COVID-19 update – 13 January 2021
13 January 2021
Stay vigilant and encourage testing for COVID-19
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has again emphasised the importance of testing people with even the very mildest symptoms of COVID-19. While testing rates have been relatively high in recent weeks, we need to continue to encourage testing and remain on high alert. Clinically it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a mild case of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Testing should be repeated every time a new episode of symptoms occurs.
Vigilance about infection control remains key:
- minimise exposure to people with respiratory infection by judicious screening and triage,
- make appropriate use of telehealth,
- maintain good hygiene practice and appropriate use of PPE
See latest advice from NSW Health on environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities here.
New strains of COVID-19: implications for general practice
There are now new strains of COVID-19 (UK B.1.1.7 and South Africa 501.V2). These strains are more contagious and can result in large numbers of people being infected quickly. General practice must remain vigilant and ensure their patients and staff are protected and that all steps are taken to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 and these new strains.
The following four strategies should be considered by general practice.
- Review your triage processes – ensure reception staff triage script is up to date and any new staff are upskilled -confirm waiting room set up conforms to current mandated social distancing requirements and all reading material, toys and booklets are removed and check all COVID-19 alerts from NSW Health daily, via the CESPHN Coronavirus
- Promote telehealth within your practice, wherever safe, possible, and practical.
- Support the use of masks – they should ideally be worn by any person entering a general practice.
- New information on cleaning and disinfecting please go to Infection control for the latest update. Ensure reception staff routinely clean high touch points every hour. This means in the event of a COVID case practices only have a one-hour window of contact tracing to action. GPs should be wiping down high touch points between every patient that enters their consult room.
CESPHN supports the wearing of masks in general practice and the uptake of NSW QR codes in general practice, although they are not mandatory. CESPHN have a Mask online ordering system for practices in our region. These new strains of COVID have the potential to spread quickly in our community and it is important for general practices to remain vigilant and take the opportunity to review their existing COVID-19 procedures. Please email CESPHN at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further support.
RACGP NSW Health COVID-19 update webinar
Monday 18 January 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Register here: https://racgp.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5NuveeCWTbykUg8rvCD6CA
COVID-19 hotspots in our region
Suburbs in the Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Area including Ashbury, Belfield, Campsie, Canterbury, Clemton Park, Croydon Park, Earlwood and Hurlstone Park have been identified as areas for increased testing.
Keep checking the NSW Health website for COVID-19 case locations as these are constantly changing. The following locations within the region are included on the list:
Ashfield Bunnings Ashfield, Monday 28 December 2020
Ashfield Coles Ashfield, Wednesday 6 January 2021
Ashfield Michel’s Patisserie, Ashfield Mall, Wednesday 6 January 2021
Bardwell Park Earlwood Bardwell Park RSL Monday 28 December 2020
Campsie Cincotta Discount Chemist Campsie Monday 28 December 2020
Campsie Big W Campsie Sunday 3 January 2021
Campsie Campsie Medical and Dental Centre Friday 8 January 2021
Campsie Campsie Super French Saturday 2 January 2021
Campsie Chemist Warehouse Campsie Friday 8 January 2021
Campsie Hills Campsie Hills Seafood Shop Friday 8 January 2021
Haberfield Australian Motor Traders 29 December 2020
Haberfield Clark Rubber Haberfield Monday 28 December 2020
Hurlstone Park Australia Post Hurlstone Park Tuesday 5 January 2021
Hurlstone Park CK Convenience Monday 4 January 2021
Kogarah Hariri Chickens Thursday 31 December 2021
Lakemba Lakemba Pizza Thursday 7 January 2021
Marrickville Thai Hung Supermarket Thursday 31 December 2020
Pagewood Woolworths – Eastgardens Shopping Centre Friday 1 January 2020, Wednesday 30 December 2020
Punchbowl Officeworks Punchbowl Monday 21 December 2020, Tuesday 29 December 2020
Sydney Culture Kings Monday 28 December 2020
COVID-19 near me – interactive map
If you want to check locations visited by COVID-19 cases near you the following website offers a helpful interactive map.
What to expect if you’re called by a contact tracer
If you have been in the same venue or location as someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you may receive a call from a NSW Health contact tracer.
The phone call will come from a private number, so please answer the phone.
A free interpreter is available if required. For more information see here.
Links to latest NSW Health advice to residential aged care facilities and home care service providers
The advice for Residential Aged Care facilities and Home Care Service providers was updated on 8 January 2021. See links to latest information below:
COVID-19 restriction checker
Healthdirect has produced a helpful COVID-19 restriction checker that helps you stay up to date with the ever-changing rules in each state or Territory. See here for the link: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid19-restriction-checker
Answering questions about the COVID vaccine
When it comes to vaccines, there are always going to be some people who are worried about its safety and effectiveness. Here are some key points to support discussions about the vaccine:
- A COVID -19 vaccine is the best way to protect the Australian community
- The goal is early access to and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for all Australians
- Rigorous regulatory procedures in Australia ensure that vaccine candidates are effective and safe for use
- As doses become available they will be provided to high-risk groups first
- As more doses become available, as many Australians as possible will be encouraged to get vaccinated