Canberra Health Services Urges Residents to Stay Home as Winter Viruses Spread

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Canberra Health Services Urges Residents to Stay Home if Sick as Winter Viruses Spread

With the rise of winter viruses, including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Canberra Health Services is urging residents to stay home if they are feeling unwell. This comes as the region experiences an increase in acute respiratory infections.

Kathryn Squires, a Canberra resident in remission from Stage 4 melanoma and with a suppressed immune system, emphasizes the importance of staying home when sick. "If you've got COVID, stay home so we don't all get it," she said.

Canberra Health Services has implemented temporary infection-control measures at public hospitals, health centers, and walk-in clinics to mitigate the spread of these viruses. These measures include mandatory masks in clinical and public areas, limiting visitors to two per patient, and PCR testing for patients.

Dr. Sanjaya Senanyake, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Health Services, assures the public that there is no need to panic. "The intense period of the pandemic is gone, but COVID is here to stay. It's going to join in all the fun with the other winter viruses. So, we might need to get used to periods like this."

Dr. Kerrie Aust, president of the Australian Medical Association ACT, reports seeing more patients with COVID in her general practice. "Thankfully, in those that are vaccinated and have good immune systems, we're seeing a relatively mild illness at the moment," she said. However, she emphasizes the need to monitor the situation, especially for vulnerable populations.

Dr. Aust also notes that the winter flu season appears to have started early this year, and doctors are seeing patients with RSV and atypical pneumonias. She encourages everyone to ensure their COVID and flu vaccinations are up to date and consider wearing masks in enclosed public spaces.

"If you're sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery, definitely consider bringing a mask with you, because chances are someone in the waiting room is sick," she said.

By following these recommendations and staying home when sick, Canberrans can help protect themselves and others from the spread of winter viruses.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09