Deni Hospital visitation restricted

By Zoe McMaugh

Visitor numbers to Deniliquin Hospital and others in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District have been restricted, particularly those visiting elderly patients.

The policy will restrict visitor numbers to one visitor per patient at any time.

Executive director medical service Dr Lenert Bruce said the policy is designed to ‘‘protect the health of our vulnerable and elderly residents’’.

‘‘We are appealing to members of the public to stay away from hospitals and aged care facilities if they feel unwell, or have symptoms of cold and flu,” Dr Lenert said.

‘‘We can all play a part in slowing the spread of the virus by reducing contact between people unless absolutely necessary, especially those in our population who may be more vulnerable or susceptible to the illness because of age or weakened immunity.’’

Visitors are also advised not to bring children under 12 years of age to the hospital.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, sore throat and dry cough. Symptoms will generally appear three to four days after exposure to the virus but can be up to 14 days later.

Members of the public are advised to minimise travel, increase personal awareness around hand hygiene and practice social distancing.

Anyone who believes they have may have contracted the COVID-19 virus (ie: who are returned travellers, or who have come in contact with a confirmed case and are showing symptoms: fever, sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath) are advised in the first instance to:

● Call HealthDirect on 1800th022th222, where a nurse will triage them over the phone and advise as needed;
● Call the Murrumbidgee COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 831 099 where patients will be triaged and, if testing is warranted, will be booked into an appointment based on location

● Contact your GP to arrange an appointment and let them know in advance if you have symptoms.

While there is no formal testing clinic in Deniliquin, a spokesperson said MLHD is prepared to open one if required.

‘‘There is a lot of training being done on the ground around preparedness (across the whole health district),’’ the spokesperson said,

‘‘People who are showing possible symptoms are initially sent for screening, and very few of them have then gone on to official testing because they are not within the testing criteria.

‘‘There is no testing clinic in Deniliquin yet, but staff are working on setting one up so we are ready to respond when the need arises.’’