COVID-19 update #2

17 April 2020

Federal | State | North West Tas | HCI

Federal & State

Australia this past week has demonstrated that the national strategy of suppression/elimination is having success in slowing the spread of the virus.  In fact the Prime Minster has commented this week that the strategy has been not just been successful in slowing the virus, but it is reversing the growth in the number of cases. 

The Federal Government is still focused on social distancing, increasing testing, tracing and targeting outbreaks. The good news is that the national cabinet is now considering where restrictions can be lifted or relaxed. 

For the health industry, this means that restriction on Category 2 elective surgery and some important Category 3 procedures like IVF, joint replacement and cataracts will be lifted after the Anzac Day weekend. 

The full list of category 3 includes: 

  • IVF
  • Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)
  • Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)
  • Procedures for children under 18 years of age
  • Joint replacements (incl knees, hips, shoulders)
  • Cataracts and eye procedures
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures
  • Critical dental procedures

The lifting of restrictions is in part due to a now abundant supply of personal protective equipment and the lowering number of positive cases. 

North West Tasmania

In Tasmania, the majority of recent cases detected have been linked to the North West of the state. The Premier has noted that in the last few days we have seen a reduction in detected cases from this outbreak.  The State Government are continuing to increase testing and aggressively trace new cases. 

The Premier is strongly reminding everyone that, if you think might be suffering from any COVID-19 symptoms, advice from the State Government is to contact your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Public restrictions on the North West will remain in place in the short term. The Premier has said “there will be no change to restrictions until the advice is it is safe to lift them”. 

Australian Medical Assistance Teams and the Australian Defence Force teams now have the North West Regional Hospital Emergency Department up and running.  Over time, the North West Regional and the North West Private hospitals will be fully reopened and services will resume, subject to cleaning the different parts of the hospitals.  The Government’s priority is to reopen the critical care and maternity units.

HCI Update

In line with lifting elective surgery restrictions, the Prime Minister has announced a positive move back to Level 2 restrictions for dental services.  This means dental practices no longer have to treat emergency cases only and can resume normal treatments, subject to having the appropriate safe guards in place and ensuring patients are not high risk. 

As a member owned and not-for-profit organisation, Health Care Insurance remains focused on its members.  Consistent with Government advice, we have now closed our shop front but continue to provide support to members online and by phone. If you would like more assistance on this or any other matter in relation to your health insurance, please email enquiries@hciltd.com.au or call 1800 804 950.

Stay Safe, we're all in this together. 

Kind Regards

Jess Lyons


Sources:

Australian Dental Association, news:  The Prime Minister has announced a move back to Level 2 restrictions Level 2 restrictions, effective 27th April

Australian Dental Association - ADA DENTAL SERVICE RESTRICTIONS IN COVID-19

Ministers Department of Health – Elective surgery restrictions eased

Peter Gutwein, Premier of Tasmania – COVID-19 daily Updates

Prime Minister of Australia - Media statement Apr 2020 Prime Minister

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