a unique QR barcode known as a “token”.  A “token” is not a legal prescription, but it can be used by an authorised dispensing pharmacy to unlock the legal prescription.  Electronic prescriptions are not mandatory; you still have choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from your GP (but not both).  Electronic prescriptions comply with all relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory privacy, digital security and legislation requirements.  Click here for a RACGP fact sheet about electronic prescriptions.

The Home Medicines Service is available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to COVID-19 in the community. This service supports the use of home medicines delivery options available through pharmacies enabling patients to have their Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescriptions delivered to their home.  For information about the Home Medicines Service click on this fact sheet.

This service has now ceased.

There is currently no public health requirement for a clearance medical certificate to return to work, childcare, school or university.  COVID-19 testing guidelines are set by the Department of Health.  There is no current recommendation to test outside of these guidelines in the community.  Therefore, a definitive clearance medical certificate for COVID-19 cannot be provided for people presenting with non-COVID symptoms.

We encourage employers to keep updated with current local public health guidelines found via the following links:

It is important to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you reside in the north, central or western Melbourne area, free 24/7 professional counselling services are available via CAREinMIND

For urgent help 24/7 call:

If you are experiencing an emergency always call 000.

Click here for a full list of mental health support services listed on our Clinic News.

If you are experiencing family violence or know someone who is experiencing family violence refer to Safe Steps or call 24/7 the family violence response phone line on 1800 015 188.

The Orange Door is a free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care of children.

Read the fact sheet about managing student illness in schools and child care facilities during COVID-19.  It contains information to help schools explain to parents and carers that:

  • if a child is unwell, even with the mildest symptoms, they must stay home
  • if a child has any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, they should be tested
  • a child must stay at home until they are symptom-free, even if their COVID-19 test is negative
  • children do not need a medical clearance certificate before returning to school or child care

Information and considerations specific to people with a disability and people caring for them is available here.  You can also refer to the NDIS.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered at higher risk for COVID-19, making it even more important to get tested – even if there are only mild symptoms.  We encourage you to click on the links to check out the messages encouraging COVID-19 testing for the Victorian Aboriginal community:

Refer to the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) COVID-19 info hub here.

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service is offering cooked meal deliveries to Aboriginal people, especially seniors and elders, who live in the Darebin, Moreland, Hume and Whittlesea local government areas. Click here to register for this service.

A new 24-hour crisis line for Aboriginal Men has been set up to provide extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call the Brother to Brother Hotline 24/7 on 1800 435 799.

You can also refer to the Victorian Department of Health resources here or the Australian Department of Health resources here.

Older people are at greater risk of more serious illness from COVID-19, so it is important for them to take extra steps to protect themselves.  Find more information on support services for your older patients on the Department of Health website.

There is no evidence so far to suggest that people living with HIV, who are on effective anti-retroviral therapies with undetectable viral loads, are at increased risk of getting COVID-19 infection or developing severe disease.  However, as HIV infection can result in suppression of the immune system and other comorbidities, people living with HIV should be considered a higher risk group than the general population.  Older people living with HIV who have pre-existing medical conditions and advanced immunosuppression are likely to be more at risk.  Refer to Thorne Harbour Health and the WHO website.

Information for international travellers arriving in Australia is available here.

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

We encourage you to continue consulting your regular GP for any health matter.  Safe in-person face-to-face consultations are still available.  Refer to the RACGP Expert Advice Matters website for more information.