General information



Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080

Call this line if you are seeking information on COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please visit our Facebook page for more information. 


Testing Criteria (Victorian State Government)

  • Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation*.

OR

  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell or loss of taste).

*Clinical discretion applies; consider potential for co-infection (e.g. SARS-CoV-2 and influenza).

Additional testing note:

People who are at higher risk of infection due to their environmental exposure should also be tested if they have new onset of other clinical symptoms associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) (e.g. headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) AND meet the following epidemiological criteria:

  • Close contacts of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Returned overseas travel in the past 14 days.
  • Health care or aged care workers.

Attending Foster Medical Centre

Please call the clinic on 5682 2088 before arriving.

We will use the Case Definition above as a guide.

If you fulfill both clinical and epidemiological criteria above, refer to the COVID-19 hotline: 1800 675 398.

If you have trouble breathing, call 000.

For all others, make an appointment, stay in your car when you arrive, and call reception. A staff member will conduct a verbal assessment if appropriate.


Support

For trusted and up to date facts, including containment measures, funding packages, virus information, treatment and testing
Australian Government Department of Health www.health.gov.au
Vic Department of Health & Human Services www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
State Government Premier’s Office www.premier.vic.gov.au

 

Emotional support
Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services. Find out how these services can help you, a friend or loved one.

 

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 (24/7)
We all have good days and bad days. Then there are those days when something isn't quite right, you've got something on your mind, or things just seem too much. Whatever it may be, sharing the load with someone else can really help. So no matter who you are, or how you're feeling, you can talk it through with us – we'll point you in the right direction so you can seek further support.

 

Friendline 1800 424 287
FriendLine is for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 (24/7)
Anytime, Any reason. Kids up to 25.

 

Suicide Call Back Line 1800 659 467 (24/7)

 

Family Violence Help Line 1800 737 732 (24/7)

 

Mensline 1300 789 978

 

Gippsland New Access Mental Health Coaching Program
Free, confidential, local. Hosted by Beyond Blue and Wellways)

 

Calm Kid Central
Children's mental health support free to Gippsland families www.calmkidcentral.com


Updates from the Clinic

14 July 2020

Update from Foster and Toora Medical Centres

The COVID landscape has changed quite a lot since last article. Again. And predictably not for the last time. For this is a book with many chapters, a plot with innumerable twists and turns, and with a conclusion which is impossible to accurately predict. At the Medical Centre perhaps the biggest change patients will notice now is the requirement for everyone to now wear masks whilst in the building, which we will provide on entry, where you will also be asked to hand sanitise. However, please note that the medical centre is safe to visit! With the ‘first wave’ (which fortunately never really eventuated) many of our patients stayed away from face-to-face appointments and we are keen to prevent delayed diagnosis and management of medical conditions as the situation again ramps up. Patients from Melbourne, the numbers of whom will be decreasing with the lockdown, are identified prior to attending and are more likely to be treated in the Respiratory Clinic end of the centre (or politely asked to see their Melbourne doctor if more appropriate). Telephone consults remain an option especially for our frail and elderly, but there is no doubt that these have limitations.

At the time of writing, there has been one recorded new active case somewhere in South Gippsland. The Respiratory Clinic continues to see all patients who ring and inform us that they have any of the following symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell. Patients will have a phone consult initially to be appropriately triaged and then given a time to come into the Respiratory Clinic (entry via Station Rd at the Rail Trail end of the clinic) to be tested. Patients have to self isolate until their results are back. No-one should attend work if unwell.

We do not know what is ahead. That is one of things making medical planning so difficult in this pandemic. With the increase in numbers in Melbourne certainly the gentle relaxation we collectively felt over the last month or so has gone. There is no place for complacency. Please, as we all fight “COVID-fatigue”, adhere to the principles of social distancing, cough hygiene, hand washing and getting tested if you have any symptoms.


11 June 2020

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

First off,huge congratulations to Dr Laurie Warfe for his OAM. Laurie has been working with us for the last year or so after moving for a ‘tree-change’ and his experience, unflappable nature and quiet, understated competency have been a welcome addition to the Medical Centre. Richly deserved recognition indeed and typical of the man that we had no idea of his prior achievements!

REFLECTIONS

Let us not forget what could have been.
Quickly COVID can become yesterday’s news and we can become
complacent. Watching what is unfolding in South America and the USA can provide us with a reality check about the threat that we have so far averted in Australia. The current situation has been created through sound early advice and some brave decisions by our chief medical officers and politicians. And by adherence by the public to the restrictions installed. There has been a savage economic fallout and many people have suffered as a result, but there is little doubt that a bigger tragedy has so far been avoided and thousands of lives saved. There is no room for complacency.

TESTING for COVID
With the easing of restrictions, Respiratory Clinics across Victoria,
including Gippsland and ours at Foster, have noticed a decrease in the number of people getting tested.

The important message is that now restrictions are easing, it is more
important than ever to continue testing so any community outbreaks can be detected.

