The Australian Government has activated it’s Emergency Response Plan to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). A pandemic has not been declared at this stage, but there is a high probability that the COVID-19 will spread and impact more Victorians.
Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) is prepared in case the COVID-19 spreads to Wangaratta and if someone presents to our health service that may be suspected of having COVID-19.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is asking health professionals across the sector to watch out for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in patients who may have travelled to areas affected by the outbreak. These include;
- High risk areas – Mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea
- Moderate risk areas – Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus.
How do I protect myself?
The easiest way to protect yourself and your family is to wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing. If you’ve been in mainland China or Iran in the past 14 days or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you’re advised to stay at home, and avoid public places.
If you are returning from mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea, and you work as a healthcare worker or as a residential aged care worker, you should not attend your regular work for 14 days.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms reported include:
- Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
- Sore throat
- Fatigue or tiredness
If you have travelled to any of these at risk countries and begin to feel unwell – develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or respiratory illness – call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
If you are not in any of the risk groups above, you should go about your daily life and travel and work or study as normal.
Northeast Wangaratta has established an Emergency Management Team – focused on the COVID-19, and meets daily and reviews numbers of patients presenting through our Emergency Department. To date, there have been no COVID-19 cases detected through our Emergency Department, but we remain in a state of heightened awareness.
More information can be found at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19