Hospital restrictions swept back in

Anumber of restrictions were recently tightened across the Limestone Coast Local Health Network due to an increase in COVID cases in the Limestone Coast.

Visitors are not permitted, with exceptions for maternity partners, parent or one carer of a paediatric patient, carer or support person in cases of specific need via approval on a case-by-case basis and end of life care via approval on a case-by-case basis.

Aged care visitor restrictions allow one nominated visitor within aged care settings and children under 12 are not permitted, both subject to approval on a case-by-case basis such as end of life visitation.

The network’s Executive Director of Medical Services Elaine Pretorius said the challenge was not only the impact of COVID on the community, but also cases amongst their staff.

Dr Pretorius said there had been a very steep increase of COVID in the community along with a slight increase in hospital admissions for COVID patients.

Dr Pretorius said the modelling indicated the peak would be around mid-April and it appeared cases were currently headed towards that peak.

“So I expect that probably we’ll still see rising numbers for the next week or 10 days and then hopefully things will start settling down,” she said.

Dr Pretorius said when considering the impact COVID was having, there were four parameters to observe including community case numbers, number of cases under the care of the Community Response Team, number of admissions into the COVID ward and staffing.

“All of those parameters have shown an uptick, and for that reason we have to think about the things that we can control and we can control the foot traffic into the hospital,” she said.

“It is important to remember that people who are in hospital are particularly vulnerable and we definitely want to be sure that both our staff and our patients are safe, and that’s one of the things that we can control.”

In regards to the hospital coping with the stress of the pandemic, Dr Pretorius said it could vary from day to day.

“Some days it’s part of our usual day, but it is pretty hard work, it has been going on for a long time,” she said.

“But our staff are absolutely fantastic, and they just soldier on and we are very proud and very grateful to have this team that we work with.”

Dr Pretorius said it was important to maintain practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, masks, vaccines and, if unwell, staying home and getting tested.

Dr Pretorius hoped people would be sensible over the Easter period and continue with COVID-safe practices, otherwise another spike would follow towards the end of April.

“As much as we wish that COVID were over, it’s not, and I think it is important to remember the actions we take as individuals do impact on others,” she said.

“So the more sensible each individual is, the better for the community.”

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