Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District limits hospital visitors

19 March 2020
COVID-19 news graphic image

As part of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's (ISLHD) response to COVID-19, visitor numbers are now being limited at each of the area's hospitals.

People are being advised to limit visitors to no more than two people at a time at Wollongong, Coledale, Bulli, Port Kembla, Shellharbour, David Berry, Shoalhaven and Milton Ulladulla Hospitals.

ISLHD Executive Director Medical Services, Dr Peter Jansen said the measures were aimed at reducing the risk of spreading the virus and asked for the community's co-operation and understanding during this time.

"Our hospitals are the frontline for dealing with COVID-19," Dr Jansen said.

"We need to take these important measures now to slow the spread of the virus within the community including health care staff. 

"We are asking visitors to stay away from the hospital, where possible. Please postpone visiting patients until they are out of hospital. 

"We are also advising people with flu-like symptoms, including fever, sore throat and runny nose not to enter our facilities. People who are extremely unwell with these symptoms should come into the ED, but we ask that you call ahead."

To assist with the numbers of people attending hospitals, Dr Jansen also encouraged the community to be aware of the criteria for COVID-19 testing to ensure ISLHD can prioritise and protect anyone at high risk of infection.

"The criteria includes anyone who has returned from overseas or had close contact with a confirmed case and developed symptoms within 14 days. Symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath," he said.

"Community members should seek medical attention by calling their GP or healthdirect on 1800 022 222."

"People who meet the criteria are also able to attend the COVID-19 Assessment Clinic at Wollongong Hospital which opened on Monday. Planning on a further two clinics is underway for Shellharbour and Shoalhaven and will open soon."

The hospital visitation measures are in line with a raft of Federal and State Government measures designed to slow the spread of the virus including promoting the importance of hand hygiene and social distancing. For more information, visit the NSW Health website.