Let’s help keep Deni virus free

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

These are testing times and we are being asked to live in a way that is very different to our norm.

Each day there are more and more restrictions on what interactions are allowed and it can feel overwhelming. 

The government and the medical community are trying our best to keep the number of infections low in a hope we can curb the spread of this virus. 

They are necessary measures. 

This does means sacrifices for all of us. 

For some it will be small sacrifices of not going to the gym, for others it will be big sacrifices of having to cancel their wedding. 

For many others, they have lost their livelihood or it has been significantly reduced.  For those making big sacrifices we thank you and we are so sorry it has come to this. 

We now have 31 confirmed cases in our region. There have been no confirmed cases in Deniliquin, and let’s hope we keep it this way. 

The majority of cases are still from people who have contracted the virus from being overseas.  

We are testing those with cough, sore throat, short of breath or fever (high temperature) who have been overseas, been in contact with a known/suspected case or have been in a COVID hotspot.

What you can do to help: 
● Cancel all non-essential travel. This includes caravan trips and school holiday trips. It is best to stay at home 
● Stay at home. Don’t hang out with your friends. Use Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok or any of the online forums, but do not meet in person. Young adults, you have been training your whole life for this! Teach your parents. 
● Stay at home unless necessary. Go out for groceries and petrol only.
● Practice social distancing. This means 1.5m distance from others at all times and try to limit contact with others to below 15 minutes. 
● Wash your hands regularly. Soap and water works just as well as hand sanitizer if you cannot find any. 
● Call your grandparents/elderly neighbours on the phone. See how they are going, check in regularly. For many of them the next few months will be very lonely times. 
● If you were planning on eating at a restaurant, call them regarding take-away options. Most cafes and restaurants in Deniliquin are still open for take-away. Order that take-away coffee, still have your restaurant meal at home. Order dessert as well (not often a GP says that!)
● If you can support any of our businesses in Deniliquin, do so. Call ahead and say what you want and pick it up. Deniliquin’s version of online shopping. Send hampers of local products to your friends and family. 
● Most of us will now know someone in home isolation, call them often and check-in. Send them a hamper or some flowers, anything to help them through this time.
● Only buy what you need from our grocery stores, there is enough for everyone.

What local businesses are doing to help:
● IGA is offering delivery for those who need it (our seniors and vulnerable community members). Give them a call.
● Our pharmacists are offering delivery for those above the age 70 and others who require it. Give them a call. 
● Cafes and restaurants are offering their full menu as take-away.  Think of it as a local Uber Eats. 

Coronavirus and children:
● In NSW there have been no reported cases in children below 10 years of age.
● Children appear to have mild disease.

Coronavirus and pregnancy:
● COVID has not been linked to miscarriage or abnormalities in the baby.
● You cannot give COVID to your unborn baby, it doesn’t pass through the placenta.
● If you are breastfeeding, you should continue to breastfeed. This will give the best protection to your baby. If you have cough, sore throat or fever you can still breastfeed, but we recommend you wear a mask. Please have a chat with your GP.
● If you are pregnant and working, please have a chat with your GP about your working arrangements.

Seeing your GP:
● All GPs in town are changing how they see people to help reduce the spread of this virus. Each GP practice will have different ways of doing this so have a chat with your clinic.
● When booking your appointment with your GP talk to the admin staff about telehealth (Skype and Zoom) or a telephone consult.
● Some consults will have to be in person, but others can be done with telehealth.
● If you have a cough, runny nose or a fever please inform our admin staff over the phone.
● Some clinics are asking clients to wait in their cars rather than in our waiting rooms, talk with the admin staff of your chosen clinic.
● If you are currently pregnant or have a newborn we can conduct some of your consults with telehealth.
● We are still open for all health needs.
● In times like these anxieties and depression can develop or become worse. If you are feeling this way, please do not hesitate to make a telehealth or telephone appointment with us or call Lifeline. You will not be wasting our time, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

Let’s be one of the few places in Australia with no COVID. With your help we can do this. Be kind, be generous and be responsible.

Dr Rachel James (pictured) is a GP based in Deniliquin.