Don’t put off testing
Swan Hill District Health continues to urge community members with even mild COVID-19 symptoms to get tested.
From Monday June 1 our Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic becomes one of 100 Commonwealth funded Fever Clinics. In line with this change there will be a change in booking arrangements for attending the clinic.
While there are currently no active cases in the Swan Hill Local Government Area, testing remains imperative in the face of easing restrictions.
With this easing from Monday, health advice continues to maintain people should stay 1.5 metres apart from people they don’t live with, avoid hugging and kissing and practice hand hygiene regularly.
Community uptake of testing and the government measures to curb the spread of the virus have kept positive cases to a minimum in our local area and prevented our health service from being overwhelmed as we have seen others overseas.
While many people are understandably looking forward to the easing of restrictions, caution is urged. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should access testing and self-isolate in accordance with government advice.
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, fever, sweats and chills and loss of sense of smell.
“We know people will be looking forward to travel and getting to see their loved ones again, however we are reminding the community that this pandemic is not over,” Swan Hill District Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Abraham said.
“The virus has not gone away and as we increase our contact with other people, we increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. For this reason we continue to ask people to practice physical distancing, and urge anyone who develops even mild COVID-19 symptoms to get tested.
“We know people may be reluctant to access testing because they may not want to miss work or self-isolate. But we are working to keep wait-times to a minimum and are urging people to keep in mind that while it may be inconvenient, self-isolation is a measure that protects them, their family and their community.
Anyone who has been waiting to receive their COVID-19 test result for more than five days can call 5033 9300.
A staff member will take your name and number and ensure the result is followed up for you. A medical officer will then provide your result.
We have streamlined our processes to keep waiting times to a minimum, but ask you to keep in mind that some wait-times are unavoidable.
Please do not call before five days after your test, as the result will not be available.
While we know waiting can be frustrating, it is vital anyone who was symptomatic at the time of testing continue to self-isolate until you receive your result.
We know for some missing work is a real concern, but going out into the community without waiting for your result risks spreading the virus.
Anyone with even mild symptoms is encouraged to attend the Swan Hill District Health Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic (ARAC) at 28 High Street.
Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, chills and sweats, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell.
The clinic is open 11am-4pm Monday to Friday, with no appointment required to attend.
Symptomatic testing is also being conducted by our outreach clinics at locations in Piangil, Nyah, Woorinen and Lake Boga up to June 11.
COVID-19 Outreach Clinics
Swan Hill District Health will be providing outreach clinics in some surrounding towns from tomorrow to screen symptomatic people for COVID-19 infection.
This service will be provided between May 20 and June 11, with clinics to run in Piangil and Nyah on Wednesdays and in Woorinen South and Lake Boga on Thursdays.
Anyone attending will only be tested if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, these include fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and loss of sense of smell.
Tests are free and you do not require a Medicare Card, however please bring identification. A doctor will contact you with test results. Your information will remain private.Clinic Times and Location:
Swan Hill District Health Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic is currently open Monday to Friday 9am-4pm.
Testing delays continue
Swan Hill District Health Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic continues to face delays of up to seven days for COVID-19 test results.
With hundreds attending the clinic in recent weeks as part of a state-wide testing blitz and targeted testing of school staff, wait times for the return of results have extended up to seven days for some consumers.
Swan Hill District Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Abraham said he understood these delays were proving frustrating for those awaiting their results.
“We are continuing to work with our contracted pathology service Clinical Labs to have test results returned as quickly as possible,” Mr Abraham said.
“While we know people are eager to return to their daily lives, it is vital anyone who was symptomatic at the time of testing continue to self-isolate until their results return.
“Even if your symptoms have subsided since you were tested, we ask that you remain in self-isolation.
“If you were asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) when you were tested, and have not developed symptoms since, you are not required to self-isolate.”
Swan Hill District Health continues to urge anyone with even mild symptoms to attend its Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic at 28 High Street. COVID-19 symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, chills or sweats, shortness of breath and loss of sense of smell.
School staff can also access testing until May 26, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of the virus or not.
Testing delays and teachers to be tested
Swan Hill District Health Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic is experiencing delays in the return of COVID-19 test results of up to seven days.
A total 667 people attended the High Street clinic during last week’s testing blitz. Those tested included people with symptoms, along with essential and frontline workers and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who were asymptomatic.
The wide-spread uptake of the testing blitz across Victoria has significantly increased the demand on the provider conducting the testing and has extended the waiting time for results.
Swan Hill District Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Abraham asked for patience as the health service continues to work with the contracted pathology service Clinical Labs to have test results returned as quickly as possible.
“While we know this is frustrating it is important anyone who was symptomatic at the time of testing continue to self-isolate until their results return,” Mr Abraham said.
“Even if your symptoms have subsided since you were tested, we ask that you remain in self-isolation.
“If you were asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) when the test was conducted and have not developed symptoms since, you are not required to self-isolate. “
Mr Abraham said the health service was pleased by the community’s willingness to get behind the testing blitz, which aimed to determine the level of COVID-19 in the community.
“We’re really please people have committed to the cause and been tested, particularly those in high-risk areas and workers in supermarkets and essential services,” Mr Abraham said.
“This was a massive effort on behalf of both our staff and the community we thank them for their support.”
The Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic has returned to symptomatic testing only, with the exception of school staff who are now being asked to volunteer for testing.
The government announced the new Victorian School Staff Coronavirus Testing Scheme this week, with school staff able to access testing between May 13 and May 26, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms of the virus.
“With school set to return in the next couple of weeks, and the current delays experienced in receiving test results, it is important that school staff who choose to be tested, do not delay in getting the test done.
“Teachers and associated school staff are invited to attend our clinic, or if they live outside of Swan Hill to call their local GP or health service to determine if they can access testing closer to home.
“We also continue to encourage anyone with even mild respiratory symptoms to get tested, this includes a sore throat, runny nose, fever, chills or sweats, or loss of sense of smell.”
School staff who are asymptomatic at the time of testing will not have self-isolate.
The clinic at 28 High Street will open from 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday for the period of testing (May13-26).
No appointment necessary.
Swan Hill District Health would like to thank the local community for their uptake of the testing blitz this week.
Attendances at our Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic (ARAC) surged from Monday with 298 people attending over three days (Monday to Wednesday), an increase on the clinic’s average daily presentation of 11 per day prior to the blitz. Testing continued on Thursday through to Friday afternoon.
Mobile testing was also conducted on vulnerable patients throughout the week where it was not suitable for them to attend the clinic.
Groups targeted for testing throughout the week included community members with even mild respiratory symptoms (eg. runny nose, scratchy throat), construction, supermarket, healthcare, corrections and emergency services workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
Those who were asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) at the time of testing are not required to self-isolate.
Our Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic at 28 High Street remains open and we continue to encourage any community members with even mild symptoms to attend the clinic to be assessed.
“This testing blitz was undertaken at the request of the Victorian Government to gather data around the true prevalence of COVID-19 in our community,” Swan Hill District Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Abraham said.
“The Swan Hill community has played their part in building the evidence base for the government to make the most informed decisions they can.
“Our dedicated staff have worked overtime to complete this testing blitz and we thank them for their ongoing work and commitment to their community during this pandemic.
“I’d also like to once again thank the Swan Hill community for their support of our health service and their work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
“This pandemic is ongoing and we continue to ask our community to follow directions from the government around curbing the spread of COVID-19 and stay clean, stay kind to one another and stay home until advised otherwise.”
Swan Hill District Health also reminds people that we are still here if they need us. Please do not delay accessing medical care if you require it. Our health service is safe to visit and we continue to implement best practice measures to ensure the ongoing safety of our staff and patients.
If you have queries about testing or suspect you have COVID-19 you can call the dedicated Department of Health and Huma Services hotline 24 hours a day on 1800 675 398.
