Coronavirus: The Latest Advice and Information

UPDATED: 30/03/20 @ 1000

Your best source of accurate and up-to-date information about Coronavirus in Victoria is the Dept. of Health and Human Services Coronavirus webpage: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

We’ll relay you pertinent information from DHHS as it becomes available.


IMPORTANT UPDATES FROM BRHS

  • New limits on visitors to hospital and Maddocks Gardens.
  • Need to be tested? Read this first.
  • Limits on prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

LIMITS ON VISITING

From now on, only 2 visitors per day, per hospital patient will be allowed. Only immediate family members will be able to visit. Only 1 visitor will be allowed with a patient, at a time.

  • Visits will be limited to a maximum of one hour, per visitor.
  • Visitors will only be allowed on the wards between 2 – 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekends.
  • All visitors must check in at the nurses station on the ward.

We do understand this will be difficult for those of you who have family members and loved ones in the hospital. We encourage you to stay in touch with them by phone or video call.

This is not a decision we are taking lightly, and appreciate fully what this will mean to some families. In special circumstances, please call the Nurse Unit Manager looking after your loved-one to discuss visiting arrangements.

Visitors and guests will not be permitted in the Dialysis and Oncology Units.

Existing restrictions are in place for Maddocks Gardens. Here’s more info about that.

All visitors to any areas of the hospital will be screened.

  1. Have you travelled overseas in the last 14 days?
  2. Have you had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  3. Do you have an illness, especially a fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms?

If you answer YES to Questions 1 or 2:

You must not enter the hospital. You are required to self-isolate. Go home, and call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398.

If you answer YES to Question 3:

Seek medical assessment by calling your GP or the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398. If you are urgently unwell, present to the Emergency Dept.


NEED TO BE TESTED? READ THIS FIRST.

There are strict guidelines around who we can test for Coronavirus, and who we can’t.

Click here to learn more about those guidelines, and what you should to do if you do need to be tested.


LIMITS ON MEDICINES

Pharmacists have been told by deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly to dispense only one month’s worth of prescription medicines and limit the purchase of some over-the-counter products.

Over-the-counter medicines, like Ventolin and paracetamol, will be limited to one unit per person.

Pharmacists will be required to keep children’s paracetamol behind the counter.

If you have any questions about your prescriptions at BRHS, call our Pharmacy on 5150 3485


PLAY YOUR PART IN REDUCING THE SPREAD

We appreciate the anxiety and concern that COVID-19 is causing in this community. It is our community, too.

Every individual has a big role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Wash your hands regularly. If you need to cough or sneeze cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow.

If you are ill, stay at home.

Here’s a checklist of the things you can do to reduce your risk of COVID-19.

DO YOU NEED TO VISIT THE HOSPITAL?

We ask that you limit nonessential visits to the hospital. Consider a phone call instead of a visit. If you do need to visit, a maximum of two guests are permitted.

Reducing the number of people coming and going through the hospital helps us reduce the risk of transmission and helps us protect patients and the community.

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 challenging and we understand each family’s situation is different. For exceptional circumstances we encourage you to speak to your family member’s nursing team for further advice.

If you do come to the hospital for whatever reason, please perform proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and listen to and obey direction from staff.


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Key information from the Victorian Dept. of Health and Human Services:

  • Travellers returning from any country outside Australia are now considered at risk of COVID-19, and must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • For the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is most likely required. Close personal contact is at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than 2 hours in the same room. But visitors to locations where cases have been should be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you are ill, stay at home.
  • Follow these guidelines to reduce your risk of Coronavirus.
  • Extensive testing has shown that people who have passed through places where there was a confirmed case, known as casual contacts, have an extremely low risk of transmission.
  • The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398. Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume.
  • Call ahead. If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, please call ahead before getting tested. Ring the COVID-19 24-hour hotline 1800 675 398, or your local GP or emergency department, to arrange for testing and appropriate care. You can call BRHS at (03) 5150 3333.
  • Please consider limiting visits to the hospital.

CORONAVIRUS: THE BASICS

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.

COVID-19 is a new virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness.

The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Wondering if you need to get tested for Coronavirus?

Download DHHS’ self-assessment flowchart to find out.

How is coronavirus spread?

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. 

What is close contact?

Close contact means greater than 15 minutes face-to-face or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.

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.

Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?

If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people.

If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for those who need them.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Many people who contract COVID–19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

The most common coronavirus symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness.

What if I have travelled overseas?

All travellers returning from any country outside Australia are now considered at risk of COVID-19, and must self-isolate for 14 days.

If you have returned from international travel in the last 14 days and begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or respiratory illness, you should call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice.

The elderly and people with pre-existing conditions

Many people will suffer only mild symptoms, however, 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. Read the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) factsheet for people aged over 65 years (Word) for more information.


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