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What is coronavirus or COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infection. COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus, first reported in December 2019.

Symptoms can range from a mild flu-like illness to pneumonia. Some people recover easily while others may get very sick. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, shortness of breath and fatigue. There is no vaccination or treatment currently available and antibiotics do not work on viruses.

The virus is spread from person to person through close contact with an infectious person. Contact from droplets from an infected person or touching objects or surfaces that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person and then touching your mouth or face.

The number of diagnosed cases is increasing rapidly and the World Health Organisation has declared it a pandemic. This understandably led to some anxiety about health and safety for you and your family.

The situation is rapidly changing and we are putting procedures into place to help minimize the risk of transmission to you, your family and our staff.

What are we doing at Ultrasound Care to help protect you?

We care about you and your family. We understand that you feel worried. We have made some changes to the way we deliver our care to help minimize the risk of exposure for our patients and staff. Despite this pandemic, we will continue to maintain our high quality standard of care.

We encourage all patients, visitors and staff to use alcohol-based hand rubs often, which are freely available within the practices. We are wiping our hard surfaces multiple times a day.

We have made temporary changes to our staff rosters. Each site will operate as a silo. This means that we aim for all of our staff to work at only one site, to minimise the risk of transmission if an exposure does occur.

We regularly clean our hard surfaces including the front desk and pens. Regrettably, to reduce the risk of transmission to children we have temporarily removed many of the toys in the department. Those that remain can be easily cleaned. We have antiseptic wipes available if you would like one prior to their use.

To reduce the number of people in the practice and the risk of exposure we request that you only bring one support person to your appointment. We have recently introduced the Tricify system. With our permission, this will allow us to send images and short video clips to your mobile phone which you can then download and show family and friends.

The ultrasound rooms are cleaned after each patient. This includes the machines, cables and probes. Hand gel is available in every room and each ultrasound room has its own bathroom for patient use.

What can you do to protect yourself?

If you have a confirmed case of coronavirus you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, a sore throat we request that you seek medical attention and reschedule your appointment. We need to work together to protect others.

Good hand hygiene and social distancing help prevent the spread of viruses including coronavirus. Good hygiene includes covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, disposing of tissues properly. Washing your hands with soap and water, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, avoiding contact with people if you are sick and staying more than 1.5 meters away from people.

You may also want to consider postponing non-urgent appointments to a later date.

More information

If you are concerned, call the Cononavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Department of Health alerts are regularly updated and can be found at: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert