THE coordinator of Mildura Base Hospital’s COVID-19 pandemic response has urged the community to stay vigilant on containment measures over Easter.


MBH Director of Intensive Care and Anaesthetics Dr Alison Walker PICTURED said Easter would be a challenging time and an additional two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mildura this week were a reminder about the importance of staying home if possible.


“If you can stay home, you must stay home. Complacency is our biggest risk with this disease, and Easter is one of those times when people might just think they can do a little something extra, or catch up with a few friends and family,” Dr Walker said.


“Please just don’t! This community has been amazing in how it has responded. We’re all making sacrifices and we are all doing it hard. But there are now some signs that this is paying off and that’s what we need to keep thinking about,” she said.


“Our isolation is something we often complain about – but in this case, it is an opportunity for us to really have some control about how coronavirus impacts on us as a community.


“I am so proud when I drive to or from work and things are quiet in the streets, or when I see people practicing social distancing.


Everyone is doing their bit. That makes my job easier, and it is making the outcomes better for all of us.”


Dr Walker said the release of modelling by Federal Government this week was encouraging – but should not change anything about people’s behaviours.


“As far as modelling goes, it’s a moving target, depending on what’s happening across the country, but more importantly, what’s happening locally,” Dr Walker said.


“The figures we were modelling a month ago are no longer relevant to where we are now, so I don’t think it’s helpful to talk about specific numbers,” she said.


“We are putting plans in place and organising our resources to handle all of the possibilities for Mildura, but our goal together has to be to achieve the best outcome we can.


“The number of people we need to manage clinically in Mildura is entirely in our own hands as a community, in how well we manage our own actions in social distancing and how well we ‘just stay home’.”


Dr Walker said she was encouraged by the community understanding and support for the restrictive measures now in place at Mildura Base Hospital and other health and aged care facilities.


“There are changes in practically every way we are living our lives at the moment and the restrictions the State and Federal Governments are requiring us to put in place at the hospital at a local level are tough,” Dr Walker said.


“It’s emotionally distressing if you can’t be with a family member or a friend who’s in hospital, or if you can’t be with them as long as you would like, but the restrictions are very clear, and there are very few exemptions being allowed by the DHHS,” she said.


Dr Walker said it was critically important for people not to do things over the Easter period that could impact on the outcomes for the whole community.


“It still comes back to the measures we know are working – If you can stay home, you must stay home. Wash your hands with soap often; cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow; and isolate at home if you feel sick,” she said.


“These are simple things everyone can do, but if we are vigilant, they help avoid transmission of the virus. They will help us delay any potential peak here in Mildura and they will significantly reduce the number of sick people our system needs to manage.”