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UPDATE 18 March 2020 - Coronavirus COVID-19

March 18, 2020

NEW Queensland Health Public Health Alert 17 March

Queensland Health have released a new Public Health Alert dated Tuesday, 17 March 2020.

Read the Queensland Health Public Health Alert dated 17 March 2020 on the Queensland Health webpage for clinicians.

Testing Criteria

Please Note:
There is a world-wide shortage of pathology consumables and the following testing advice is in place.

COVID-19 testing should only occur if a person: ­

> Has fever OR acute respiratory symptoms; AND

  • travelled overseas within the previous 14 days, OR
  • had recent close contact (previous 14 days) with a confirmed case of COVID-19. ­

> Has severe community-acquired pneumonia requiring admission with no other identifiable cause. ­
> Is a healthcare worker with direct patient contact has a fever (≥37.5) AND an acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath, cough and/or sore throat).

Update to Telehealth MBS Item Numbers

The new COVID-19 Telehealth MBS items can now be claimed AND have been updated to include for services provided by obstetricians, midwives and nurse practitioners, with new short services for GPs and allied health service providers.

Changes include:

  • The 'usual GP' has been expanded to include where there has been a face to face attendance in the previous 12 months with the practitioner or at the general practice.
  • The 'need for a limited examination' has been removed from the GP and Other Medical Practitioner items.
  • A new short level A consultation.
  • The 'need for a limited examination' has been removed.

For a summary of further changes, please visit the MBS Online Summary webpage.

Medical Clearance Certificates

We have received a number of enquiries regarding how to respond to patients requesting COVID-19 medical clearance certificates. Given these requests have medico-legal implications, we advise you to check the website of your medical defence organisation - see links below:

Pharmacy and Medications

Community pharmacies have expressed concerns about requests for large numbers of repeat prescriptions issued under Reg 49 (previously known as Reg 24). While it is important for patients to have adequate stocks of medication, there is a risk that oversupply can paradoxically result in shortages. Please consider checking theMBS guidelines for Reg 49 before prescribing and consider pharmacy supply implications.

Useful Resources

General resources for clinicians

Darling Downs and West Moreton HealthPathways have been updated to include information about COVID-19.

Darling Downs
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West Moreton
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Contacting your local Public Health Unit

PLEASE NOTE GPs are asked to notify their relevant Public Health Units of 'suspect cases' of COVID-19.

Please discuss any cases of concern with your local Public Health Unit immediately so that appropriate actions and testing can be organised.

  • Darling Downs P 07 4699 8240 (business hours) P 07 3646 1699 (after hours)
  • West Moreton P 07 3818 4700 (business hours) P 07 3176 2111 (after hours, ask for public health)