Update from KI Medical Clinic (29/3/2020):
Thank you to everyone who watched and shared Dr Wells’ video this week, and particularly to those community members and businesses who have made enormous sacrifices in an effort to reduce the potential for spread of infection. We truly appreciate what you are doing to look after the more vulnerable members of our community.
Below we have provided some updates about our services and current advice.
Most importantly – if you are sick and unsure about what to do – we are here for you. Please phone us on 8553 2037 so we can arrange a phone consult to decide whether you need testing and/or assessment.
Updated information regarding our appointment system
We have now transitioned to offering predominantly telephone-based consults.
If you need an appointment, please phone the clinic on 8553 2037 to book a telephone consult. Our appointments are generally being offered on the day (that is, phone at 8:45 am to make an appointment), however our staff are always happy to take a call at any time of day if you are unwell and unsure about what to do.
Once your doctor has discussed your issues over the phone, they can advise whether you need to be seen in person, and provide further instructions for attending the Clinic or the Hospital.
As of Monday 30th March, a Medicare rebate will apply to all telephone consults.
Importantly, we ask that you please do not attend the Medical Clinic or Hopsital if you have cold and flu symptoms, unless you are advised by staff to do so.
If you are required to attend the clinic, we ask that you follow strict hygiene guidelines outlined at the entrance and throughout the clinic. Please also follow instructions from our reception staff about wearing of appropriate PPE, and where to sit to wait for your appointment. Please be prepared that we may ask you to wait in your car. Unfortunately we are no longer able to take cash payments. Please be vigilant with ensuring any PPE, tissues, plastic cups etc. are placed in bins immediately after use.
Importantly, we will require patients to take the following precautions. Ask yourself:
- Do you have a cough, cold or flu symptoms, or fever?
- Have you travelled overseas or interstate recently or have you had contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
If you have answered yes to both of these questions, and you are well enough, please self-isolate at your residence and call the clinic on 8553 2037 (business hours) or hospital 8553 4200 (after hours) for further instructions.
If you have answered yes to both of these questions, and you are in distress, please attend the KI Health Service (phone ahead if able). If you are attending the KI Health Service, please follow the advice of staff, and do not enter the hospital until advised to do so. In an emergency, dial 000.
A testing centre has been established near the hospital. If you are concerned that you require testing, please phone the clinic on 8553 2037 during business hours or the hospital on 8553 4200 after hours. Staff will ask you some screening questions and then, if indicated, give you instructions for testing. Please do not attend the testing centre until you have been advised to do so by clinic or hospital staff.
We have had lots of enquiries about flu vaccinations are working with SA Health and our private suppliers to secure stock as soon as possible. At this stage we expect they will arrive by mid-April and we are currently making plans for flu vaccination clinics. We expect to be able to provide more information within the next two weeks.
Our advice in relation to reducing the risk of infection
The importance of social distancing at this time cannot be overstated. It is our best defence against the spread of infection.
Our advice, as outlined in video posted above, remains the same:
- Please practice dedicated physical distancing. Before you leave home, ask yourself – is it absolutely necessary? Can it be substituted? Can it be postponed? If you do need to go out (for example, to the supermarket or pharmacy) please go alone, and practice exceptional hand and respiratory hygiene.
- We advise that children are kept home from school or childcare, however NOT if it means they are not at home, NOT if it means they are in the care of a grandparent or vulnerable person; and NOT if it means that healthcare or other essential workers can’t go to work.
- We remain of the firm view that tourism and non-essential travel to KI MUST STOP immediately, and continue to advocate to the appropriate authorities in this regard. If you have friends or family wanting to visit, please ask them to postpone their trip. This is vital to enable us to manage our local health system.
Further information from SA Health can be found at https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/covid+2019/community/information+for+the+community+-+covid-19
The SA COVID-19 Information Line can be contacted by phone 1800 253 787.
The National Coronavirus Information Hotline can be contacted by phone 1800 020 080.
Please note that this information is current as at 29th March 2020 but is likely to change. Updates will be provided regularly.
To our fellow Kangaroo Islanders (22/3/2020):
Please find below an important notice from our Doctors (transcript follows):
To our fellow Kangaroo Islanders,
We at the Kangaroo Island medical clinic would firstly like to say that we stand with you and for you during this unprecedented time of health emergency across the world, from which we on Kangaroo Island are not immune.
We at the clinic – our doctors, nurses and administrative staff – are working calmly and proactively to keep you (and ourselves) as safe and as healthy as we possibly can in the weeks and months ahead.
You will have noticed a number of changes in the way we are doing business and structuring our appointments, and I do ask you to keep a close eye on our Facebook page, our website and the Islander for updates, bearing in mind of course that as the pandemic escalates, this advice may well be changing from one day to the next.
