Important information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

St Vincent's is working closely with the State Government’s Department of Health to help protect and keep safe our patients, visitors, staff and doctors from COVID-19. Our hospital remains open and fully functional, with the appropriate safeguards and containment precautions now in place.

If you think you may have COVID-19, in Toowoomba:

  1. Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
  2. Self-Isolate
  3. Present to the Baillie Henderson Hospital, COVID-19 Fever Clinic, 10am-6.00pm 7 Days, or
  4. Present to the Toowoomba Hospital Emergency Department
  5. In an emergency, dial 000

Recommencement of non-urgent surgery

Update: 20 May 2020

In line with both Australian Government and Queensland Health advice, St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba is working to reopen all elective surgery services. Safety is our priority which includes management of ICU beds and personal protective equipment leaving our hospital ready to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

If you are scheduled to have surgery at St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba and have questions about your scheduled procedure, please contact your treating specialist for information.

The level of elective surgery will be reviewed monthly from May 2020 to ensure that it remains safe and sustainable.

The safety of our patients, hospital staff and doctors is our absolute priority.

Information on this page


Overview

We are closely monitoring, and proactively responding to the developments in Australia associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), in conjunction with both the Australian Government authorities and local public health units.

We understand the rapidly evolving and unprecedented and widespread effects of COVID-19 may result in high levels of concern, however we want to reassure you that we are well-prepared and well-resourced to manage the impacts.

We have strict infection control and prevention protocols in place to protect patients, health care workers and visitors to minimise the risk of any infection, including COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are documented on the Australian Government’s Department of Health website. If you are unwell and require urgent medical attention you should contact your GP or call 000 for an ambulance (this will work even without phone credit).


Information for patients

If you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days, please contact the hospital or your doctor before your scheduled appointment or surgery. If you are unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms, and are scheduled for a procedure, please contact your doctor before attending the hospital.

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Information for visitors

We are asking for your understanding that you consider not visiting the hospital unless you are an immediate family member or carer of the patient.

From 1 August 2020, are changing our visitor restrictions to exclude persons from the Metro South Health area, Ipswich (4305) and Raceview (4303). For a full list of suburbs affected please check the Qld Health website: https://bit.ly/39JlQ4m

On 2 August 2020, Queensland Health expanded the identified areas listed here as places in Queensland which are potentially at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. The excluded Local Government areas include:

  • Brisbane City 
  • Ipswich City
  • Logan City
  • Redland City
  • Gold Coast City
  • Scenic Rim

People who reside in any of these areas are not allowed to enter St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba to visit patients in our wards. Exemptions will be made for visitors providing end-of-life care.

Patients are not restricted. People attending outpatient appointment are not restricted, please access via Entrance 2.

This is to protect our vulnerable patients, staff, Visiting Medical Officers and other patients' visitors.

For a full list of suburbs affected please check the Qld Health website: https://bit.ly/39JlQ4m

Exemptions will be made for visitors providing end-of-life care.

Up to two visitors from non-restricted postcodes can see a patient in hospital during each of the allocated visiting times

Visiting times

2pm - 4pm

6pm - 8pm

Visitors please enter via Entrance 1

Up to two people may remain with a patient and are not restricted to the visitor times if they are:

  • Carers for children under the age of 18
  • Carers for a patient with a disability
  • Partner and/or support person/s when in labour in the birth suite (partners are allowed unlimited access for the duration of the stay)
  • Outpatient care appointments

You may not visit a hospital if:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You have been asked to self-quarantine
  • You have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • You have a fever (37.5 degrees or more) or a cough, runny nose, sore throat or breathing difficulties.
  • You are under the age of 16 (except siblings with one adult visiting the maternity ward, whilst maintaining two visitors per visiting time)

Speak with a nurse if you are providing end-of-life support.

  

If you enter the hospital, you must practice the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps.
  • Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

Social distancing

It is important to practice social distancing to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Important tips include:

  • You should aim to remain 1.5 metres apart at all times. If you are required to move closer than 1.5 metres, ensure that the time does not exceed 15 minutes
  • Do not shake hands
  • Do not share food

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Information for maternity patients

Maternity units are open and receiving patients.

If you are being admitted for observation, treatment or delivery, it is important that you follow the hospital’s instructions.

Please make sure your family and visitors are also aware of any precautions that may impact upon their ability to visit the hospital. There is a section above containing important information for all hospital visitors.

If you have any specific questions which are not answered above, please contact your hospital.

Have you recently travelled overseas or are you unwell?

If you have travelled overseas within the last 14 days prior to your planned or unplanned admission, or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should advise the hospital and your doctor so appropriate precautions can be in place when you are admitted, protecting you and others in the hospital. If you have had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19, then please alert the hospital so appropriate precautions can be implemented for your admission and follow the instructions from Public Health authorities.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, please alert the hospital and Public Health authorities. You will be able to be admitted but precautions will be put in place for your admission and remain in place until removed by Public Health.

Maternity tours and education classes

In response to the changing COVID-19 situation, for the safety of our patients and staff, we have taken the decision to postpone our group maternity tours and classes. In some cases, hospitals may hold individual tours where possible – please contact your hospital for more information.

Our maternity units are in the process of changing the way Childbirth Education classes are offered to our expectant parents during the COVID-19 situation. Please contact your hospital to find out if they have begun to offer online antenatal classes in place of hospital classes.

We will update you with new information in the coming weeks - we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Special events

Keeping in mind the safety of our patients, visitors, and health care workers, based on advice from the Australian Government, we have taken the decision to postpone or cancel large events and gatherings of more than 20 people.

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FAQs

What is this virus?

Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus first seen in Hubei Province, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and there has been a significant increase in new cases across many countries in Europe and around the world. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever OR an acute respiratory infection and include (but are not limited to) cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath with or without a fever.

How is the coronavirus spread?

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person by:

  • Direct close contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables or face masks) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Most infections are transmitted by people when they have symptoms. There is now some evidence that people could be contagious before showing symptoms.

How can I help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps.
  • Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

Where are the COVID-19 clinics and testing centres located?

COVID-19 clinics and assessment centres have been established at various sites across Australia. Please click on the relevant link below to view the services available in your state:

Can I still visit my specialist/doctor even if we are locked down for COVID-19?

Yes, visiting your doctor is considered an essential indoor gathering under current guidelines. That means you must adhere to social distancing measures by keeping a distance of 1.5m between yourself and other people and good hygiene practices including using hand sanitiser before and after your visit with your doctor.

What does isolate in your home mean?

People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home. There is no need to wear masks in the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.

How is the virus treated?

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care. Some people will require hospitalisation.

What are the restrictions on visitors at hospitals and clinics?

Given the evolving situation, we are restricting visitors to facilities. No more than two visitors will be permitted at any one time. Visitors to maternity units will be restricted to close family or carers only, and preapproved by the patient. Prior to your arrival, you should contact the hospital to confirm you can visit the patient. Additional restrictions may be implemented in high risk areas including Intensive Care Units, oncology units, dialysis units, and special care nurseries.

Should I wear a face mask?

A face mask will not protect you against becoming infected. While the use of face masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, face masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like novel coronavirus. If you are unwell with cold and flu-like symptoms, then a mask can be worn when you attend the hospital or GP office for assessment.

Where can I get more information?

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au.

Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.

Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Agency monitoring you.

Contact your state or territory public health agency:

  • ACT call 02 5124 9213
  • NSW call 1300 066 055
  • NT call 08 8922 8044
  • QLD call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
  • SA call 1300 232 272
  • TAS call 1800 671 738
  • VIC call 1300 651 160
  • WA visit www.healthywa.wa.gov.au or call your local public health unit