Mildura Base Hospital has confirmed a positive result has been returned to a test for COVID-19 by a patient to the hospital’s Emergency Department.

The patient reported to the Emergency Department last Saturday, and the positive test result was confirmed on Saturday by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

MBH Director of Intensive Care Dr Alison Walker said the patient had been self-isolating and that is continuing in line with best practice guidelines.

“The fact that we have had a positive test in our community should not create alarm – now that COVID-19 is in our community, we need to be calm and follow the best advice from our health authorities to minimise the spread,” Dr Walker said.

“We have reviewed the process undertaken when the patient presented to the Emergency Department, and all COVID-19 protocols were adhered to,” Dr Walker said.

“The patient was immediately isolated, and all health care workers involved wore protective equipment during the patient’s assessment,” she said.

“The patient was then sent home because they did not require medical care and they are following the isolation requirements.”

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support. All close contacts must self-isolate for 14-days.

Dr Walker said it was crucial that people did not simply report to a GP, hospital or health centre if they were concerned about symptoms.

“If it’s an emergency, you should always call triple-0 and advise what your symptoms are – but if it’s not an emergency, people should call the 24-hour, 7 days hotline for advice and information on what to do next,” she said.

“People who have concerns should not simply attend a clinic, medical centre or the Emergency Department, because that potentially exposes other people. Ideally, if we are aware someone is presenting with a potential case, we simply need to have arrangements in place for that person to present and to be tested, and that is best done through the hotline.”

The hotline number is 1800 675 398.

Dr Walker said the entire community had a role to play in limiting the impact of COVID-19 in Sunraysia.

“We ask that people continue to be vigilant in their efforts to reduce the potential spread by following social distancing measures and allowing our health services valuable time to prepare and be in the best possible position to manage the impact ” she said.

“We would also ask the community to be respectful and understanding of hospital and health service workers, who have a very tough job to do in the circumstances – we are all working together to support our community through this difficult time.”