Urgent surgery only, stage three restrictions looming

By Shepparton News

Goulburn Valley Health has cancelled elective surgery, and may test more people for coronavirus, as governments enforce further preparatory measures for a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said while the hospital had planned to cease elective surgery on Friday, the Federal Government's announcement has meant they have had to change their plans.

“GV Health will be communicating with patients that had planned elective surgery cases scheduled in coming days regarding their surgery and the change in arrangements,” Mr Sharp said.

“In addition, all patients on GV Health’s elective surgery waiting list will receive communication from GV Health in coming days.

“This will include avenues where patients can seek further support and care until elective surgery resumes.

“I acknowledge the suspension of elective surgery will mean some patients may have to live with longer periods of symptoms and pain related to the surgery they require.

“I regret this is the case and am sorry that people may experience such discomfort for longer.

“However, GV Health’s priority at present is to establish capacity in our wards to care and treat people with COVID-19.”

Mr Sharp also confirmed GV Health had received a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to "undertake random sample pathology testing" for COVID-19, and said this was being "progressed".

He said the hospital was in contact with the department "a number of times each day" regarding the supply of COVID-19 pathology testing kits and other products to support patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.

It was reported yesterday Bendigo Hospital would begin to test every fifth patient who presented to their COVID-19 screening clinic.

The State Government announced yesterday all public hospitals must wind back non-urgent, category three elective surgery by midnight today, following a similar announcement from the Federal Government.

Emergency surgery, and category one elective surgery — including urgent heart, neurological and cancer procedures — will go ahead.

Category two surgery, necessary within 90 days, will only happen if delays pose a serious risk to the health of the patient.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would apply in public and private hospital systems.

Mr Morrison also unveiled a national COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission that will be made up of former public servants and chief executives.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said some states would be taking "individual measures" because the spread was different across the country.

He said Victoria would be moving to a ‘stage three’ of restrictions but did not not say when.

“We need more time to get our health system ready for what’s coming,” Mr Andrews said.

“Every country in the world that is running ahead of us would give anything to have had more time.

“I want to reassure you that things like supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops — and a number of other essential services — will be staying open.

“But I want to be very clear: the more people ignore the rules and ignore the advice, the more this virus will continue to spread.

“For Victorians that means if you can stay home, you must stay home.”

Stage two restrictions include:

● Strictly limited numbers can attend personal training sessions, boot camps, funerals and weddings.

● A maximum of 30 minutes can be spent at the hairdresser or barber.

● Housing auctions and open house inspections are closed.

● Gyms, spas, salons and parlours (except health services) are also closed.