NSW Health would like to thank you for your continued work in the response to COVID-19. In order to continue to identify any undetected cases and break chains of transmission, we need to remain vigilant. The key to achieving this is to test people with even the very mildest symptoms of COVID-19. While testing rates have been relatively high in recent weeks, we need to continue to encourage testing and remain on high alert. Clinically it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a mild case of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, so please encourage people to get tested. Testing should be repeated every time a new episode of symptoms occurs. Regardless of any alternative diagnosis, please tests ALL patients with even mild symptoms such as:-
- – fever
- – cough
- – sore throat
- – shortness of breath
- – runny nose or acute blocked nose
- – loss of smell
- – loss of taste
A full list of COVID-19 testing clinics is available here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics#find-a-covid-19-testing-centre-in-nsw. We also ask that you maintain your vigilance about infection control when managing suspected COVID-19 patients or any patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Please remember to maintain physical distance where practicable and use personal protective equipment.
Further guidance on the use of personal protective equipment in primary care settings can be found here: https://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/keep-patients-safe/COVID-19/personal-protective-equipment. NSW Health publishes list of venues attended by known cases.
Please encourage your patients to review this web page to find whether they may have been exposed: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates#latest-covid-19-case-locations-in-nsw.
Resources and guidance on how to complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your practice is available on the NSW Government website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe/general-practice-and-other-primary-health-service-providers.
Practices can also register through this website for a Service NSW QR Code to support contact tracing, should someone attend whilst infectious. You can find daily case updates on the NSW Health website here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/stats-nsw.aspx.
A greater level of analysis can be found in the weekly surveillance reports, available here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/weekly-reports.aspx Many GPs have broad community links and I encourage you to use this knowledge to promote testing and the importance for everyone to follow public health advice.
Dr Kerry Chant PSM
Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary | Population and Public Health1 Reserve Road, St Leonards, New South Wales 2065
Tel (02) 9391 9185 | Fax (02) 9391 9101 | Kerry.Chant@health.nsw.gov.auExecutive Support Coordinator | Laura Changizi | Laura.Changizi@health.nsw.gov.au