Curalo Medical Cinic in Eden has released a statement regarding local management of the COVID-19 pandemic, to inform and reassure the community at this difficult time.
"As we struggle to get our heads around the ever-changing directives on how to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, be assured that Curalo Medical Clinic are putting infection control measures in place to assist in protecting our community," Samantha Walsh, nurse team leader of the clinic said.
There have now been three cases diagnosed in the Bega Valley, with two announced on Sunday and a third announced on Tuesday.
In light of the statewide count of confirmed cases being 818 as at 6am on Tuesday and the projected increases based on the acceleration of the virus in other countries, flattening the curve and heeding medical and government advice is of great importance.
"There are changes daily, however a consistent message for now and into the future is to avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms and practice social distancing when in public places.
"We recognise that some people do need to be seen in a face-to-face consult and this will be accommodated with extra infection control measures after you have been triaged over the phone by a receptionist or nurse," Ms Walsh explained.
Patients may be asked to wear masks and the number of people in consultation rooms will be limited.
Under new medicare item numbers, phone consults may be available for those who do not require a physical examination.
It is important to note that this years influenza vaccine will not protect you against coronavirus. Influenza vaccines are not expected to be released by NSW Health until mid April.
"We will advise our patients on how we are going to manage our influenza immunisation clinics in the near future."
In Australia, the peak of COVID-19 cases is yet to come, it is estimated numbers will double about every three to six days.
Our annual influenza season, which peaks on average in August each year, may converge this exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.
Both influenza and coronavirus can cause severe illness, but coronavirus is about ten times more deadly than the flu.
If you have travelled overseas in the last 14 days or have had known contact with a confirmed coronavirus case and have now developed symptoms you need to call 1800 999 880 before presenting to the Coronavirus Assessment Centre at South East Regional Hospital in Bega.
"The key message is to help us to help you by staying at home. Ring the clinic or the Coronavirus Health Hotline on 1800 020 080 if you are unsure or have any questions."