COVID-19 measures taken in FWLHD facilities - Statement
In line with NSW Health plans, the Far West LHD is preparing its facilities across the District to respond appropriately to COVID-19 for the safety of patients, visitors and staff. All people are asked to please call Healthdirect 1800 022 222 for advice regarding COVID-19 and to call ahead before attending any of the LHD facilities or GP practices.
In the facilities at Tibooburra, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Menindee, Ivanhoe and Balranald, a designated space separate from the main emergency department, has been established where people with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can be safely screened. Anyone with severe symptoms is asked to call the facility ahead before attending the Emergency Department for screening and assessment and they may be transferred to a facility providing a higher level of care.
Community members in Dareton and Wentworth with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their local GP's for screening and testing. People with severe symptoms are advised to present to Mildura Base Hospital for screening, assessment and treatment.
People who meet the criteria for testing for COVID-19 will be tested at these facilities (see below for definition), otherwise consult your family doctor in the first instance.
Those who are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus are people who have travelled overseas recently or had contact with a known confirmed case of the coronavirus. If you have travelled to certain higher risk countries check the Australian Government Department of Health site for self-isolation requirements.
Far West LHD is taking a coordinated approach to COVID-19 which includes liaising with local GPs, to follow guidelines NSW health has implemented to make sure people are appropriately counselled and screened (if they are symptomatic and fit the case definition), and isolated and appropriately treated if required.
Between NSW Health, Far West LHD and GPs, partner health organisations, local Nursing Homes and Primary Health Network we are working together on a co-ordinated approach to ensure that people are well informed, and have available options for screening and testing. This is also to ensure people have access to reliable, consistent and accurate and up to date information at all times.
For everyone, the best way to protect yourself and each other is the same as you would against any respiratory infection. Practice good hygiene:
Clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow.
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Stay home if you are sick.
People can also practice social distancing, which aims to generally reduce potential for transmission. While practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare - social distancing includes:
- avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
- avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
- attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.
- avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
- avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment
The public are encouraged to continue to monitor the NSW Health website for updated health information. This includes the Clinical Excellence Commission's updated COVID-19 infection control guidelines.
Testing for COVID-19 in NSW is recommended for:
- Travelers from overseas with onset of respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of return
- Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases with respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of last contact
- Healthcare workers with recent onset of respiratory symptoms AND fever irrespective of travel history. Healthcare workers who have fever OR respiratory symptoms should be assessed for testing on a case by case basis
- Patients admitted to hospital with acute respiratory illness or unexplained fever
- Patients with acute respiratory illness or fever in high risk settings such as hospitals, aged care facilities, residential care facilities, boarding schools, cruise ships
- Patients with acute respiratory illness or fever presenting with reported links to settings where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred
- Patients with unexplained respiratory symptoms or fever in Aboriginal rural and remote communities