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COVID-19: GP Alert (15 June 2020)

June 15, 2020

False positive COVID-19 tests

The issue of false positive COVID-19 tests was recently in the media and is a concern for many clinicians and consumers. The Public Health Laboratory Network has issued a detailed statement. They emphasise that ‘the likelihood of false positive results occurring is very low’.

Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology report

Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology publishes weekly respiratory viruses and SARS-CoV-2 reports that can be viewed without the need for a login. The striking finding is the high incidence of rhino virus.

Resources

  • The Australian Resuscitation Council recently published FAQs about resuscitation during COVID-19.
  • The University of Melbourne have developed a free module, ‘communication during COVID-19: preparing clinicians to tackle challenging questions’. To enrol, click here.

Preparing for a COVID-19 outbreak in RACFs

Queensland Health, in partnership with key stakeholders, is finalizing a state-wide, comprehensive Rapid Response Plan. Any positive COVID-19 test in a RACF should trigger a formal notification process. This, in turn, will initiate a site visit by a Rapid Response Team (RRT) from Queensland Health. The RRT will work with all stakeholders, including the HN and GPs, and help coordinate the local response.

More information will be shared as we receive it. For now, general practice teams may wish to consider their level of preparedness for an outbreak in the facilities they visit. Specific actions that can be taken now:

  • Schedule a meeting with the Facility Manager or ask that they share their COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Clarify PPE availability (will you need to bring your own?)
  • Confirm details of key contacts to ensure timely communication
  • Test or establish Telehealth and digital prescribing processes
  • Review or create Advance Care Directives with residents

Free, confidential telehealth consults for doctors and medical students

Doctors and medical students around Australia now have access to free, confidential telehealth mental health services through the new Drs4Drs Support Service, which has been established by Doctors’ Health Services Limited (DrHS).

The Drs4Drs Support Service provides crisis support as well as non-urgent mental health support, and complements services provided by the network of State-based doctors’ health advisory services that are also funded by DrHS.

Accessing the Drs4Drs Support Service is simple. Doctors and medical students can call 1300 374 377 (1300 DR4 DRS) or visit Drs4Drs.com.au - a national one-stop-shop for wellness and support resources for the medical profession.

Interstate Travel Regulations and Medical Workforce

Advice has been provided around regulations for interstate practitioners travelling to provide services in rural and remote Queenslanders.

  • Practitioners travelling to practice in Queensland will be urgently processed for an exemption to work in Queensland. Exemption Request Form and emailed to CHO-COVID@health.qld.gov.au
  • Out of regular hours applications for exemption can be submitted via: State Health Emergency Coordination Centre (SHECC) on 07 3708 5242.
  • For practitioners living and travelling within Queensland to practice the regulations do not apply.
  • Quarantine requirements will ONLY apply to interstate practitioners who have travelled to an identified 'hot spot'.
  • Assistance should a community's workforce come under pressure because a visiting practitioner has visited (or are from) an identified hot spot and their services not be available to a community.

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: