HAWKINS Medical Clinic has confirmed it has recorded Mount Gambier’s second positive case of coronavirus as the numbers of positive test results climb across the region.
While the region’s first case of the COVID-19 was announced on yesterday, another three confirmed cases – which includes the clinic’s detection – were reported today across the Limestone Coast.
The region’s health authorities did not release the location of the three new cases due to privacy reasons.
South Australia today recorded 27 new cases, which bumped up the overall number of people who have contracted COVID-19 to 197 in the state.
Health officials warn these numbers will continue to rise and the community must practice social distancing and other measures.
Following the four cases reported in the Limestone Coast, new visiting arrangements will be swept in tomorrow morning at all regional hospitals.
Confirming his clinic had detected one of the three cases announced today, Hawkins Medical Clinic practice manager Dale Beatty said the community must be vigilant and follow government protocols given there were now two positive COVID-19 cases in Mount Gambier.
“The patient was appropriately triaged and offered a telephone consultation and subsequently tested in our carpark by the doctor in full personal protective equipment,” Mr Beatty said.
“We are pleased the measures put in place have effectively reduced possible transmission of COVID 19.”
Mr Beatty said the clinic had assembled a transportable triage station at the rear of the medical centre to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 inside the clinic and its healthcare workforce.
In a move to further safeguard doctors and staff, Hawkins will offer telehealth consults from this Monday.
“As a result of changes to Medicare all patients will be eligible for bulk billed telehealth consults,” Mr Beatty said.
“The clinic plans to implement telehealth as our main consulting method from this day.”
He said patients with existing appointments would be contacted to advise them of this change.
“Examinations where required will be organised separately during the telehealth consult,” Mr Beatty explained.
Patients normally attending its walk-in script clinics will now be offered a telephone consultation with a doctor with prescriptions sent to their pharmacy direct.
“We are making the above change to reduce the numbers of patients needing to come into our practice therefore minimising the risk of transmission to patients, doctors and staff,” Mr Beatty said.
Limestone Coast Local Health Network governing board chair Grant King today confirmed there were three new confirmed cases, taking the overall tally to four.
“These cases are across the region,” Mr King said.
“We are continuing with our strict screening process for COVID-19 at all sites.”
These measures include temperature testing all staff and visitors on arrival and triaging them as needed at regional hospitals.
“In order to provide the best level of protection and support to our dedicated staff and the patients and families they support, we will also now be implementing changes to our visiting arrangements across all sites,” Mr King said.
“We understand this may create some uncertainty for our patients and families, but it is an important step in doing everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We are finalising these arrangements currently and they will be communicated with staff, patients and our community as soon as possible.”
These changes come into effect 8am tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the state’s chief medical officer Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier said two COVID-19 patients were in the intensive care unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, but were in a stable condition.
There have been no new cases linked to schools or aged care facilities.
Prof Spurrier said staff were undertaking contact tracing of new cases and more information could be released to the public if “deemed necessary”.
“There are now more than 1300 people in SA who are contacted on a daily basis for a symptom check for contact tracing. These people are in self-quarantine,” she said.
“My team do a daily check-in of those people to ensure they are not developing symptoms. If they are it is very important they get tested immediately.”
SA Pathology has undertaken 20,000 COVID-19 tests across the state.