Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As COVID-19 cases increase across Australian communities, it will have an impact on all aspects of our lives. As you know, this issue is dynamic and we will need to respond to changes and emerging issues.
Recommendations may change and evolve as more is understood about the virus and its manifestations, but for now we provide these recommendations which will hopefully reduce the spread of the infection. There is very little information as yet in relation to dialysis patients and kidney transplant patients in particular.

If you develop flu like symptoms, or think you may have corona virus, do not attend routine medical appointments, do not come to work, and if you are at work, put on a mask (if available) and go to a fever clinic or see your GP (refer to https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-know-the-signs)

There are fever clinics at a number of public hospitals as listed below:
• The Alfred Hospital
• Albury Wodonga
• Austin Hospital
• Barwon Health – Geelong
• Box Hill Hospital
• Monash Clayton
• Northern Hospital.
• Peninsula Health – Frankston
• The Royal Melbourne Hospital
• St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne
• Sunshine Hospital
• Wonthaggi Hospital

You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for further advice on 1800020080.

There are a number of practical ways to reduce transmission at work and at home:
• Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
• Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and now is the time to quit smoking. Call the Quitline 137 848.
• Don’t wear a face mask if you are well.
• If an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is available, these are also effective.
• Shaking hands is best avoided.

OTHER ADVICE
When the new seasonal flu vaccine becomes available, you should consider having it. This will not reduce your risk of COVD-19 but will prevent you from having both infections at the same time.
It is recommended that people over the age of 65 or with chronic lung disease should consider having pneumococcal vaccine if they have not had it in the last five years, and they may wish to discuss this with their doctor. For those under the age of 65 it is not funded on the PBS.


MELBOURNE KIDNEY SPECIALISTS PATIENTS

We have a number of steps in place, including hand hygiene for patients and staff, and the office and medical staff have temperature checks at the start of each day. If they have a fever, they will be asked to leave and attend a fever clinic

Attendance at appointments
To reduce your risk of infection, and the risk to others, we ask that you attend on your own where possible, and if a carer is required, do not bring others to the appointment.

Telehealth/appointments
The federal government has made it possible for consultations to be conducted over the phone. If you are concerned about coming into the practice, for whatever reason, please get in touch with our staff, and we can arrange a phone consultation.

Dialysis patients
There is almost no data at present, except one study out of China (as of 16/03/2020). That report suggested dialysis alone did not increase risk, with risk being determined by other health related factors. This data is limited

Renal transplant patients
There is as yet no significant report (as of 16/03/2020) in relation to kidney transplant patients. In the case of influenza, kidney transplant patients contract influenza more easily, tend to be sicker, and are probably more contagious.

Testing for COVID-19
The turnaround time for testing of COVID-19, at the current level of demand is increasing. You can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for further advice on 1800020080.
If you for any reason you seek testing for COVID-19, you should remain in self-isolation until the test result has been communicated to you. If you are a Melbourne Kidney Specialists patient can you please communicate the result to us? We are here for advice if needed for all our patients. It is recognised that these guidelines may quickly change as public health measures move from containment to management.


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