Mothers Day – Aged Care Visiting Hours
We are extending our visiting hours this Sunday (10/5/20) for Mother’s Day. Across the organisation visiting hours will be 2-4pm.
Please keep in mind:
-If you are planning to bring gifts into the health service you will be requested to wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe upon entry.
-If you are bringing in food such as homemade biscuits you will be asked to wipe down the container.
-We will be screening (including temperature testing) all visitors, please be patient with this process as we expect increased demand over the day.
-Please do not visit if you are unwell with any COVID-19 symptoms including scratchy throat, runny nose, cough, fever or difficulty breathing.
-All visitors to an aged care facility (Logan Lodge and Jacaranda Lodge) still require an up to date flu vaccination to visit.
Normal visiting hours will remain 3-4pm daily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We know the situation is constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the testing blitz in Victoria:
• ALL essential workers are encouraged to access testing this week (4th-8th May) regardless of whether or not they have symptoms – this includes aged care workers, workers in construction, supermarket, healthcare, police, corrections and emergency services jobs, people with a chronic illness, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
• If you do not have symptoms you are not required to self-isolate while awaiting test results. If you subsequently develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate until you get your results.
• If you test positive, whether or not you have symptoms, you will need to self-isolate.
• Your doctor or the clinic where you were tested will contact you, regardless if it is positive or negative.
• If you are outside of Swan Hill, contact your local health service first for advice on accessing testing.
• Please be patient while we manage the increased demand on our Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic at 28 High Street.
We also recommend you visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/getting-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 for more information.
Swan Hill District Health will be ramping up our COVID-19 testing as part of the statewide testing blitz over the next week. Our aim is to significantly increase the number of COVID-19 tests with a particular focus on community members who do not have any symptoms.
This is a surveillance testing process to determine the level of COVID19 in the community.
All community members are encouraged to attend our Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic located at 28 High St between 11 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday next week (4/5/20-8/5/20).
If you have queries about testing or suspect you have COVID-19 you can call the dedicated Department of Health and Human Services hotline 24 hours a day on 1800 675 398.
Visitors to a residential aged care facility must now have an up to date influenza vaccination.
Swan Hill District Health (SHDH) has posted signs outside of its residential aged care facilities, Logan Lodge and Jacaranda Lodge, advising visitors of the new restrictions, passed down by Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton overnight.
“Flu vaccinations matter now more than ever,” SHDH chief executive officer Peter Abraham said.
“We encourage everyone to take every possible step to help stop the spread of flu this winter and protect our health system and most vulnerable residents.”
According to a directive from the state government, from today, all people attending a residential aged care service, other than residents, must now have an up to date influenza vaccination, if such a vaccination is available to them, in order to be present on the premises.
This directive also includes staff, and SHDH is taking every step possible to ensure it is compliant.
Aged care providers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure these directions are followed.
“Visitors who are unable to have the vaccination due to medical reasons may visit, however they are required to provide evidence from a medical practitioner as to the reason they can’t have the vaccination,” Mr Abraham said.
“Swan Hill District Health encourages visitors who cannot have an influenza vaccination to only visit for compassionate reasons.
“Visitors who choose not to have an influenza vaccination are not able to visit a residential aged care service during this period.
“We know these are trying times, and thank the community for their understanding and cooperation with these new restrictions, as we try to protect our most vulnerable community members. “
For general information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) go to: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Opening times have been changed to:
Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 8am – 12pm
Sunday & Public Holidays 9am – 12pm
The Primary Health Medical Centre suggests that patients opt for telephone consult, especially for results and scripts. Scripts can be sent to a Chemist for patients to collect.
Phone: 03 5033 9900 for more information.
Swan Hill District Health Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic (Fever Clinic) is participating in the program to screen patients who present to fever clinics and do not meet the testing criteria, in order to estimate the amount of undetected COVID-19 in the community.
Open Monday – Friday 11 am to 4 pm.
28 High St, Swan Hill
Please be advised that as of today, Sunday 22nd March, strict restrictions on visiting hours applies across Swan Hill District Health.