[March 19, 2020] With five cases of COVID 19 now confirmed on the Coast and specialised testing clinics open at Gosford and Wyong Hospitals, residents are preparing for more coronavirus impacts on the region.
Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) announced on March 13 that a female in her 30s had been diagnosed with the virus, with the diagnosis of a second woman, this time in her 40s, also confirmed on March 16.
On March 18, three more cases were confirmed: a female in her 30s who attended a wedding at Tumbling Waters Retreat, Stanwell Tops, on March 6; and a male and female in their 70s who recently returned from overseas and were travelling companions of the second case announced on the Coast, a woman in her 40s also recently returned from overseas.
A CCLHD spokesperson said staff were continuing daily wellness checks with all confirmed cases in the region, who remain in isolation and are doing well.
Close contacts of all five have been contacted and asked to self-isolate.
They are being contacted every day to check that they are well and any who develop COVID-19 symptoms will be tested for the infection.
CCLHD issued a reminder that all travellers returning or arriving from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days.
NSW Health is continuing to trace and respond to cases as they are diagnosed to slow any spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Following the initial announcement, the CCLHD faced backlash from concerned community members for not providing more information about patient zero’s location or movements, prompting a second statement.
“Please be assured, NSW Health notifies the public of any locations where there has been a risk of infection,” the statement said.
“This is so members of the public can monitor their symptoms and seek medical assistance if they become unwell.
“Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts should go into self-isolation to ensure there is no ongoing risk of infection.
“A close contact is someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for at least two hours.
“Locations where these cases live, work or have visited do not pose any ongoing risk to the public.
“Publishing private details, such as the location of individuals diagnosed, is a breach of privacy and serves no public health benefit.”
Meanwhile, clinics testing people with risk factors for COVID-19 are now operational at both Gosford and Wyong Hospitals.
The Gosford clinic, located at 75 Holden St, is adjacent to the P2 car park.
The Wyong clinic is located at Building C, opposite the Health Services Building.
Both clinics will operate seven days a week, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on weekends.
CCLHD advises that people who have developed cold and/or flu-like symptoms and have returned from overseas in the last 14 days or are a contact of a confirmed case, should be tested.
They are advised to contact their GP or call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for advice in the first instance.
Bookings at the clinics are necessary.
Gosford can be contacted on 4320 5055, Wyong on 4394 9200.
People who present with no symptoms or risk factors may be reassured that testing is not required and will be advised that they can return home.
A one-stop website with information and advice for the community and health professionals is available at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
This website is updated daily and includes Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and the best ways for the community to protect themselves and their families.
In line with this, people are urged to exercise good prevention practices including: staying home and away from other people if you are unwell with respiratory symptoms; following sneezing and coughing etiquette by covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or coughing into a tissue and disposing of it; and, cleaning your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water for 20 seconds or using an alcohol based hand rub.
CCLHD says you should also avoid anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms and stay at home if you are sick.
Meanwhile, the State Government announced $700M in extra health funding as part of its $2.3B stimulus package on March 17.
The government says the extra funds will assist in doubling ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment, establishing acute respiratory clinics and diverting elective surgeries to private hospitals.
March 13, 16, 17 and 18
Central Coast Local Health District
NSW Government website, Mar 17