What to ex­pect if you get the Covid-19 virus

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - SAM TURNER sam.turner@cnbtimes.com.au

AS THE Covid-19 curve be­gins to flat­ten around Aus­tralia, res­i­dents in the North Burnett still need to re­main vig­i­lant about their health.

Wide Bay cur­rently has 24 con­firmed cases of coro­n­avirus, with nine peo­ple re­cov­er­ing from the virus in the re­gion.

De­spite the grad­ual de­cline in cases, res­i­dents need to be aware of the steps to take if they think they might be suf­fer­ing from coro­n­avirus.

For res­i­dents in the North Burnett, it’s free to be tested for Covid-19 at the re­gion’s GP prac­tices, hos­pi­tals, and mul­ti­pur­pose health ser­vices if you meet the Queens­land Health re­quire­ments for test­ing.

A per­son is el­i­gi­ble for test­ing if they have a fever, res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms, and have been in close con­tact with a con­firmed case or trav­elled over­seas in the past 14 days.

The symp­toms in­clude:

• Fever.

• A cough.

• Sore throat.

• Fa­tigue.

• Short­ness of breath. Test­ing is also avail­able for peo­ple who:

• Work in set­tings such as health care, aged or res­i­den­tial care, mil­i­tary, correction fa­cil­i­ties, de­ten­tion cen­tres and board­ing schools.

• Live in an area where an out­break has oc­curred

• Live in a First Na­tions com­mu­nity.

Sev­eral North prac­tices now have a locked door pol­icy, which means it is im­por­tant to ring ahead to al­low staff to make the ap­pro­pri­ate ar­range­ments for the safety of other pa­tients.

Wide Bay Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Deb­bie Car­rol said if a per­son was to test pos­i­tive, the health ser­vice would be in con­tact to dis­cuss how care would be pro­vided.

“The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence mild symp­toms and will quar­an­tine at home while keep­ing in con­tact with WBHHS clin­i­cal teams,” Mrs Car­rol said.

“If some­one is in need of in­ten­sive care unit sup­port they will be trans­ferred to Bund­aberg Hospi­tal.”

A worry for the re­gion’s or­chardists is the process of quar­an­tin­ing with itin­er­ant farm work­ers as Gayn­dah and Mun­dub­bera ex­pe­ri­ence a large in­flux of sea­sonal work­ers for the cit­rus har­vest sea­son.

“If a per­son can’t quar­an­tine at home (such as for farm work­ers), the Pub­lic Health Unit will ar­range al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion where quar­an­tine can take place,” Mrs Car­rol said.

“Once a pos­i­tive case is con­firmed, our PHU will be­gin con­tact trac­ing of any­one who might’ve been in close con­tact of the per­son who tested pos­i­tive.”

Due to Covid-19 be­ing a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness, con­cerns have been raised about the num­ber of ven­ti­la­tors in the North Burnett.

A WBHHS spokesman said all pa­tients that re­quired ven­ti­la­tors would need the sup­port of an in­ten­sive care unit, and would be trans­ferred to Bund­aberg Hospi­tal.

“Covid-19 pa­tients would be among th­ese pa­tients,” the spokesman said.

“While await­ing trans­fer, any pa­tient need­ing res­pi­ra­tory sup­port would use a ven­ti­la­tor suit­able for short du­ra­tion, which is avail­able at each MPHS and hospi­tal in the North Burnett.”

The WBHHS advises res­i­dents to fol­low the be­low steps to help stem the spread of coro­n­avirus:

1. Clean your hands reg­u­larly with soap and wa­ter or al­co­hol-based hand rubs.

2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tis­sue or bent el­bow when cough­ing or sneez­ing.

3. Avoid touch­ing your face, nose and mouth, and avoid shak­ing hands.

4. Stay home as much as pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially if you’re sick.

5. Prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing, which in­cludes stay­ing 1.5m away from oth­ers as much as you can.

Any­one with con­cerns can call 13 HEALTH (1343 2584) or find up to date in­for­ma­tion on the Queens­land Health web­site here.

Pic­ture: Toni-Ben­son Ro­gan

WHAT TO EX­PECT: Wide Bay Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice board chair Peta Jamieson and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of acute hospi­tal and com­mu­nity ser­vices Deb­bie Car­roll at the ready to treat Covid-19 pa­tients in the re­gion.

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