A Maleny doctor says the hinterland community has at least one confirmed case of coronavirus.
A Maleny doctor says the hinterland community has at least one confirmed case of coronavirus.

‘Silent wildfire’: GP’s warning as coronavirus spreads

A MALENY doctor is one of seven in precautionary self-quarantine after potentially being exposed to a 38-year-old woman who tested positive for coronavirus in Gympie.

Dr Jocelyn Eggins of Ochre Health Maleny and Montville has isolated herself to prevent any potential spread of the illness, despite not showing any symptoms.

Queensland Health confirmed the seven people in self-quarantine had come into contact with the woman, who is in a stable condition at Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The woman, believed to be a Maleny resident, had recently travelled from London through Dubai.

A spokeswoman said contract tracing was continuing through the Gympie region, including Maleny, and authorities would notify the community if more public health alerts were required.

Only people who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case for more than 15 minutes or who have shared an enclosed space are considered as a close contact.

GP and medical co-ordinator at OCHRE Health Maleny and Montville, Dr Jocelyn Eggins, is urging the public to be extra cautious as coronavirus spreads.
GP and medical co-ordinator at OCHRE Health Maleny and Montville, Dr Jocelyn Eggins, is urging the public to be extra cautious as coronavirus spreads.

Dr Eggins has urged residents to "do the right thing" and take all available precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"There's going to be a lot more cases than if we take some precautions and start washing hands properly and covering your nose and mouth," she said.

"All we can do is protect ourselves and our loved ones by being sensible and doing the right thing."

She said coronavirus was "more deadly than a bushfire" as it couldn't be seen, smelt or heard.

"This is a very silent, creeping wildfire," she said.

"It's two weeks of filtering through the community quietly until people start getting sick."

Dr Eggins said COVID-19 spread through droplets in the air, which could easily be breathed in or transmitted through direct contact.

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She said people should protect their eyes, nose and mouth and wash their hands regularly to ensure they had the best chance of not being infected.

She also said people should talk to their GP over the phone or through video chat to avoid entering public places while infected.

"The worst place for anyone who's vulnerable … is a doctor's surgery or hospital where everyone is sick," she said.

Dr Eggins also called for changes to Medicare so patients could claim a rebate for remote consultations.

"At the moment we're going to end up working for nothing or people will have to pay for those sorts of consultations," she said.

The Queensland Health spokeswoman said residents should not be concerned about coronavirus, but should stay aware and informed.

Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH or visit health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.



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