Community Update COVID-19

Monday March 16, 2020

Monday, 16 March 2020

Dear Members of the Community,

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected people from many countries around the world. There are lots of people talking about it: health organisations like us, governments, the media, people on social media, your family and friends.

When so many people are talking, it can be tricky to figure out what you need to pay attention to, and sometimes it is hard to understand the information you’re being told. We’ve gathered some of the key facts you should know about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and information links are available on our website, via social media and updates from YH.  As this is a new virus and we are learning things about it all the time, we will make sure we keep this information is as up-to-date as possible.

The most important thing we want the community to know is that they should be aware of and informed about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but not alarmed. We are prepared to tackle novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This information will help you to be prepared, too.

The Australian Government has declared a pandemic. We are all working together to limit the impact on the community and are well prepared to manage rapidly evolving situation.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is asking health professionals across the sector to watch out for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in patients, residents, their families and volunteers and staff who may have travelled overseas, or transited through international airports and implement plans as appropriate.

So what is Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans.

Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

This coronavirus or COVID-19 is still new and as such we are still learning more about it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the global response to the novel coronavirus outbreak and is working with Chinese authorities and global experts to learn more about the virus including how it affects people, how it is transmitted and what countries can do to respond.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness

How does novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and how can I catch it?

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads between people, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes.

You might catch novel coronavirus (COVID-19) if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs onto you. You could also catch the virus if they have coughed or sneezed onto a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, getting the droplets on your hands and then transferring them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat.

How can you protect yourself?

The easiest way to protect yourself and your family is to wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing and maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters If you’ve travelled overseas you must observe the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days.   

If you have travelled overseas and begin to feel unwell – develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or respiratory illness – call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.  

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness—not coronavirus.

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to


What we are doing:

Yarrawonga Health has established a response team to oversee all coronavirus preparations. The team identifies key roles and draws on our existing programs and experience in this area. We meet frequently to review the latest data available to strategize accordingly for this rapidly changing event. Efforts include the implementation of visitor restrictions across the service, protocols surrounding presentation of a suspected case and testing. Our systems include mechanisms for early detection and effective management of cases and contacts.

Our plans include a range of interventions to minimise transmission and mitigate the impact of any outbreak. To date, there have been no COVID-19 cases detected via YH but we remain in a state of heightened awareness.

Yarrawonga Health is urging anyone who has been overseas recently or in close contact with someone who has and is intending to visit the health service to please contact us prior to arriving, on 0357438111. Yarrawonga Health is home to many vulnerable and chronically ill people, so we are taking a cautious approach to screening contractors, staff, community visitors, and volunteers to reduce the chance of inadvertently harming our patients and residents.

We urge anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and is feeling unwell to seek medical attention immediately.

Please call ahead to the GP surgery or health service and let them know your symptoms and travel history, to assist the health teams them prepare for your arrival.

More information can be found at

Now's a good time to lean on each other and draw strength from our community. We all share a collective responsibility to act to protect ourselves, our communities, and the most vulnerable among us.  


Yours in service

Elaine Mallows


Yarrawonga Health