COVID-19 update 20 March 2020

The health and wellbeing of the entire MACS community is our highest priority. We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are continuing to liaise with the relevant trusted global health authorities and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, since news of the virus first emerged, and are taking all necessary preventative action.

Please do not visit our MACS facility if you experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat, or have recently been overseas, or have been in contact with anyone who may have had the virus.

Key messages
• As of 0930hrs 18 March 2020, Victoria has 121 total confirmed cases, and no deaths.
• The Deputy Chief Health Officer, Annalise van Diemen, has exercised emergency powers under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to give a direction about non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more in an enclosed space.
• This new requirement is now in addition to the direction on non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people in an outdoor space. This supports the Commonwealth’s revised guidelines that recommend non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more in an indoor space be prohibited from Wednesday 18 March 2020.
From now, across Australia, visits to aged care residents will only be allowed for a short duration and by a maximum of two people per day per resident, except for palliative care. This recognises that elderly people are particularly vulnerable to this virus.
• Children under the age of 16 will only be permitted to attend aged care facilities in exceptional circumstances and further guidelines will be provided to aged care staff around hygiene practices. These directions will be enforced by the Commonwealth Government, which administers this sector.

Please take a moment to read this information.

WHAT ARE CORONAVIRUSES AND COVID-19?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that can cause infection in people, including severe respiratory illness.

If infected with COVID-19 most people get a mild infection, others get a severe infection causing hospitalisation. Elderly people and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions are more likely to develop a severe form of COVID-19.

How we respond to COVID-19 is a changing situation and there are new restrictions being put in place regarding attending large gatherings to help protect your health, safety and wellbeing.

PERSONAL HYGIENE IS THE KEY – We all know good hygiene is the best way to stay healthy. Here are some simple, but very important things you can do to reduce your risk of being infected:
• Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice whilst you are doing it!!), DRY with paper or hand dryer
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze, if you don’t have a tissue cough and/or sneeze into your upper elbow
• Dispose of used tissues immediately to avoid leaving germs on your hands
• Clean hard surfaces in your kitchens and bathrooms regularly.
• Hand sanitiser should be used when out in community spaces.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact us:
• Bella Chara – Phone (03) 5202 5300
• Home Services – Phone 1300 622 778
• Residential – Phone (03) 5279 6800

Joy Leggo
Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19 RESOURCES

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline 1800 675 398 open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Please keep triple zero (000) for emergencies only.

A trusted source of information is the dedicated page set up by the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

The Department of Health and Human Services has established a hotline where any member of the public can call to seek information on COVID-19 on 1800 675 398.
The DHHS website is: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

For further health information the number for Victoria’s ‘Nurse on Call’ is 1300 60 60 24
Smartraveller is monitoring closely the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its implications for overseas travel. https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19

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Date issued: 18 March 2020
Issued by: Adjunct Clinical Professor Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria
Issued to: Clinicians and the Victorian public

• Additional cleaning is now in place on public transport. The Victorian Government is urging employers to consider staggered work times and remote working arrangements to reduce overcrowding at peak travel times.
• The public is advised to sit in the back of taxis and ride shares, while mass transport should be avoided by people vulnerable to the virus, including the elderly.

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