Novel Coronavirus information: Latest news for general practices
26 November 2020
While first published in January, this page is continually being added to and updated.
Novel coronavirus is an evolving international health concern. We are publishing regular updates on this page, but encourage health professionals to also view the Coronavirus for health professionals section of our website.
COVID-19 Statistics for our region
NSW Health moves from Amber to Green Alert
We have been notified that NSW Health has moved from amber alert (moderate transmission) status to green alert (low transmission) status.
We are yet to receive guidance that pertains to general practices, however we encourage practices to remain vigilent when dealing with any patients with respiratory illness. Ensure that you maintain your recording of staff, patient and visitor attendance at your practice.
COVID-19 Testing is Still Encouraged
It is important that anyone with even the mildest of symptoms is still advised to undergo testing. Numerous options for testing are available in our region, including our GP-led Respiratory Clinics which have assessed and tested nearly 18,800 people and remain open at this time. Results from the GP-led Clinics will be sent to the patient as well as their usual GP.
Find out more about the testing options in our region.
17 November Update:
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Update
The latest update from Deputy CMO, Professor Michael Kidd sent Friday 13 November, includes details in relation to COVID vaccines and the national response to COVID.
Spirometry Infection Control Information for Primary Health
The National Asthma Council has developed a document outlining Spirometry Infection Control Recommendations for Primary Health.
Surgical Mask Defect Alert
A product defect alert notice for some Softmed branded surgical masks has been issued following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) post market review on face masks.
Tracking Staff and Visitor Attendance
A 'Responding to a COVID-19 case in the practice team' fact sheet is available from the RACGP. Practices are encouraged to review their processes to ensure systems are in place to track for each day of operation which staff (or visitors) are at the practice, to assist with contact tracing should a patient or staff member test positive.
5 November Update:
COVID-19 Clinic Operating Hours
As of Monday 26 October Lithgow Hospital’s COVID clinic will operate Monday to Friday 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm. The clinic will be closed on weekends.
Penrith GP Respiratory Clinic is now open Monday to Friday, and no longer open on weekends.
Windsor GP Respiratory Clinic has moved to 2 Kable Street Windsor (previously at 6 Kable St). They continue to operate Monday to Friday.
Patient Care Post-COVID-19
RACGP has released a resource on caring for adult patients with post-COVID-19 conditions, and providing care for specific groups recovering from COVID-19 such as older patients, and patients with disabilities.
29 October Update:
A Message from Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant
Recent notifications of locally acquired cases have led to the detection of 3 clusters of COVID-19. Whilst genome sequencing has suggested a link, we have not been able to identify direct chains of transmission between cases in these clusters and previous cases, indicating that some patients with COVID-19 in the community have gone unrecognised. In addition, some recent cases who attended for medical care with symptoms were not tested for COVID-19 at their initial presentation.
This recent experience shows how COVID-19 can spread in the community without being detected. It is essential that testing rates remain high so we can find and stop any chains of transmission as we aim for no community transmission. Please have a low threshold and test all patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, even if you think they have an alternative diagnosis.
I ask for your assistance in achieving high testing rates over the coming weeks and in explaining to your patients and the broader community you serve the reason that this is so important even at a time when case numbers are low.
CDNA Guidelines Update
The CDNA guidelines were updated on 28 October. Updates relate to; the disease, laboratory
testing, release from isolation and contact management.
Updated Advice for Health Professionals
There are numerous testing options in our region. Patients must self-isolate while they wait for their COVID-19 test results and if testing at a NSW Health COVID-19 clinic encourage the patient to register to receive their results by SMS. Stay up-to-date with the latest advice for healthcare professionals from NSW Health.
Is Your Practice COVID Safe?
Did you know that Services NSW provides information and resources to support you in making your practice COVID Safe? Practices are encouraged to register as COVID Safe as it shows patient and staff that you are keeping up the highest standards to prevent COVID-19..
COVID-19 Safety Plans: The plans provide clear directions on how businesses and organisations should fulfil their obligations under Public Health Orders to minimise risk of transmission of COVID-19. COVID Safe businesses and organisations are easily recognised by the blue tick badge displayed on their premises or online.
COVID Safe Check-in QR Code: COVID Safe Check-in is available to all businesses in NSW and is provided as part of the COVID Safe registration pack. This is a great way to track those that visit your practice and who are not patients (eg. carers etc.).