Mildura Base Hospital confirms COVID-19 patient is in isolation

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MILDURA Base Hospital's director of intensive care Dr Alison Walker is urging the Sunraysia community to remain vigilant and calm after the first case of COVID-19 was recorded on Saturday.

There remained only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Mildura municipality, according to a Monday update from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The hospital says the patient from the confirmed case reported to the emergency department on March 14 and the positive test result was confirmed on Saturday by the Victorian chief health officer.

On Monday, Mildura Base Hospital confirmed it saw the patient.

Dr Walker said the patient had been self-isolating and that was continuing, in line with best practice guidelines.

"The fact that we have had a positive test in our community should not create alarm – now that COVID-19 is in our community, we need to be calm and follow the best advice from our health authorities to minimise the spread," she said.

"We have reviewed the process undertaken when the patient presented to the emergency department and all COVID-19 protocols were adhered to.

"The patient was immediately isolated and all health care workers involved wore protective equipment during the patient's assessment.

"The patient was then sent home because they did not require medical care and they are following the isolation requirements."

Dr Walker said it was crucial that people did not report to a GP, hospital or health centre if they were concerned about symptoms, but to call the hotline first on 1800 675 398.

"If it's an emergency, you should always call 000 and advise what your symptoms are – but if it's not an emergency, people should call the 24-hour, 7 days hotline for advice and information on what to do next," she said.

"People who have concerns should not simply attend a clinic, medical centre or the emergency department, because that potentially exposes other people.

"Ideally, if we are aware someone is presenting with a potential case, we simply need to have arrangements in place for that person to present and to be tested, and that is best done through the hotline."

Dr Walker said the entire community had a role to play in limiting the spread of the coronavirus in Sunraysia. 

"We ask that people continue to be vigilant in their efforts to reduce the potential spread by following social distancing measures and allowing our health services valuable time to prepare and be in the best possible position to manage the impact " she said.

"We would also ask the community to be respectful and understanding of hospital and health service workers, who have a very tough job to do in the circumstances – we are all working together to support our community through this difficult time."

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support.

All close contacts must self-isolate for 14-days and all people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced 61 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Victoria on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 355.

Of those, there had been 290 in metropolitan Melbourne and 35 in regional Victoria. A number of cases remained under investigation.

Multiple cases had occurred in the regional local government areas of Greater Geelong (9) Ballarat (4), Baw Baw (2), Greater Shepparton (2), Surf Coast (2), Warrnambool (2), Macedon Ranges (2) and Mitchell (2).

Bass Coast, East Gippsland, Gannawarra, Latrobe, Yarriambiack, Hepburn, Moorabool, Wellington, Mount Alexander and Mildura had all recorded one case.