What to expect if diagnosed with virus in North Burnett
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, while nine people have recovered 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:
- A cough.
- Sore throat.
- 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.