Symptomatic testing is for people who HAVE respiratory symptoms
such as fever or chills or a respiratory sickness (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of smell). In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (headache, muscle pain, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea). Just ring the clinic on 56822088 and book into the respiratory clinic at Foster. It is quick, safe and at no cost to the patient, it will help the cause in keeping the pandemic at bay.

COVID APP
As restrictions ease, it is now more important than ever to download the COVIDSafe app. This tool helps to protect the health of the community by enabling state and territory health officials to quickly identify and contact people who may be at risk of having been in contact with the virus. To date over 6.2 million people have downloaded the COVIDSafe app.

FLU SHOTS
There have been more flu vaccines produced and as mentioned last
week, the Medical Centre has more to distribute. Just ring for an
appointment with our nurses.

Confirmed Influenza cases so far in Victoria this year are at 4,545
compared with 14,124 at the same time last year showing that social
distancing and hand /cough hygiene go a long way to preventing viral spread.


2 June 2020

A recent article from a medical journal, Australian Doctor.


15 May 2020

Updates for Foster and Toora Medical Centres
The opening of the Respiratory Clinic occurred on Monday and each day has had about a dozen people seen and assessed. Patients with any new respiratory symptoms, with or without fevers, are asked to ring in and make an appointment. A phone triage with the doctor will then occur and a time to be seen arranged (if deemed appropriate) for later that day. On arrival, patients will be asked to wait in their car until invited to come directly into the Respiratory Clinic, which is situated at the Rail Trail end of the clinic (car park on Station Rd)...this ensures that the rest of the clinic is kept as separate as possible from potentially ‘at risk’ patients. Apart from some frustrating new IT issues, things have gone to plan this last week and we are happy to finally have it up and running. Due to the lower-than-expected COVID-19 rates, it has been decided that the Maternity Model we had adopted, whereby we looked after many of the Wonthaggi obstetric patients locally to free up space at Wonthaggi for pandemic patients, will be disbanded at the end of the month. The response of local and regional GP Obstetricians and Anaesthetists to help fill out our on-call roster, when we really had little idea what was ahead, was awesome and demonstrated a real ‘inter-country-town’ teamwork. Thank you. There will be another drive-through flu-shot clinic on Saturday but the numbers have had to be capped (again at over 300!) due to
supply issues and is full. If you haven’t had a flu shot please ring and book through the medical centre and you will be put on a waiting list as we wait for more vaccines. Your continued patience is appreciated and remember that the Victorian government is recommending flu shots for ALL Victorians. Lastly, beware of scams that are out there and have affected some of our patients surrounding notification of COVID-19 results. We copy what the DHHS website has posted for your information.


9 May 2020

Be wary of scammers!

Scammers have been calling patients in our local area and wrongly informing them of positive COVID-19 test results. They have attempted to obtain personal information from patients by various means. Please remember that you will be notified of a test result by clinic staff, the doctor who performed the test, or a DHHS public health officer. See further information below from DHHS about this issue.

 

Cyber security and COVID-19

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is aware of scammers who are pretending to be government agencies providing coronavirus (COVID-19) information via text messages and emails ‘phishing’ for people’s personal information.
  • Scams are also including false notifications of close contacts to confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases which contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal personal and financial information when they are opened.
  • During this time, we remind everyone to be cautious and remain alert to coronavirus (COVID-19) related scams.
  • If you suspect that you or your patient have been a target of a scam or are unsure, go to Scamwatch – Report a Scam.
  • Following your test for coronavirus (COVID-19), you will be contacted directly with your results by your doctor or the clinic where you were tested, either by calling or by SMS. They will notify you of your results, regardless if it is positive or negative.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be called by a DHHS public health officer and given advice on next steps.
  • If you have downloaded the COVIDSafe app, you will receive daily notifications ensuring the app is running correctly, however if the app identifies that you have been exposed, you will be called by a DHHS public health officer. The COVIDSafe app will not notify any person directly that they are a case or contact of COVID-19

4 May 2020

Foster Medical Centre now has a respiratory clinic

Please read the full article here for more information about our new respiratory clinic.


26 April 2020

Indelibly sear this into the national public and political DNA: evidence-based prevention saves many lives. So letʼs all honour our COVID-19 heroes. Written by Simon Chapman AO.

This article is essential to both read and remember in the future.


16 April 2020

Cautious Optimism But We Need to Continue

Precinct Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Cautious optimism over the past week is creeping in as the figures show a slowing of the numbers of COVID-19 in Victoria and Australia. This has been a welcome relief from the previous weeks/months when a tsunami of cases seemed more likely and had all of us in Health Care preparing for the worst. The harsh social distancing measures, which have so hurt our businesses and economy, do seem at this point to be making the difference that our chief medical advisors predicted. However, winter and any relaxing of the restrictions, whenever that occurs, are variables that will come with risks of another increase in numbers and effects of the virus. For now the message remains the same: stay at home, be safe and practice physical separation when out for essential reasons…do your bit to help limit any spread of Coronarvirus.

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

For the first time in quite a while, this last week was one without major policy shifts or major new decisions to make. After weeks of fairly frenetic change, this was one more of consolidation and continuation of the processes previously outlined in the Mirror.

