COVID-19 Update

We understand these are extraordinary times and whilst we are all doing our part in curbing this pandemic in our communities, please know that all our trained staff and consulting practitioners at The Madison Medical Practice are here for you and your families in this time of need.

As a team we have your health as our primary focus, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have adopted many strategies to prevent our Practices being affected, you will note we have a social distancing line at reception, and respectful ask that you abide by this and stand behind the line, be honest when reception ask you questions relating to COVID-19, we are here to help not mistreat or discriminate you in any way. We just want to triage the best way possible.

It is important for those who have traveled in the last 14 days, has been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and has cold/fever flu like symptoms – you need to self-isolate, NOT PRESENT TO THE PRACTICE BUT CALL the closest Madison Medical Practice to you or call the National COVID19 Hotline on 1800 020 080

As the governments release new information daily, in which can be confusing we thought it prudent to provide some helpful information, to provide context and assist your understanding of COVID-19 and the options available to you.

Our staff are working diligently to screen all potential or high risk COVID-19 cases, to ensure we can still medically service patients who require other treatments, at all our Practices. So please feel rest assured that we are isolating or triaging people appropriately.

It is also important to know that you will see some staff, wearing appropriate health and safety clothing from, googles, masks, gowns when you are seen by our team – this will be the new norm now and whilst it is confronting for some, its purely precaution and good health safety for all.

So please understand that whilst you may be asked upon presenting each Practice– “if you have traveled in the last 14 days”, or “been in contact with a known COVID-19 case” or “have a fever/cough cold”, we are doing this to prevent – minimise contact at our Practices and to triage appropriately.

The Government has been proactive and over recent days have allowed our GP’s and Psychologists to perform telehealth under bulk billing, and if you satisfy the requirements listed, we do offer this service for our Regular Patients – please see below for further information.

 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously found in humans. It was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China where it has caused a large and ongoing outbreak and has since spread to 165 countries and territories. WHO characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Australian confirmed cases have exceeded 560 since 18 March with the majority of these cases identified in NSW.

COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects. Latest data shows the virus aerosol can remain in the air in an enclosed area for up to 3 hours and on surfaces for days.

The best ways to prevent transmission of this virus include:

  • Regularly clean hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub for 20 seconds
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay at home if you are sick or unwell
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces each day
  • Practise social distancing: stop handshakes/hugging/kissing as a greeting, avoid crowds if possible, avoid small gatherings in enclosed spaces, keep a distance of 1.5m between people, avoid visiting vulnerable people (aged care facilities, infants and people with compromised immune systems), use public transport in off-peak periods, do not travel overseas and reconsider interstate travel plans.

Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 develop on an average 5-6 days after infection and the incubation period ranges from 1 – 14 days.

Common symptoms Less common symptoms
Fever Joint pain
Dry cough Chills
Fatigue Nausea or vomiting
Shortness of breath Runny nose
Sore throat Diarrhoea
Headache Red eyes

 

High risk groups

COVID-19 and the “flu” can cause similar symptoms and are spread the same way but there are important differences between the two. The flu typically kills 0.1% of those infected but COVID-19 kills up to 3% of infected patients. In particular, those above 60 years old and those with underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer have the highest chance of dying from the infection. However it is also important to note around 80% of confirmed COVID-19 cases have mild disease and recover. Interestingly, infection in children appears to be relatively rare and mild with no deaths reported under 10 years old. Pregnant women also don’t appear to be at higher risk of severe disease and there is no current evidence to suggest increased risk of miscarriage or harm to the baby. Unlike the flu though, this is a new virus and there is no “herd immunity” against it and a vaccine is likely 12-18 months away.  With flu season coming up, we urge everyone to get the flu vaccination to reduce another disease burden on the healthcare system.

 

Who can get testing and where?

COVID-19 testing is performed if you meet the criteria (this may change over time):

  1. Travellers from overseaswith onset of respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of return
  2. Close contactsof confirmed COVID-19 cases with respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of last contact
  3. Healthcare workerswith recent onset of respiratory symptoms and fever irrespective of travel history
  4. Patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia and there is no clear cause

 

If you meet the above criteria, wear a mask and attend a nearest COVID-19 clinic and self-quarantine until results come back.

You will not be tested if you have no symptoms. If in doubt, call the COVID-19 hotline 1800 020 080.

Clinic locations can be found on this link: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-clinics.aspx

Our closest COVID-19 clinics are:

Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Palmerston Rd Hornsby 2077. 10am- 8pm 7days
Mona Vale Hospital, Coronation St Mona Vale NSW 2103. 10am – 6pm 7days
Royal North Shore Hospital, Reserve Rd St Leonards NSW 2065. 8am – 10pm 7 days
Ryde Hospital, Denistone Road Eastwood NSW 2122. 10am – 8pm 7days

 

How do I see my GP for medical concerns during this pandemic?

At the Madison Medical Practice our priority is to protect your health and safety, therefore we have put in place strict triage protocols to ensure all patients are protected without compromising quality healthcare. Doctors are taking BOOKED PATIENTS ONLY and will NOT ACCEPT ANY WALK-INS to reduce wait time.

The following patients SHOULD NOT physically attend our practice:
– Returned overseas travellers within last 14 days
– Close or casual contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case within last 14 days
– Any other high risk suspect case of COVID-19

If you don’t fit the above categories but have respiratory symptoms or fever, you may still attend our clinic but please call our receptionist to book  so we can put you in an isolated waiting area when you arrive. It is mandatory that you please attend with a mask.

Those who cannot physically attend our practice maybe be eligible for bulk-billed Telehealth consults over the phone with a doctor. You must be a regular patient of the practice and have attended in the last 12 months. Please check eligibility below and book this with our reception or go to our website and book online.

Telehealth eligibilities:

  • People in self-quarantine according to national guidelines
  • People who meet current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19
  • People aged over 70
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50
  • People with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
  • People who are pregnant
  • Parents with children < 12 months

Please see some helpful resources that you may find of interest.

Resources:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19#testing

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/infectious/alerts/pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx#1-2

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/infectious/factsheets/pages/social-distancing.aspx#slow

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-update.aspx

https://abcnews.go.com/health/covid19-days-surfaces-experiment-findings/story?id=69569397

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/covid-19-national-health-plan-primary-care-bulk-billed-mbs-telehealth-services_0.pdf