COVID 19 Message from Dr Wendy Bridges
There is already lots of information out there about the new coronavirus called COVID-19. Here at Blackbutt Doctors we are doing our best to understand the facts and to find ways to safely care for all our patients and staff.
It is likely that the virus will eventually spread in our community. Most people will only have a mild illness and will be able to care for themselves at home. Some people will become very unwell and need medical care in hospital. There is no specific treatment for this virus.
At the same time, people will still be experiencing all the usual illness and medical problems. It is likely that our doctors, nurses and other staff may also become sick or have to care for their own families at some stage. We are taking steps now to try to slow the spread of this virus and keep people safe.
What everyone can do – start to practice simple things to protect yourself and others
- Wash hands with soap or use antibacterial hand gel regularly
- Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow not your hands
- Stay home if you feel unwell with mild symptoms such as headache or runny nose
- Avoid travel if you have a fever or cough
- Follow the advice on self- isolation if you have travelled to an increased risk country
Some people will have risk factors for becoming seriously unwell with COVID 19 – some examples are age over 70, having a reduced immune system, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or lung problems. If you think you are at increased risk you might want to start avoiding large gatherings of people, and stay away from people who are unwell.
What we are doing – telephone consultations and isolation
- If you become unwell with a fever, cough or shortness of breath
- or if you have travelled from or through a country with an increased risk of coronavirus
- or if you think you might need to be tested for coronavirus
Please do not come to the surgery. Please book a telephone consultation online through our app. Select “General Practitioner” and then appointment type “Covid-19 Telehealth”. You will need to pay the $70 consult fee at the time of booking. Unfortunately, there is no Medicare rebate available for this service. The GP will then phone you as close to your appointment time as possible. Please have your phone on and be ready to have your consultation. If the GP decides you need to be seen at the surgery, or have testing, they can arrange that over the phone. At the moment, these consultations are only available for our existing patients, are only bookable online and are only for issues related to COVID-19.
We will be asking everyone who comes to the surgery questions about travel, symptoms and coronavirus. If we think you might be at risk of having coronavirus, we will need to keep you away from other people. We only have one isolation room at the surgery. So, we may have to ask you to wait in your vehicle or at home rather than in the waiting room, and the doctor or nurse will phone you there.
We have never had to do this before, so we are learning and adapting along the way. Thank you for your patience and for working with us as we try to slow down the spread of this virus.