Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Three more cases
Seven cases of COVID-19 are now attributed to the Edward River Council region after the number increased by three in yesterday’s figures.
The number includes the initial local case — a woman who was transferred to a Melbourne Hospital and sadly died this week.
Two of the new cases reported on Thursday are residents of the Edward River LGA and are household contacts of a known case.
The third is a staff member at Deniliquin Hospital, and linked to other previously reported cases in the area.
‘‘Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Public Health Unit is supporting the Deniliquin Health Service (hospital) after COVID patients recently received care in the hospital, which has led to a transmission in the service,’’ MLHD said yesterday.
‘‘Contact tracing is underway and all identified contacts are isolating.
‘‘The community can be reassured that strict COVID safety measures remain in place at the Deniliquin Hospital and presenting for care poses no risk to patients.’’
No additional venues of concern had been added to the list at the time of going to print yesterday.
The initial case of COVID-19 in the community was recorded Thursday last week, with two added following extensive testing at the weekend.
The fourth case was announced on Wednesday morning, along with the death of the woman in her 70s from Edward River LGA.
It is the first death in the MLHD region linked to the current outbreak, and the second death in the district since the start of the pandemic.
The woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 after presenting to Deniliquin Hospital last Wednesday evening.
She had serious underlying health conditions and required transfer to a Melbourne ICU unit last week.
Health authorities confirmed she had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The fourth case is linked to a known case and is being cared for at Wagga Base Hospital.
MLHD Chief Executive Jill Ludford said the next few days will be ‘‘critical’’ in managing outbreaks across the district.
‘‘The main area that we’re focusing on is the Deniliquin and Moama region,’’ Ms Ludford said.
In addition to ramped up testing opportunities, MLHD has arranged a week-long walk in vaccine clinic in Deniliquin next week.
Further strain has been placed on Deniliquin’s medical services as staff at Ochre Medical Practice were sent in to isolation due to exposure to a positive case.
Some Deniliquin Hospital staff also had to test and isolate for possible COVID-19 exposure, according to Deniliquin Local Health Advisory Committee.
Some, including Shiloh Medical, are holding telehealth-only appointments, while others are partially closing to in-person appointments to minimise the number of people attending clinics.
‘‘The simple fact is that a number of our GPs are having to self-isolate for 14 days. Despite this, they continue to provide telehealth appointments from their homes,’’ Deniliquin’s Local Health Advisory Council said via social media.
‘‘Their own risk assessment plans are being followed, to ensure the premises remain safe for the public and their staff.’’
MLHD’s strategy has focused on managing fatigue levels of the remaining staff who are able to attend work, and using locum clinical staff to fill gaps.
Ms Ludford said ‘‘managers there (at the hospital) have made an enormous effort in rostering to the available beds that they have open which has been really fantastic’’.
‘‘Because they had an exposure at that site they’ve got a small number of staff that are in isolation and that just added to their issues.’’
Ms Ludford has urged residents to continue to come forward for testing if they have symptoms.
‘‘We’re seeing some of the loosening of restrictions and our only way of managing it and keeping ourselves safe is to increase our vaccination rates and to continue to come forward for testing,’’ she said.
‘‘We saw only about 10,000 tests from all of our providers across our region (Murrumbidgee Local Health District) in the last seven days which is quite a reduction on the week before.’’
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