The Respiratory Clinic-end of the clinic is getting close to completion and soon we will be able to have a designated area completely separate from the rest of the clinic to assess and test patients who present with signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID. More to follow in coming weeks.

The rollout of the flu vaccination continues. We have been fortunate in being able to obtain as many flu vaccines as we have (thanks Nurse Nancy!), however each week we get far fewer than we order due to national supply issues. We realise many of you are still waiting and we urge patience. You will not miss out. The Drive-Through sessions have been a successful model to ensure social distancing and have proceeded smoothly…except for the atrocious weather each time!

We would like to highlight this week that there is a growing perception, not just here but nationally, that people may be ignoring their everyday health over concern about the COVID-19 crisis. We encourage you to continue seeing us, your doctors, in person or via telehealth, for existing conditions and for regular health maintenance. Putting this off or not having a test done or saying ‘I’ll wait until this COVID thing is all over’ could result in poorer medical outcomes. We do want to emphasise that we are very much still open for ‘normal’ business! We have strict infection control measures in place to keep you safe and we want to ensure that the overall medical health of our community does not suffer as a result of this pandemic.


10 April 2020

Please continue to practice social distancing so that we can further flatten the curve. This video from the U.S. provides a great depiction of the effects of distancing.


8 April 2020

Please have a read about the latest updates from Foster & Toora Medical Centres, South Gippsland Hospital, and Prom Country Aged Care in our most recent Mirror article here.

Have a safe and happy Easter...at home!


1 April 2020 (continued)

UPDATE ON FLU CLINIC
For those patients who have got appointments for Saturday April 4:
It has been decided to do the flu clinic as a drive through service at the Foster Secondary School in front of the Gymnasium.
Please ...
1. Enter the bus loop by the Hoddle rd (Fish creek-Foster rd) entrance on Pioneer st.
2. Wear appropriate short sleeves for ease of access!
3. You will be given further instructions after the flu shot
4. And please. If you have an obvious fever and are unwell do not attend. Postpone. We will be doing further clinics. Seek medical help if required through the medical centre.


1 April 2020 

Please have a read of our article in The Mirror here


31 March 2020

Foster Medical Centre has finally got more flu injections. We now have more spaces to fill on Saturday 4th April, at the South Gippsland Secondary School gymnasium.
Bookings are essential. Ring the Medical Centre on 56822088 for an appointment time.
To be clear…this is for ALL over 65 year old people only.
(We will do under 65 yo with chronic diseases another time. Watch this space).

28 March 2020

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL HOLIDAY MAKERS FROM THE LOCAL HEALTH SERVICES

We are in the midst of a major health crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our local medical centres and hospitals are reorganising and preparing to provide the best possible service for our local communities, to attempt to keep them as safe as possible. We have an aging local population who are of course more at risk.

We will not be able to do this with a huge influx of holiday makers coming from the cities. We have limited capacity, at all levels, and we will reach capacity very early in this crisis.

Premier Daniel Andrews said “… our message to every…Victorian remains the same: Stay at home, protect our health system, save lives”.

PLEASE, if you are a holiday maker, seriously consider whether you should be here at this time. Our plea is for you to go home, stay safe and come back when the pandemic is over.


27 March 2020

BREAKING NEWS: FLU SHOT CLINIC

We are taking bookings at the Foster Medical Centre for over 75 year old flu shots. We only have 100 spots available at present as we have limited stock. We do NOT have stock for anyone under 65 yo at this time. We will be holding the clinic at the South Gippsland High School Gymnasium, and thank them for making this space available, which will ensure social distancing and safety are both adhered to.
Date: Saturday 4th April
Time: you will be given a time at booking
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL
Please continue to check the Foster and Toora Medical Centre website and Facebook pages for further announcements when more stock is available.

26 March 2020

A message from Manna Gum Community House

Hi everyone,
We are adapting our Emergency Relief service for home delivery to the Corner Inlet area, and are currently well stocked to provide for people who have been unable to purchase essential items from the stores.
For IGA, pharmacy and petrol vouchers we have a limited supply and it would require the client to come and meet with me and register with our ER service. Our office is reducing its opening hours to Tuesday and Thursday 10am-3pm as of next week, however the phone messages will be checked daily and we encourage anyone to call before coming in for Emergency Relief due to the rapidly changing situation we are in.
Best wishes,
Bec
Rebecca Matthews
Manager, Manna Gum Community House
33 Station Rd, Foster
Tel 5682 1101 Mob 0439 872 883
PO Box 176, Foster VIC 3960

**Access the Manna Gum Care Emergency Relief Service Form here ***

COVID-19 in Victoria

Keep track of the COVID-19 cases in Victoria here


23 March 2020

Please read our recent posting in The Mirror: COVID-19 Mirror Article


22 March 2020

Please do not underestimate the effect of social distancing.

A message from Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton


21 March 2020

The Victorian State Government has updated the case definition of COVID-19. Have a look on the column to your left on this page. Continue social distancing and stay safe, everyone!