Fever clinic activated as businesses make COVID-19 plans
A “FEVER clinic” has been activated at Gympie Hospital and Gympie businesses and vulnerable individuals have started putting in place their plans should the cornovirus outbreak become a pandemic.
As a Nambour person became the 18th Queenslander to test positive to novel coronavirus yesterday, shutting down the Nambour library, News Corp moved to ensure all staff at The Gympie Times were equipped in the event they should need to work from home, at least one prominent Gympie businessman asked on social media if it was too soon to make his own plans, and one election candidate said he was seriously considering going into self-isolation from early next week to protect his vulnerable partner from the virus.
The candidate, who has been doorknocking in his division, has also made the call to stop doing that for fear of putting at risk some of the elderly residents.
A “fever clinic” has been activated at all Sunshine Coast Health District hospitals in response to a potential coronavirus pandemic, with nurses stationed inside emergency department entrances to pre-triage patients.
Queensland Health advised a “virtual clinic” was also available with referral from a general practitioner, 13 HEALTH, public health unit or another healthcare provider.
A spokeswoman confirmed the pop-up clinics had been established at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Nambour General Hospital, Caloundra Health Service’s Minor Injury and Illness Clinic and the Gympie Hospital.
Nurses will direct patients straight to clinics as necessary, in a bid to seperate them from waiting rooms and take pressure off GP clinics and hospital emergency departments to treat more severe cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The initiative comes as the Federal Government announces a new $2.4 billion package designed to help protect Australians against coronavirus, with $205 million set aside for pop-up respiratory clinics as governments across Austrlaia and the world respond to the health crisis.
Meanwhile, Gympie regoin families with children studying at at Queensland University learned that a person who had attended lectures there last Thursday and Friday, had tested positive to COVID-19.
The UQ student services team was contacting anyone believed to be in close contact with the infected student who recently returned from Europe.
Close contact is defined as face-to-face contact for a period over 15 minutes, or those who have shared an enclosed space for more than two hours.
A Sunshine Coast state school has told parents to prepare for coronavirus closures and has urged them to keep children at home if they’re unwell.
Buderim Mountain State School principal Neil Jenkins, in an email to parents and caregivers, advised the school “is likely” to close if a case is identified. It’s understood this message or a similar version is being sent to most state schools.
So far, four people have been identified to have contracted coronavirus on the Sunshine Coast, including one woman who has been discharged from hospital.
Mr Jenkins said the email was to provide guardians with more information about the approach the school would take.
“The Department of Education and Queensland Health will work closely with us in managing our response and our actions will be taken with community health at the centre of our decision making,” Mr Jenkins wrote.
Queensland Health will usually require potential contacts to complete an online survey to help them assess potential exposure.
Queensland Health has advised symptoms to look for include fever or coughing, sore throat and fatigue or shortness of breath.
While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.
Personal hygiene is the single most important action all of us can take at this time.
Queensland Health advises practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- And if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
Queensland Health said it had all strategies and plans in place to prepare for all COVID-19 scenarios, aligned with their state, interstate and federal counterparts.
“The community can rest assured that all necessary work is going on to best prepare us if novel coronavirus becomes a pandemic,” the spokeswoman said.
“Fever clinics are just one example of this. These clinics are designed to help manage community needs and separate potential cases of COVID-19 from the general waiting room of the emergency department.
“COVID-19 cases and patients needing testing are managed by the hospital and health services.”
She said Queenslanders should not be alarmed about novel coronavirus, but aware and informed.
“Our experienced team of experts have responded well to health emergencies in the past, and we will do it again,” she said.
If you have been overseas in the past 14 days and feel unwell call 13 HEALTH, your GP or local hospital to arrange an assessment.
Calling ahead to the GP surgery or hospital to let them know your symptoms and travel history helps them prepare for your arrival.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has been contacted for comment.