COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) information and updates
30 March 2020
Darling Downs Health local information and updates
What is COVID-19 & what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans. The signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
If you, or someone you care for, is experiencing the above symptoms, take the COVID-19 quiz.
If you are concerned, please seek medical advice. You can call your GP, 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), present to our fever clinic or present to your closest emergency department.
Please call your closest emergency department before presenting if you are unable to attend the fever site in Toowoomba.
Who is most at risk?
- Anyone who has recently travelled overseas
- Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- People with compromised immune systems
- Elderly people
- First nations people
- People with chronic medical conditions
- People in group residential settings
How does COVID-19 spread?
You might catch COVID-19 if:
- Someone with the virus sneezes or coughs onto you
- Someone with the virus coughed or sneezed onto a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, and you get the infected droplets on your hands and then transfer them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat.
Is there treatment?
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection. As it is a virus, antibiotics are not effective. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
Fever clinics and testing criteria
Toowoomba has a drive-in fever site (fever clinic) set up at the Baillie Henderson Hospital. The site is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Sunday. Entry is via Burnview Avenue entrance. For more information on testing click here.
Testing for coronavirus is only available for people who are feeling unwell and have returned from overseas travel or have had contact with a confirmed case.
What is contact tracing?
As soon as a person is confirmed positive for coronavirus, we undertake contact tracing. This means we speak with the patient to retrace their steps and identify anyone who might have had close contact with them. If there are people at a higher risk, we follow up with them directly. If we can’t identify who could have been in close contact with a confirmed case, we issue a public health alert with specific dates, times and locations that you should be aware of.
For more information on contact tracing, click here.
How to prevent the spread
There are 6 ways we can all help stop the spread of this virus.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth. Avoid shaking hands, kissing or hugging
- Stay home if you are unwell
- Practice social distancing, which includes staying 1.5m away from others as much as you can
- Avoid gatherings if they are not essential.
Visiting our aged care facilities
The outbreak of any virus in an aged care facility can cause significant problems. As part of our efforts to manage the spread of coronavirus, and to protect our most vulnerable, we are no longer permitting visitors to our residential care facilities.
We understand this is hard, and we know visitors play an important role in a resident’s wellbeing. We are sourcing iPads, and staff will help residents to Facetime or call family and friends.
For more information, visit the Australian Government’s website.
Restricted travel to Cherbourg
Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council (CASC), on behalf of Cherbourg Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), advise that until further notice, travel to Cherbourg is limited to those people involved in the provision of essential services in the community.
These restrictions have been applied in the interest of the ongoing health and safety of Cherbourg residents.
Cancellation of elective surgery and outpatient appointments
As part of Queensland Health’s response to increase capacity and manage the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are postponing elements of routine procedures and outpatient appointments.
This will help increase capacity for emergency care and limit non-essential physical contact. This step is critical in helping hospitals manage the risk to patients and staff.
During this time, GPs will continue to manage non-urgent care locally and escalate urgent care with the assistance of a virtual escalation centre.
Over the coming weeks the following patients will receive information indicating if their appointment is unchanged, postponed, or converted to a phone or telehealth appointment where it is medically safe to do so.
- Outpatients who have an existing non-urgent appointment
- Patients on a non-urgent waitlist
- Patients waiting for non-urgent elective surgery.
Videoconferencing for consultation is an excellent way for providing care whilst maintaining social distancing, especially for vulnerable patients.
If your condition worsens during this extended period, seek advice from your GP.
Be assured all urgent outpatient appointments will proceed, either face-to-face or virtually, and all urgent elective procedures are continuing at this time.
Our hospitals, healthcare workers and GPs are working hard to balance the needs of the emergency, acute, elective and outpatient care of Queenslanders whilst ensuring they can continue to provide safe and timely care to those who need it most. Hospitals are creating additional capacity through partnering with the private sector and working with community partners to deliver urgent care.
Visitor restrictions and measures of entry to our hospitals
We understand you want to visit your friends and relatives while they are recovering in hospital. To protect the most vulnerable, and to manage the spread of coronavirus, there are limits on visitors to all hospitals within our region.
Each patient may have one visitor per day.
One person may remain with a patient at all times in the below circumstances:
*Carers for children under the age of 18
*Carers for people with a disability
*Partner or support person when the patient is admitted for care related to pregnancy
*Support person for emergency department or urgent outpatient care appointments.
We understand this is hard, and we know visitors play an important role in a patient’s recovery. Technology makes it easy to stay in touch remotely, and we encourage you to stay connected through phone, text, email, social media or video-chat.
For more information, please visit this link:
Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme
As part of our efforts to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals, we ask that patient travel forms be submitted electronically where possible.
- Stanthorpe residents are asked to email their forms to STANTHORPE_PTSS@health.qld.gov.au
- Taroom residents are asked to email their forms to Susan.Sharp@health.qld.gov.au
- Warwick residents are asked to email their forms to PTSS_Warwick@health.qld.gov.au
If you do not have a scanner, we will also accept a photo emailed to the above email addresses.
To access patient travel forms, or for more information, click on this link:
Do you have questions about coronavirus and how it will affect your pregnancy, birthing journey and baby?
We understand women due to give birth soon may be a little anxious about how the current health situation will affect them, their birthing journey and their baby. All birthing services across our hospitals are continuing.
In the link below, we answer the most common questions we have received from expecting mums.
As always, our midwives remain available 24 hours a day for ongoing support, and we encourage women to make contact with their midwife or doctor if they have any concerns or questions.