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20 October 2021
East Grampians Health Service has reassured the community it is well equipped to cope with COVID-19 cases after a series of confirmed cases and exposure sites in Ararat during the past fortnight.
Service leaders have declared the organisation has been planning for similar situations and was well equipped to cope.
Medical services director Dr Sophie Ping praised the district community for its high uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.
She added that while people who had received the vaccination would be unlikely to become seriously ill, there were measures people could take if they developed symptoms to ease their discomfort.
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Dr Ping said some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 included fever, breathlessness, a dry cough and muscle aches, while other symptoms could include a runny nose, diarrhoea and nausea.
“Most people who develop COVID-19 are only mildly affected and usually recover in two or three weeks,” she said.
“Rest and lots of fluids will usually be sufficient for those with mild symptoms, but you might also take paracetamol or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.”
Dr Ping said in some people, symptoms could quickly worsen and she urged people to monitor their symptoms and seek urgent medical attention if concerned.
She said concerning symptoms included shortness of breath, which could mean the patient had low oxygen levels or a respiratory infection.
“Please, if you notice your breathing is getting worse, seek urgent medical attention as soon as you can,” Dr Ping said.
“It is very important that you call ahead before attending at the hospital or let the ambulance service call centre know you might have COVID systems if you ring for an ambulance.”
Dr Ping said if someone in Ararat was diagnosed with COVID-19 the health service was well prepared to care for them.
She said most people would be able to be cared for at home and would be admitted to the ‘Hospital in the Home’ program.
“EGHS has an amazing team of community nurses who are responsible for the Hospital in the Home program, and they are in close regular contact with the doctors and allied health staff to ensure that patients who are recovering at home receive the same high-quality care they would receive if they were admitted to the hospital,” she said.
“Monitoring equipment will be provided to patients in their own homes so that they can check their own oxygen levels.”
Dr Ping said if someone required more treatment and support than could be provided in Ararat, there were plans in place to transfer people to the most appropriate hospital for further care.
Grampians Public Health Unit and Victorian Department of Health are closely involved in following up all COVID-positive patients and meet with EGHS staff regularly to ensure the best support and care is being provided.
Ararat Rural City Council is partnering closely with EGHS to care for the Ararat community, and can arrange for the delivery of food and care packages to anyone recovering at home.
Any individual or family who needs access to food packages or further logistical support in Ararat district, or is unsure where to turn to, can call the council on 5355 0980.
Dr Ping stressed that being vaccinated was vitally important for the community.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there on social media. There are no miracle cures and there are no alternatives to vaccination. Please get information and advice from your GP,” she said.
“East Grampians Health Service is very proud of the Ararat community for coming forward in such big numbers to get vaccinated.
“We have a little way to go, so my best advice is that if you want to avoid becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, please get vaccinated.”
Dr Ping said people could book an appointment at EGHS Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic by calling 1800 675 398 or 5352 9363 or through the online portal, https://portal.cvms.vic.gov.au.
The entire October 20, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!