Mass testing and ‘ring fences’: Victoria’s stage three COVID-19 response

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

As a community transmission-fuelled outbreak threatens to get out of control and suburbs are locked down, newsGP explores containment efforts and general practice’s role in stopping the spread.

Subject

COVID-19

Public health measures to reduce spread

Period30 Jun 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleMass testing and ‘ring fences’: Victoria’s stage three COVID-19 response
    CountryAustralia
    Date30/06/20
    DescriptionAs a community transmission-fuelled outbreak threatens to get out of control and suburbs are locked down, newsGP explores containment efforts and general practice’s role in stopping the spread...
    Such an approach would involve ordering people to not leave designated zones without special exemptions, but Associate Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC–QC), told newsGP he has reservations about the effectiveness of this strategy if it involves the creation of ‘enforced borders’ around hotspots.

    ‘This is a very problematic approach and very difficult to implement. People need mobility for essential workplaces and to access supplies and to fulfill carer responsibilities,’ he said.

    But Associate Professor Morgan agrees with the assessment that GPs’ unique skillset is currently being overlooked in public health efforts to contain the spike.

    ‘It has been one of the recurring features of emergency responses, that GPs are not part of the co-design,’ he said.

    ‘GPs know their communities. They have clinical information systems that can identify the vulnerable [and] GPs can support and help interpret and personalise public health messaging.

    ‘GPs can also help manage some of the secondary consequences of the pandemic by identifying people with unstable chronic disease, mental health concerns or people at risk of domestic violence.

    ‘These are vital roles that should be recognised as essential during any outbreaks of COVID-19.’...

    ‘Most respiratory infections are spread in the same way as COVID-19 – through droplets and touching infected surfaces – so every time a person catches a cold, something has slipped through the cracks,’ he said.

    ‘As a GP, I have seen an increase in coughs and colds since the reopening of childcare centres and schools. In my opinion, this is a marker that we have collectively allowed the conditions to exist for the rapid spread of COVID-19.

    ‘The sooner spread is stopped in its tracks by people staying away from each other, the shorter the period of lockdown needs to be. It makes sense to go hard and go soon.’

    PersonsMark Morgan