Our doctors are also your emergency and inpatient and critical care doctors at the Hospital, together with an excellent team of nurses and auxiliary staff.
We have your back – all of you, but we are going to be busy –
And we need your help.
That is why we feel it is important to put out a message that we hope the whole community will understand and participate in.
We must stick together.
There are – as of 12 noon Sunday 22nd March – no confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Kangaroo Island – but if they are not here already, they will come.
We believe the time has now arrived to practise dedicated physical distancing.
1. WHAT WE MEAN BY DEDICATED PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Before you leave your own home, please ask yourself – is it absolutely necessary?
– From this point on, large family gatherings, birthday parties, going to the gym and just about any meal out in a café, restaurant or pub fall into the category of NOT necessary. So please do not go.
If the answer is yes, necessary, ask yourself – can it be substituted?
– Can you work from home? Can you live stream an event? Can you do meetings via teleconference or Facetime? Can your meals or drinks be takeaway or home delivered? I have seen a number of Kangaroo Island businesses and organisations already moving to a different way of doing business, and we thank them for being proactive in that respect.
If it cannot be substituted, can it be postponed?
– If it can, postpone it. And be prepared for it to be postponed for months, not weeks.
If it cannot be postponed, ask yourself: have you been honest with the above questions?
– If no, please reconsider. This is serious.
If you have been honest, there should NOT be many reasons left to go out in public.
But there will be some. For example, to do the weekly shop. Please be assured that, even in Italy, where the situation is dire and tragic, the supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. Our freight will keep coming.
Our supermarkets will not close.
There is no need to hoard or panic buy.
Think about others.
But, when you go out – go alone. Perhaps you could offer to do the shopping for your elderly neighbour and leave it on the doorstep.
But please, minimise the time you spend out,
keep physical distance from others,
wave a lot (we are good at that on Kangaroo Island),
but avoid touching people,
and please, please practice exceptional hand hygiene with regular hand sanitisation, although there is nothing better than 20 seconds of proper scrubbing with soap and running water.
2. AM I COMING DOWN WITH SOMETHING??
If you or your children are sick, even with a sniffle, please stay home completely. We would encourage you, if sick, to stay home completely for a full 2 weeks. But for further guidance, watch our regular updates and if unwell, ring the medical clinic for further advice.
At this stage, schools remain open and the decision to close schools will be made by state or federal government. We have been asked by many people what our stance is towards keeping children at home and not at school or childcare.
Should you keep your children home?
Our answer is YES –
Not if it means grandparents or vulnerable people caring for them.
Not if it means they don’t actually stay home (eg. hanging out in groups or at friends’ houses).
Not if it means essential workers or healthcare workers can’t work.
Reducing class numbers will help with healthy spacing and creates more opportunities for those teachers and child care workers who may be vulnerable to be moved out of classes. To those teachers and school and childcare staff who remain, we say thank you: you are valued highly for everything you do.
4. THE RECOVERY EFFORTS ON KANGAROO ISLAND
Furthermore, we know that many of you are living on disaster sites after the bushfires. We have been advocating to council and other representative bodies, and will continue to do so, that provision must be made to prioritize your safety and living circumstances as we move towards winter.
We believe that bushfire recovery efforts constitute ‘essential services’ and we will support a coordinated community approach to the safe but sustained movement of essential traffic to and from the mainland.
If your family or friends want to visit Kangaroo Island now is NOT the time.
Ask them to rebook later this year or in 2021.
It is with great consideration of all factors that we have arrived at our FIRM VIEW that that TOURISM MUST STOP – TODAY.
This is vital to enable us as your local health system to manage the potential influx of severely unwell people AS WELL AS our usual influx of emergency presentations as safely and as effectively as we can.
6. LOOKING AFTER OUR MENTAL WELLBEING IN ALL OF THIS
For us, as locals, we are fortunate on Kangaroo Island in that we have easy access to remote and beautiful beaches and areas of wilderness where (unlike Bondi) we can walk, swim, surf, or sit without being in close proximity to others.
Take advantage of this.
And ring each other. Facetime, Skype each other.
Whilst physically we must be apart, emotionally we must stay close together.
7. ITS ALL ABOUT TIMING
We understand all too well what the impact will be of social (or physical) distancing, especially in a community so emotionally and economically traumatised by our recent bushfires. This new type of behaviour is not something we have to practise forever, but it is something we must practise right now to slow the spread of this virus. If we act now, when numbers in the community are low, we buy ourselves time and we can avoid completely overwhelming our already stretched and isolated health system, and we give ourselves the best chance of returning in some months to life without these measures.
Every single one of you has an important part to play, including doing everything we can to make sure we protect the most vulnerable people who are likely to get very sick or, in some cases, die. And to those people – the vulnerable – we say to you: we have not forgotten you. It is for you that we are saying this. And we will be there for you.