Why our GPs are sending suspected COVID-19 cases away
NORTHERN Rivers GPs are sending suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) cases away to protect their own staff and patients, according to a senior local medico.
Dr Chris Jambor, a senior GP at Grant Street Clinic in Ballina, and a member of the board at the Northern NSW Public Health Network, confirmed other clinics were sending patients with respiratory infections away.
"As we know more information about this virus, the guidelines are changing every day, so some local clinics - which I will not name - have made the decision to say 'don't come in; if you've got a fever, a viral infection or flu-like symptoms, don't come into the clinic, call the 1300 number'," he said.
Part of NSW Health's official advice for the population regarding COVID-19 is for people with symptoms to call their local public health unit on 1300 066 055, where they will assess you and advise on what to do next.
"The problem with that is that it will overwhelm the hospital system, and keep people potentially spreading the disease out in the community," Dr Jambor said.
"If your GP clinic isn't going to see you, the only place you've got to go is the hospital."
Based on that, Grant Street Clinic has started using a 'fever clinic' model, where patients with respiratory illnesses are assessed by a doctor before they enter the common waiting area.
Medicos will assess possible COVID-19 patients in the car park, to protect staff and other patients from the virus outbreak.
Dr Jambor said coronavirus and COVID-19 were two different things.
"COVID-19 is different to coronavirus," he said.
"Coronavirus can infect children and they contract a regular cold and can produce a case of the flu in adults. Coronavirus is a common virus that has been around forever.
"The COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus is a new type of virus, a brand new mutation of that virus, that can cause serious illness."