Jabs best defence against outbreaks

September 16, 2021 BY

Together: Bendigo doctors Andrew Mahony, Jan Yeung, Emma Broadfield and Simon Smith are calling on more residents to get vaccinated. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

LOCAL doctors have united to encourage residents to continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and the health system as COVID-19 cases spread in regional Victoria.

Intensive care specialist at Bendigo Health Dr Jan Yeung said there are increasing concerns that a potential outbreak in Loddon Mallee could put the health service, which only has six ICU beds, under strain.

“We know that patients that have COVID to the extent of needing ICU have spent far longer in ICU than those who don’t have COVID, which means our system will become overwhelmed really quickly,” she said.

“So we are worried particularly here in Bendigo where our health service can’t continue to expand, we need to be able to keep our community safe.”

Infectious diseases physician Dr Andrew Mahony, who also assists the contact tracing team, encouraged people to keep following restrictions and take advantage of the sunnier weather to battle lockdown fatigue.

“Now that we can at least get out of our houses and meet people outside for a short period of time that’s one good thing, it’s going to get better,” he said.

He said current efforts of contact tracing where cases are present in Mildura, Cohuna and Woodend indicate Bendigo is at risk of an outbreak.

“It just highlights that this is not far from Bendigo so we’re well and truly ready but we’re obviously hoping we don’t get to the stage where we’re flat out like Melbourne has been,” he said.

Head of the emergency department Dr Simon Smith said higher vaccination rates means the health system is still well equipped to deal with non-COVID related problems.

“It means we can still offer support for you and your family for other conditions aside from COVID, if you come into hospital with a heart attack or stroke or suffering from trauma, we’ll still be in a position where we can offer the best care we can,” he said.

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