As you are all aware, we are now in stage 4 lockdown. Whilst this is an unwanted situation, it is vitally important to ensure we reduce infection rates and protect our community.
In the last few weeks we have detected multiple cases of COVID-19 through the Port Melbourne Respiratory Clinic, including some who reside in the Port Phillip local government area. These people are now isolating and the Department of Health has commenced their contact tracing. So, whilst we are still not considered a hotspot local government area, it is important that we all play our role in reducing transmission. It is also worth noting that community transmission is high and the source of origin is unknown in a large number of the positive cases, meaning we must all be careful when we go out and about.
Some key messages from us to you:
- If you are a confirmed case of COVID-19 and wish to see a doctor YOU MUST BOOK A TELEHEALTH APPOINTMENT IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. DURING THIS APPOINTMENT THE DOCTOR CAN ADVISE ON LOGISTICS OF REVIEW
- Wear a mask in public
- DO NOT WALK INTO THE CLINIC RECEPTION AREA IF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN/PARTNER WITH YOU HAVE ANY RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS (cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, loss of sense of smell or taste or shortness of breath) -please call for advice. We will be able to see you but cannot put our other patients or staff at risk
- Please follow the stay at home orders and social distancing measures
- Port Melbourne Medical will remain open 7 days per week
- Melbourne Pathology will also remain open 7 days per week
- There are strict infection control protocols at the clinic. These were instituted strictly initially and even more so as soon as restrictions were relaxed, as we were concerned this may result in a second wave. They have been tightened further as numbers started rising with this second wave. These protocols include not walking into the practice before you have been screened, and all patients will sanitise their hands and wear a mask. All touched surfaces are cleaned after every patient, and you will be asked to bring in as few items as possible.
- We will NOT turn anyone away, however for the safety of everyone, we ask that all symptoms, even if they are mild, are disclosed. We just have to know this information so we can ensure that you do not put anybody at risk. Please reschedule non-urgent appointments such as cervical screening if you are unwell
Why are we being so vigilant?
In the UK, it was clear that many cases of COVID-19 were being acquired in the GP and other medical waiting rooms. This is why our waiting room has essentially been closed since March. What we also know from the medical media and our own experience detecting COVID-19 in the Respiratory Clinic, is that some people with COVID-19 have NO SYMPTOMS or VERY MILD symptoms. So even if you only have a sniffle, or it feels like your typical winter cold/sinus infection, we must be on high alert.
PORT MELBOURNE RESPIRATORY CLINIC
Since the end of April, this clinic has been assessing and swabbing patients with infectious symptoms. This week we committed to providing this service for another 3 months, to continue our part of the health response to fighting COVID-19. We actively encourage our patients and any Melbournians to book in and be swabbed if they have any of the following symptoms, even if mild. This is funded by the Federal Government and is FREE for anyone with symptoms.
PLEASE NOTE: There has been INCORRECT information given out by various hotlines – Port Melbourne Respiratory Clinic CANNOT see anyone without symptoms, even if you have a letter or are a close contact. We CANNOT do pre-operative swabs. Unfortunately, the conditions of running this clinic is that you will be turned away from this service if you book in but do not have symptoms.
If You Are: Symptomatic
Eligibility Criteria for FREE COVID-19 Testing
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Muscular pain
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Acute respiratory disease/syndrome
- Muscle ache
- Stuffy nose
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
This clinic is NOT FOR ASYMPTOMATIC individuals, in any circumstances. We are not funded to see asymptomatic people in any circumstances. If you have booked in, you will unfortunately be turned away. To be clear, this clinic CANNOT SEE:
- Close contacts who don’t have symptoms
- People with no symptoms, even if they have a letter from the Department of Health
- People needing preoperative clearance swabs
We ask all patients who book into the RC to stay in their car until the doctor calls them. If you have waited more than 15 minutes past your appointment time, you can call to make sure you are in fact booked in.
The doctor will take a history from you over the phone and will then bring you through to the clinic, where you will sanitise your hands, then be given a mask if you do not have one. The examination required will be determined by the symptoms you are experiencing. You will then be swabbed, provided advice about isolating, how to manage your illness and what to do in the event that your symptoms change.
Results are currently taking between 2-5 days depending on the demand. Pathology will send you an SMS as soon as the results are processed. You will receive this result before we have received them. We do keep a list of all swabs taken and if we haven’t received them by day 4 we are actively chasing them already behind the scenes.
If you have severe symptoms please call 000
If You Are: Asymptomatic
There is a non rebatable Medicare cost of $195.00 for this service payable in advance.
(PCR TEST-COVID-19 AIRLINE SWABS FOR FLIGHT CLEARANCE)
*Results typically received within 48 hours but allow 72hours.
At Port Melbourne Medical, we have developed a process to offer swabbing for individuals and businesses who are seeking testing outside of the Government Respiratory Clinic testing criteria.
Examples may include:
- People leaving the country and who require a negative swab to enter their home country
- Return to work “clearance” or who are starting a new job
- Entering a hospital or having elective surgery or dental procedures
- Caring for an elderly family member or vulnerable person
- Required to work in confined areas such as building sites
- Having come in to contact with a confirmed case and have been advised to get tested however you don’t have any cold or flu like symptoms (asymptomatic)
- If you have received a letter from the Department of Health advising to get tested on day 11
Unfortunately, if you do not meet the Eligibility Criteria for FREE COVID-19 Testing as outlined above, you are not eligible for funded swabbing. At PMM, this will be conducted by one of our COVID-swabbing trained nurses and they will be in full PPE. If you have no symptoms you are not required to isolate pending results.
Please note: We CANNOT provide free asymptomatic swabbing in ANY CIRCUMSTANTCES, even if you have a letter. We are not funded for this. If you are having surgery, you may be able to get free swabbing through your hospital. Please speak to your surgeon. If you require day 11 close contact swabbing, this must be done at a STATE run service, such as the drive through clinics.
If you would like to have your swab done privately, please book in through our website portmelbournemedical.com.au.
Click on the Book Online link at the top right hand corner. Scroll through and select the Asymptomatic Covid-19 practitioner and select an appointment time suitable for you. Due to the cost of PPE and the fee for the swab, this appointment will require pre-payment.