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New coronavirus measures to be introduced to help doctors combat COVID-19


March 10, 2020 5:41:39

Respiratory clinics will be established and associated with general medicine surgeries for an increasing number of people diagnosed with coronavirus.

Key points:

  • Australian medical officer warned doctors of “very real possibility of large-scale community outbreaks”
  • New measures have been put in place to help primary care workers, such as family doctors, cope with an expected increase in cases
  • The federal government is working on a major public information campaign and will make the coronavirus hotline available 24 hours a day

In a letter to all doctors in Australia, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy outlined new measures to help the medical community fight the spread of the virus.

He warned of the “very real possibility of large-scale outbreaks across Australia, entailing a significant burden on the health system.”

“It is no longer realistic that we can prevent further import of cases,” wrote Professor Murphy.

According to the letter, obtained from ABC, respiratory clinics will be set up alongside GP practices to evaluate suspicious cases and provide early treatment for patients with mild symptoms.

They will be similar to the fever clinics already established in some state and regional public hospitals.

The letter states that there is still no certainty about the coronavirus case death rate (CFR), “as the estimates of some countries seem to be overestimated by the underestimation of mild cases.”

“It seems reasonable to assume a CFR of around 1% in a country like Australia with a strong healthcare system – it may even be lower,” the letter says.

Biweekly updates to address the doctor’s “confusion”

Some doctors and medical groups have criticized the lack of government information and mixed messages about who to test the virus for.

Professor Murphy’s letter acknowledges that “the evolving nature of the epidemic” has led to “some confusion and a perception of information inconsistency / information gaps”.

The letter states that doctors will receive written updates twice a week.

To improve community understanding of the epidemic, the federal government will launch a major public education campaign and make the COVID-19 hotline available 24 hours a day.

Private labs will soon be able to test coronavirus, together with public health labs, so that more people can be tested, the letter says.

Medical teams have requested a Medicare discount for consultations on telemedicine, so that people who may have coronavirus can be evaluated on the phone.

The government considers a Medicare discount for telehealth

The letter reveals that the government is considering a discount “to allow remote consultation of patients with suspected COVID-19 and patients at risk who do not want to be exposed to COVID-19 by attending the clinic.”

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President Harry Nespolon said GPs welcomed the new measures to help doctors.

“We ask for a discount on telehealth for about a month. This will allow patients to be evaluated safely,” he said.

Patients who want telemedicine advice should call their clinic, then wait for a call from their doctor.

“Doctors would examine the patient’s symptoms and, if appropriate, send a form to a private pathology practice where they can be tested and self-isolated until they get the result,” said Dr.

“It would be a very positive step.”

Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone said that telehealth consultations have been a more effective use of time than committed GPs.

“They can quickly and accurately see which patients need more treatment, remembering that 80% of people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and will not need medical attention,” he said.

The shift of online medical care and keeping people out of clinics has been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the reasons why COVID-19 cases in China have started to fall.

Answers to your questions about the coronavirus

Test reserved for the most at risk

Current official advice states that anyone who has returned from abroad and has a cough, sore throat, fever or general flu and cold symptoms should be tested for coronavirus.

Anyone who has been in contact with a coronavirus case, or who thinks they have been, should be tested.

Patients with very severe and unusual pneumonia are also being evaluated.

“We are not currently suggesting that people in the general community who have not traveled or have been in contact with suspected or confirmed cases should be tested,” said Professor Murphy.

“This could change if we have a further spread of the virus community in Australia.”

If more widespread community transmission occurs, “attention will shift to early detection and home isolation of cases to prevent or delay transmission, with less emphasis on finding contacts which is generally unlikely to be very contagious. “.

The COVID-19 hotline can be called on 1800 020 080.





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