Professor speaks out on Coffs COVID-19 cases
A Coffs Harbour Professor, who says the local Health District has a history of hiding information from the public, has spoken out about local cases of COVID-19.
Professor Ned Abraham has taken to Facebook to reveal there are two confirmed cases north of Coffs Harbour.
Professor Abraham is a colorectal surgeon and has worked at the hospital for 15 years.
He is fed up with what he says is a culture of inaction, bullying and lack of transparency at the local health campus.
In recent days, as the health crisis escalates, the Coffs Coast Advocate has been frustrated at the lack of information about confirmed cases in the Coffs Harbour area and has made several attempts to clarify the situation for our readers.
The Mid North Coast Local Health District will confirm cases in the region as a whole, but not give any more specific information about the location.
The latest attempt by the Advocate was met with the following email response from the Health District's Media and Corporate Communications division:
As you'd appreciate, we are extremely busy at the moment fielding a large number of media inquiries and undertaking communications with our staff and local communities.
We will be providing updates on confirmed cases for the Mid North Coast Local Health District as the situation changes. These updates will follow NSW Health issuing its daily media releases.
As previously advised, for privacy reasons we will not be disclosing specific location information of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Publishing private details, such as the location of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, is a breach of patient privacy and serves no public health benefit. This also applies to contacts of confirmed cases.
In an attempt to inform the public Professor Ned Abraham took to Facebook sharing a post from Southern Cross Medical Specialists:
"The Right to Know: There are 8 COVID-19 cases on the Coast: Seven in self-isolation and One was hospitalised (Port Mac), that's six around the Port Macquarie area and two north of Coffs Harbour... Social Distancing... Wash you hands and stay safe everyone."
The Mid North Coast Local Health District has opened a Covid-19 assessment clinic in Coffs Harbour.
Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick said the clinic is recommended for anyone returning from overseas who develop symptoms within 14 days of their return, people who have had close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case and develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact.
Testing is also recommended for people admitted to hospital with severe respiratory infection, even if they haven't returned from overseas travel, and for healthcare workers who have a respiratory illness or fever.
The Coffs Harbour clinic is open 10am to 2pm weekdays. Outside of these hours, people who are unwell should present to their local Emergency Department.
In Coffs Harbour, the clinic is open in the specialist on-call parking area near the Emergency Department.
For more details, call the MNCLHD Assessment Clinic Hotline on 1300 001 956.
The best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses such as influenza is to:
• Avoid touching your face
• Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• Cough and sneeze into a tissue, dispose immediately and wash your hands; or cough and sneeze into your elbow if a tissue is not available
• Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
• Stay home if you are sick