We could be like New York

cover-19 testingCoronavirus testing. Image: State Public Health Lab . Natalie Kolb

With no new cases of COVID-19 being reported on the Central Coast in weeks, local GPs are warning residents not to become complacent with their hygiene and social distancing as restrictions ease.

“We have done very well at containing this, but I think it’s important to realise that that is only because we have undertaken the measures that we’ve done so far,” said Dr James Wolstenholme from Mingara Medical.

“The social distancing, the hygiene guidance and the unfortunate closures that have happened, all those things together have resulted in us being able to control the spread of the virus very well,” he added.

Despite this, GPs are warning that the push for more widespread relaxation of restrictions could have disastrous consequences.

“You go back to normal, this time next month, we could be like New York.

“So, don’t just take it lightly.

“We have to be very careful,” said Dr Karim Ahmed from Killarney Vale Medical Practice.

GPs also want to reinforce with people how important it is to self isolate once they have a COVID-19 test.

“It’s absolutely critical that if you’ve been swabbed and if you’re a suspected case, that you isolate at home until you get the all clear,” said Dr Ahmed.

“These tests are not 100 per cent accurate, there is a percentage of false negatives, which means you could be carrying the coronavirus,” Dr Ahmed said.

“A negative test is just that, it is a snapshot.

“It means that you don’t have the virus at that moment.

“It doesn’t mean that you can’t get it.

“If you develop any new symptoms you have to seek medical attention, and being negative is not equivalent to being immune.

“So, the fact that you had symptoms and you tested negative doesn’t mean that you are immune to coronavirus,” Dr Ahmed added.

“The main risk is complacency.

“If we relax too soon, this will come back to bite us,” Dr Wolstenholme said.

Press release, Jun 2
Scott White, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network