Mirror article 13/10

The heading to last weeks article referred to the quiet optimism surrounding the opening up again of lockdown (as well as to the increase in warm weather and daylight savings!)

We all feel that and yet there is also a growing apprehension in medical institutions like hospitals and medical centres that we are about to get very busy. 

We know that with increased people movement and reduced restrictions that there will be an inevitable increase in COVID in the region. So we are preparing as best we can for that. 

At the Medical centre it is now mandatory to wear a mask or face-shield on entering the facility and to keep it on whenever in the centre. There is new signage about this by the front door. This will help protect our staff and patients alike and, also importantly, reduce the chance that we are forced to close due to exposure. We will be doing more phone and video consults but are placing a priority on ensuring that normal GP health care continues. Unlike what is happening in some other general practices we are not about to make it mandatory to be vaccinated to be seen, and we are still seeing people with respiratory illness… in the respiratory clinic! Please, do not forget, that if you have respiratory symptoms tell the reception staff when they ask and they will ensure you are attended to by the respiratory nurse initially. It has been identified as one of our real risks-that a symptomatic patient enters the normal part of the medical centre and even the consulting room unannounced. The ramifications of this scenario could be immense. 

Vaccine rates locally are excellent and we continue to vaccinate daily. The data from DHHS (www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/weekly-covid-19-vaccine-data) shows that Foster and Fish Creek and surrounds both have a First dose of eligible people between 90-95% and Second doses between 70-75% for Fishy and slightly higher for Foster 75-80%. We will hopefully be opening up sessions in Toora in the near future-check out the web page or facebook for up to date information when we get the go ahead to do this.

We have good reason to be far less fearful this year than last. We don’t need fear; we need good preparation and vaccination. The illness in a fully vaccinated person is so, so likely to be mild at most, often not much more than a cold; the person can still be contagious but is unlikely to get very sick. It is important to remember this and especially as we see more COVID locally.