Continuing the fight against COVID-19
Published at: 28 Aug 2020
IT HAS BEEN SEVERAL MONTHS SINCE GV HEALTH BEGAN PREPARING FOR THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. THE HEALTH SERVICE HAS RAMPED UP ITS RESPONSE IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS AS GREATER SHEPPARTON HAS RECORDED NEW ACTIVE CASES. GV HEALTH CHIEF EXECUTIVE MATT SHARP HAS SHARED AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THE GOULBURN VALLEY COMMUNITY.
A MESSAGE FROM GV HEALTH’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE MATT SHARP…
I would like to sincerely thank the Goulburn Valley community for their support of GV Health and all our staff as they work tirelessly regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would also like to commend the community on the great effort everyone has been making to adhere to social distancing rules, the wearing of masks in public, continuing with good personal hygiene and staying at home other than the four reasons for being out and about.
With all of you adhering to Stage 3 restrictions, it has contributed to the region’s comparatively low numbers of people testing positive to COVID-19.
I urge you all to please continue to remain vigilant with the current restrictions so that we can stop the spread of COVID-19.
I know some of the things we are being asked to do can be difficult at times, however, please do not become complacent, and stick to the requirements.
If we can continue to drive the number of positive cases down, we will be able to go back to spending time with our friends, family and loved ones, all of whom we have all missed greatly during this pandemic.
Accessing health services
Please continue to attend your normal medical appointments, care and treatment from health care providers such as GP clinics, community, mental and acute health services.
We have seen some examples of patients not accessing care early enough and they have become more unwell, which has resulted in poorer health outcomes that could have been prevented.
I understand that some people are concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19 if they are attending a health care provider, however the community can be confident that GV Health has robust procedures in place to manage and treat patients with suspected COVID-19 and it is very safe, and indeed important to continue to access health care.
All hospitals and health care services have had to put in place specific restrictions to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff.
I appreciate these restrictions may cause anxiety and challenges in some circumstances, and apologise if this is the case. However, they are important.
When you do visit a GV Health facility you will have your temperature checked and be screened for COVID-19 and you will also be provided with a Level 1 surgical mask to wear when you are in our buildings.
GV Health has established a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team to work with people and health care providers across the Hume Region who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The purpose of contact tracing is to identify contacts of people that have tested positive to COVID-19 and assess what the risk might be that they have been exposed to the virus.
The team also provides monitoring and advice to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as identifying close contacts and communicating how to monitor their symptoms and isolate effectively to reduce the spread of the virus.
If you are contacted about a person who has tested positive to COVID-19, you must provide honest and reliable information.
This is essential to ensure the contact tracing process occurs as quickly as possible so other people potentially at risk can be identified.
Keep mental wellbeing in mind
WITH SUCH A FOCUS ON PHYSICAL HEALTH CURRENTLY, GV HEALTH IS REMINDING PEOPLE TO LOOK AFTER THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AS WELL. THIS IS A CHALLENGING TIME, SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING.
GV Health’s Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health Service Divisional Clinical Director Ravi Bhat said there were many reasons why COVID-19 could negatively impact on people’s mental health.
“The uncertainty because of the pandemic could be one such reason,” he said.
“The everyday things that we took to be predictable have been upended.
“We are social beings. Although we cherish our individuality and value independence, we must remember that human connection is important to our health.”
Mr Bhat said it was particularly important to remember those who had mental health problems or mental illness.
“It is these people that the pandemic has affected even more than others,” he said.
Mr Bhat said another factor was the importance of work (including school) in giving structure, purpose, and meaning to our lives.
“The pandemic has resulted in dramatic changes to how we work and to many people it has sadly resulted in loss of work and employment,” he said.
Mr Bhat encouraged people to try to sustain their social connections as much as possible within the restrictions imposed by the Victorian Government.
“If we know people who do not have access to a phone or devices, it may be good to try and reach out to help such people with access,” he said.
Mr Bhat also stressed the importance of getting regular exercise which was reiterated by GV Health Chief Executive Matt Sharp.
“Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regime,” Mr Sharp said.
Mr Sharp also encouraged people to engage in the hobbies they enjoyed and to avoid or reduce consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
“You may feel stressed listening to the news, so make sure you receive information through trusted and credible sources,” he said.
Mr Bhat encouraged people to engage with the services provided on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website where there is a range of videos, tips and resources to support your mental wellbeing during COVID-19.