Clinic issues urgent virus warning

Covid Test Station TBW Newsgroup
TESTING STATION: The drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic nestled at the Mount Gambier Hospital site. A GP referral is needed to access this service. A number of patients continue to flow through this testing facility, which opened last week. Pictures: SANDRA MORELLO

A MOUNT Gambier medical clinic has issued an urgent warning amid revelations some people are flouting COVID-19 self-isolating directions from health professionals.

The warning comes as a number of people have visited medical clinics and shopping centres despite being directed to stay at home and self isolate.

Ferrers Medical Clinic has also implored people to be truthful at screening stations if they have been interstate given the potential risk to doctors, health professionals and patients.

The state’s influential Australian Medical Association SA president Dr Chris Moy yesterday also weighed into the issue, warning this behaviour in the Limestone Coast was irresponsible, dangerous and must stop.

The call by the health sector comes as the Federal Government tightens social distancing rules to slow the COVID-19 and people continue to be tested at the drive-through COVID-19 clinic at the Mount Gambier Hospital site.

Ferrers Medical Clinic practice manager Anne Bierwirth warned yesterday the community must be vigilant given the threat of a coronavirus cluster in the city.

“We want to implore the community to take this COVID-19 seriously,” Ms Bierwirth said.

“If you have been told by phone by a GP or the hospital as you await test results to isolate, this means straight home and isolate as per the guidelines.

“Do not be out and about getting supplies or shopping before you go home.”

While the clinic was screening patients before they entered the centre, she revealed worryingly some patients were not complying.

“They are still trying to come into the practice when they have been told to isolate at home,” Ms Bierwirth said.

The clinic’s manager warned all patients at the screening intercom must reveal if they had been interstate.

“It has been very clear from all forms of media about the ramifications of not disclosing travel or contact you may have had – not disclosing information is an offence,” Ms Bierwirth said.

“Screening is done to ensure we all work together to make sure we can halt the spread of the virus.”

Launching a broadside at individuals flouting self-isolation protocols, Dr Moy said he was not only disappointed, but angry people were not following self-isolation protocols.

“This is very serious and it has to stop,” the state medical leader said.

Dr Moy said this type of behaviour was potentially putting a significant amount of people at risk given it could kill people in the Limestone Coast.

“This behaviour is stupid and irresponsible and individuals may become killers of others.”

In particular, he warned fronting up to medical clinics when people needed to be in isolation risked the health of doctors, health professionals and patients inside these centres.

“The community must stick to the program. If someone sees people doing this, then they must tell they are not happy with them.”

He warned one person – who contracted COVID-19 – could pass it on to a wide number of people.

Dr Moy revealed these people could be super-infecters, which could create similar trends such as the cruise-liner The Ruby Princess.

“This would have a ripple affect across the community,” he said.

He revealed there was a possibility an infected person could come into contact with others, who could enter an aged care facility.

“If a person spreads the virus into an aged care facility, it would be like lighting a match in a box of firelighters,” Dr Moy said.

He warned an outbreak in an aged care home could result in 15pc of residents dying.

Dr Moy – who welcomed the Federal Government’s telehealth measures – revealed there were concerns about a shortfall in protective gear for medical professionals.

“People should not be using these items unless required,”said Dr Moy, who explained some people did not need to wear masks to protect themselves while walking outdoors.

The health leader also raised concerns about whether there were adequate resources in regional areas to respond to COVID-19.

“This is a significant concern. We need to ensure country areas are not forgotten.”

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