Two (2) new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) bringing the District’s total to seven (7) today.
Six of the seven confirmed cases are in self-isolation at home and one case is being cared for in hospital.
We have now established a COVID-19/flu clinic at Grafton Base Hospital, which is open from 10am to 6pm daily. Existing COVID-19/flu clinics at The Tweed Hospital and Lismore Base Hospital are continuing, also open from 10am to 6pm daily.
These clinics are for those most at risk with respiratory symptoms or fever, those returning from overseas or in contact with a COVID-19 case, or people like our health workers. It is vital that these respiratory clinics are not overwhelmed with people who are not in the high risk groups, which could result in delays identifying those most vulnerable. People without symptoms do not need to be tested.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, headache, runny nose, or shortness of breath. Anyone with symptoms should isolate themselves from others.
Northern NSW Local Health District has plans in place to accommodate patients requiring hospitalisation for COVID-19.
We are taking a phased approach, where the first phase of cases will be cared for at Lismore Base Hospital. If further hospitalisations arise, the second phase of patients would be cared for at The Tweed Hospital, and the third phase at Grafton Base Hospital if required. These plans include the separation of COVID-19 patients from other Intensive Care patients within the unit.
All hospitals in NNSWLHD have the capacity to care for some level of COVID-19 illness if required. All our hospitals operate as part of a connected network, and patients will be cared for at the facility that meets the level of treatment they require.
Hospitals have strict infection control and hygiene practices, and we have already implemented additional precautions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Other patients and visitors are not at any additional risk when visiting a hospital that is caring for patients with COVID-19.
However, in efforts to further reduce the spread of the virus throughout the community, we are now restricting visitors at all our hospitals to two (2) per patient.
This is an evolving situation, and this advice may change at short notice.
Visitors, carers and family members should speak with the nurse in charge about any extenuating circumstances.
We are again urging people to practice social distancing, and self-isolation where required.
Identification and isolation of contacts is a critical measure that limits the spread of COVID-19. Compliance with self-isolation by all contacts and returned travellers is essential.
When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of an epidemic through the community can be slowed. This helps protect the most vulnerable members of the community. It also reduces the impact of the epidemic on essential, life-saving health services by reducing the size of the peak of the epidemic so health services can continue to provide high quality care to all patients. Everybody must play their part.
For advice and information about COVID-19 visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx