Clinic News

New Street Medical Centre would like to announce that Dr Owen Lu is no longer practicing at our clinic.

We would like to thank Dr Owen Lu for spending the last 11 years with us and it is with warmest personal regards that we wish Dr Lu all the best.

New Street Medical Centre would like to thank all our patients and staff for their support during 2020. We have all had a challenging year and we are so glad that we are slowly able to return to COVID normal. All our staff would like to wish everyone a happy and safe festive season.

Please make sure you have enough prescriptions to cover you over the holiday period – especially if you are travelling!

Our practice will be open over the festive period for your convenience excluding Christmas Day. We will be closing at midday on Christmas Eve.

The clinic will have fewer Doctors rostered on between Christmas and New Year, so priority will be given to Urgent Appointments during this time.

We hope everyone has a safe Christmas and Happy New Year.

Let’s hope for a better 2021!

Movember is the leading charity that helps raise awareness of men’s health. In particular testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average 6 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons.

Unchecked, prostate cancer rates will double over the next 15 years. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15-39 years of age. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

Compared to women, men are three times more likely to die by suicide in Australia. One key element is communication. Men sometimes aren’t comfortable reaching out and opening up about life’s challenges – or they think they’ll be burdening their friends if they do.

If someone you care about seems to be going through a tough time (which many of us are in the current climate of COVID-19), they might not talk about it even if they want to. The first step in looking out for them is reaching out.

Movember provides some great tips on how you can prepare yourself for a tough conversation.

If you or someone you know needs help immediately, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If life is in danger call 000.

Prostate Cancer

1 in 6 Aussie men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer in Australia is among the most commonly diagnosed in men. Around the world, more than 1.3 million men are given the diagnosis of prostate cancer every year.

Early detection is key. If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing – a simple routine blood test. If you’re of African or Caribbean descent, you need to start that conversation at 45. And if you have a brother or father with prostate cancer in their history, do it at 45.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young Australian men.

At greater than 95%, the odds of survival for men with testicular cancer are better than good – but for some men, long-term treatment-related side effects, mean quality of life is severely compromised.

Men with undescended testes at birth, or who have a family history, like a father or brother who has had testicular cancer, are at an increased risk. And if you’ve had testicular cancer before, there’s also a heightened risk it could return.

If you think you are at increased risk, talk to your GP.

To find out more about Movember or make a donation, visit their website.

New Street Medical Centre is very excited to welcome back Dr. Taryn Lurie from extended leave.
Dr. Lurie will be consulting on Tuesday and Thursday mornings commencing Thursday 5th November.
All patients and staff will be very happy to see Dr. Lurie working again at the clinic!

As part of our ongoing medical service, New Street Medical Centre is very happy to announce that we can now provide your prescription electronically. Your Doctor will be able to SMS or email you a link to a QR or barcode token. This is called an ePrescription, or eScript. Please note that eScripts are only available for patients with a Medicare card (or a DVA card). This new service avoids the need for patients to collect a paper prescription for their medications.

What do I need to receive an eScript?

You must have a smart phone or an email address to receive your eScript. You can have the eScript sent to a family member or friend if you wish. You must provide their phone number or email address during your consultation with your doctor if this is the case.

When do I receive my eScript?

We will send your eScript during your consultation. This will come through as link to a QR code that you will provide to your pharmacist.

How do I fill my eScript?

You simply need to go to your pharmacy and present them with the token sent to your phone or email. Your pharmacist will do the rest. There are also apps available to assist you with storing your tokens for repeats, such as eRx or MedAdvisor. These applications also allow you to submit your script to a pharmacy from the app, so when you arrive at the pharmacy your medications are ready for collection. In future, patients with several ongoing medications will be able to share their Active Script List (ASL) with their pharmacy to make managing prescription’s even easier.

Does my Pharmacist need to be eScript-capable?

Yes, your pharmacist must also be eScript capable. If they are not, we will continue to provide you with a paper prescription.

eScript-Capable Pharmacies 

If your pharmacy is not taking eScripts, we will provide you with a paper prescription unless you have checked with your pharmacist to confirm they can receive eScripts and communicate this to your GP during consultation.

Do I receive multiple eScripts for multiple medicines?

You will receive one eScript per medicine. If there are repeats for a particular medicine, your pharmacy will send you a new token for each repeat. Any repeats for a prescription issued with an initial eScript will also be electronic. When you fill the initial eScript, the pharmacy will issue you with a new token for your next repeat – you will need to keep the new token for the next time you need the medicine.

From 7 August 2020 until 31 March 2021, an additional 10 individual psychological therapy sessions are available to eligible people under the existing Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative.

To access these additional sessions, people must have an approved treatment plan (either a Mental Health Treatment Plan, shared care plan, psychiatrist assessment and management plan or approved written record) and have undertaken a review of this plan with their GP psychiatrist or paediatrician. You cannot claim these sessions withing 3 months of your previous plan or review.

This will allow patients to continue to receive mental health care from their eligible psychologist, GP or other eligible allied health worker.

The additional sessions are for people who have already used their 10 Better Access sessions in the calendar year and who are:

  • in an area subject to public health orders restricting their movement within a state or territory issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021; or
  • required to isolate or quarantine under public health orders for at least 14 days.

The below factsheet provides guidance on these services –$File/COVID-19-Mental-Health-14Aug20.pdf

Update 30th April 2020

New Street Medical Centre will be temporarily CLOSED on Sunday’s during the COVID-19 pandemic starting Sunday 3rd of May 2020.

We will still be open Monday to Saturday to assist with your medical needs.

On Sunday if you do feel like you require medical attention the following services are available:

  • Please call 000 for any urgent medical needs
  • Please call 13SICK – LOCUM DOCTOR SERVICE or use the 13SICK app to book a telehealth consultation or a home visit. Following the consultation the Doctor will send a medical report to your GP the next day, ensuring continuity of care.
  • NURSE-ON-CALL puts you directly in touch with a registered nurse for caring, professional health advice around the clock. Call 1300 60 60 24 from anywhere in Victoria for free health advice, 24 hours a day.

Please call 9595 9777 for Monday to Saturday appointments or book online via this link.



Update 21st April 2020


All Patients can now call the medical centre and request a telephone consultation or visit HOTDOC to book online with your usual Doctor.

  • ALL our Doctors can offer bulk billed phone consultations to eligible patients with a Medicare card. If you are ineligible for a bulk billed phone consultation, a private fee will apply which you will be able to claim the rebate from Medicare.
  • If your doctor determines that you require a face to face consultation, this will be arranged during the phone call. Please note that for face to face consultations, normal fees will apply.

New Street Medical Centre aims to continue to provide quality services in the safest possible way. We have implemented various safety strategies to protect staff and patients.



      Be sure to smile and say hello to our screening RN Ruth Baxter!






In view of the new changes, we have changed our clinic services as follows:

Scripts and Referrals

All scripts and referral requests will now be handled by phone appointments. The online script and referral requests will be disabled.

Abnormal test results

Any test result requiring follow-up will be via telephone appointment. You will be contacted either by SMS or telephone if your result requires a follow up so that you may make the necessary arrangements.

Telehealth appointments

These may be made online or by calling reception.

If during the consultation, the doctor determines that a face to face appointment is required, then the doctor will inform the patient of this and arrangements will be made.

Clinic attendance appointments

Sometimes we just need to see what the problem is in person e.g. a blood pressure check or a rash. We will continue to provide access to the clinic in the safest possible way.

We have implemented strict infection control measures according to the Department of Health policies to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. These measures will provide you with the assurance that your attendance to our clinic is safe.

Procedures, iron infusions, and wound care

These services will be provided with a clinic attendance as they do not meet the requirements on a phone consult.

Home visits

The doctors providing nursing home visits will continue to do so. Our Doctors will not be providing home visits.


We will continue to provide a vaccination service for our patients. Influenza vaccination clinics have been set up and patients may either call or book online to access a flu vaccine appointment. We encourage all patients aged >6months to have their Flu Vaccination and have adequate supply for existing and new patients.

Childhood vaccines will continue as scheduled with our Practice Nurses. If your child is unwell, the vaccination will have to be delayed until they are well.


PLEASE NOTE that we are not closed. Our doors remain open to our community and people are free to attend. We are simply trying to control our environment to reduce the risk of a suspect case entering the building without being properly screened.


Suspected COVID-19

If you have recently travelled overseas or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID -19 but do not have any symptoms and are not unwell, please quarantine yourself at home for at least 14 days. Please be sure to practice good personal hygiene and frequent hand washing while strictly remaining in your home. If you become unwell during this time and believe that you may require screening please contact one of the dedicated COVID-19 testing clinics based at major hospitals including MMC Clayton, Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospital (call pre arrival – 9076 2000). Alternatively call the national hotline on 1800 020 080, the Victoria Health Department on 1800 675 398 or see the Victorian COVID-19 website –

The 2020 Flu Vaccination has now arrived and is available for existing patients.


Flu vaccines are now in stock for all patients aged over 6 months, including both government and private stock.


We ask that you book your appointment online if possible so that you can see the available times and book suitable times for you and your family. A separate flu vaccine appointment needs to be booked for each family member who needs a vaccine. If you are booking your flu injection with the Doctor and not the nurse, please not that a standard consultation fee may apply.

Our nurses have set up vaccine clinics within the practice and appointments are available ALL DAY Monday to Friday.



Due to the current COVID 19 pandemic we have set up an excellent screening, administration and waiting system so when you present for your flu vaccine you will easily be able to maintain social distancing recommendations. We have hand gel and hand washing facilities available.

It is going to be important to try to stop the spread of flu this winter. We ask you not to panic and ask you to be patient. We value all our patients and want to ensure that everyone is able to access supply. We do know that there will be plenty of stock available (12.5 million flu vaccines were distributed last year), so you will not miss out.



Yes, you can visit us in person at the clinic for your flu shot as we have extra precautions and screening protocols in place to help keep you protected at the clinic. Ask us for more information about this when you speak to reception staff when you are booking your vaccination. Don’t forget you can also now book a Telehealth Appointment and a GP will call you back regarding any health matter!





In 2020, government funded flu vaccines will be available for free for:

  • all children aged six months to four years (i.e. including four year olds, but not five year olds);
  • all adults aged 65 years and over;
  • all people aged from six months with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe flu and its complications (for example, severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes);
  • pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy); and
    all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged from six months.

Please note that government funded flu vaccines are only available from GP clinics and other official vaccination providers (i.e. it is not always available from pharmacies).



Private flu vaccines are now in stock

If you don’t qualify for a government funded vaccine, you can get a private flu vaccine for $17 with a valid Medicare card and your consultation will be bulk billed.

If you don’t have a Medicare card, standard consultation fees will apply.



What is the flu?

Influenza (or “the flu”) is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. The flu is spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes.

The flu viruses mutate regularly, and there are many different strains – you might have heard of strains such as “swine flu” and “bird flu” that had significant outbreaks in previous years.

The most common symptoms of the flu are the sudden appearance of a high fever, a dry cough, body aches, and feeling extremely weak and tired. Other symptoms can include chills, loss of appetite, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. Some people (especially children) also suffer from nausea and vomiting.

How does the flu vaccine work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

Can I get the flu from the vaccine?

No. The flu vaccine is not a “live” vaccine, so you can’t get the flu from the vaccine.

It is possible to have reactions – you might feel like you have a minor cold, with symptoms such as a sore throat or runny nose for a couple of days. You might also have a sore arm for a few days.

Also, at this time of year it’s possible that you may have contracted a virus in the day or two before you get the vaccine but not yet be showing any symptoms, or you might do so in the week or so after the vaccine (noting that the vaccine takes a few weeks to work).

This means it might feel like the flu vaccine has caused your illness, but it hasn’t – you were going to feel sick whether or not you’d had the vaccine.

How much does the flu vaccine cost?

There is a charge of $17 for the flu vaccination. There is no additional charge if you are booked with the nurses. If you book your vaccination with your usual Doctor, standard consultation fees may apply.
People in eligible high risk groups are entitled to a free government funded vaccine.

When should I get my flu vaccine?

Because the flu mutates regularly, you need a flu vaccine each year to retain protection.

It’s difficult to predict when outbreaks of the flu will occur, except that they usually occur in cooler months (i.e. winter, and end of autumn and the start of spring).

Flu vaccines usually start becoming available at the start of autumn. The flu vaccine only has effectiveness for a limited time (about 3 to 4 months), so if you have it too early, its effectiveness may have worn off before the end of the flu season.

Will the flu vaccine definitely stop me from getting the flu?

Unfortunately, no. Influenza is a disease that mutates regularly, and there are many altered strains. Although you may have had a vaccination, you might not have much immunity for a newly mutated strain.

However, given flu outbreaks tend to occur in colder months, it is worth the protection of getting the vaccine at the start of the flu season.

This is important if you’re in one of the higher risk groups as discussed above that are entitled to a government funded vaccine. By getting a flu vaccine, you’ll help stop the spread of the flu and therefore provide additional protection to the more vulnerable members of the community such as kids, the elderly and those with low immunity.

Flu vaccine side effects

If you or your child have been vaccinated recently and are experiencing side effects, click on the link for more information –

New Street Medical Centre aims to provide support and up-to-date information for all of our patients during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) public health emergency. We are working very hard to keep all of our patients and staff as safe as possible. In order to do this, we will need your assistance and cooperation. We are responding to this rapidly changing environment and as such have made some alterations you may notice at our clinic. At the time of making new appointments our reception staff with be asking a series of questions regarding recent travel, COVID-19 exposure, and any current symptoms so that we can best manage your care. The same will also occur when you arrive for your appointment. We have allocated extra reception and nursing staff to facilitate these changes and appreciate your patience. As part of our nationwide efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ we are promoting social distancing measures. As part of this we are aiming to minimise patients attending the clinic unless medically necessary, and for essential services only at this time.

As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed around the world and in Australia, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to take some basic precautions to maintain hygiene levels and ensure that we do all that we can as individuals to help halt the spread of the virus. If we continue in our lives ‘business as usual’ the spread of the virus will be very quick, meaning that a large percentage of our population will all fall sick at once. Our health resources are unfortunately finite; there is a limit to how many patients our health care staff can look after at one time. Once this limit is reached and the hospital beds are full it will be very difficult for us to give adequate care to patients. Our aim as a nation must be to slow down the virus transmission, reduce how many people are sick and needing health resources at one time, and to ‘flatten the curve’.

We are calling on everyone to assist us in this effort – it is indeed everyones responsibility. Please practice social distancing – avoid crowds and smaller gatherings in enclosed spaces, aim to keep a distance of at least 1.5m from others when out in public, postpone any non-essential travel or activities, avoid visiting vulnerable people including our elderly and those with medical issues, and avoid touching or hugging others.

If you are sick please stay home! Australians are a hard-working bunch, and often keep pushing through to attend work while we are unwell. At this time we are urging everyone who is unwell, even if it only seems mild to please stay at home until symptoms resolve. This includes visiting your GP clinic – please call instead for advice.

We understand that this is a stressful time for everyone, so we have included some useful advice below. Please be kind to one another – we can get through this time together.

How does the COVID-19 spread?

Person to person transmission is the most common way for coronavirus to spread. Sneezing and coughing is a common way for the virus to leave the body and find its way to new hosts. Droplets of body fluid, such as saliva, may contain the coronavirus when expressed from an infected carrier. The coronavirus can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Keep in mind, not much is known about the new coronavirus – it is a very different virus to the flu.

How to protect yourself from the COVID-19

Good personal hygiene is key to limiting your risk to the coronavirus. Some tips that can help you avoid an infection include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol based hand rub containing at least 60% alcohol. Hand washing should be undertaken regularly throughout the day including before touching your face, before eating, and after contact with other people or surfaces.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or with a tissue. This will help reduce the risk of you infecting those around you.
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Encourage others to stay home when they are unwell. If you manage a team of employees, let them know that they should call in sick if they have symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms of the coronavirus, including coughing, respiratory irritation, fatigue, shortness of breath, or a fever.

Because COVID-19 is spread between humans so rapidly, the only way to slow the rate of new infections is to reduce human to human contact – this means staying away from other people as much as possible or ‘social distancing’. This is one of the most vital things we can do to protect ourselves and each other.

  • PLEASE STAY HOME when it is at all possible. Talk to your employer about working from home, choose a home-based workout over the gym, order take-away instead of eating in.
  • If you must leave your house STAY 1.5m AWAY FROM OTHERS as much as possible. This of course means no handshakes, no hugging or kissing or high-fives. Wash your hands regularly, and when you return home.

COVID-19 Symptoms

We are still learning about the coronavirus, but it affects people in a range of ways. Common symptoms include:

  • cough – usually dry
  • fever (temp >37.5 deg)
  • Shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches

These symptoms range from mild to very severe, with around 5% requiring intensive care in a hospital ICU. Some people may have no signs at all, but still be able to spread the virus. The symptoms can also be very difficult to distinguish from a regular cold or flu. Because of this, it is important even if you only have mild symptoms to stay at home – this is the only way to avoid spreading the disease. And if you are well you should practice social distancing measures – this will help prevent the spread from people with no symptoms, as well as helping to prevent you from becoming unwell.

COVID-19 Diagnosis

COVID-19 can only be diagnosed via taking an oral / nasal swab. Doing these tests requires swabs, reagent to run the test, as well as Personal Protective Equipment for the health care worked taking the swab. The supply of all of these things is often low. That is why currently we can only test people meeting strict criteria which are being updated regularly. New Street Medical Centre is not able to test for COVID-19. If you believe that you may require screening please contact one of the dedicated COVID-19 testing clinics based at major hospitals including MMC Clayton, Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospital (call pre arrival – 9076 2000). Alternatively call the national hotline on 1800 020 080 or the Victoria Health Department on 1800 675 398.

COVID-19 Treatment

COVID-19 is a viral infection – this means that antibiotics will not work (they are only effective for bacterial infections). More severe cases may need hospital treatment, but the majority of cases are milder and are able to be managed at home.

Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms while the body fights the infection. Ways to help manage at home include:

  • stay hydrated – aim to drink at least 2L of water or fluids a day
  • rest – you may need to sleep more than usual
  • paracetamol (Panadol) may be suitable to help with muscle aches, fevers etc.
  • It is currently suggested that people with COVID-19 DO NOT use ibuprofen (Neurofen).
  • Eating fresh fruit and veggies
  • frequent hand hygiene
  • staying away from others while unwell.

If you feel very unwell or become short of breath you should call your nearest hospital or 000 for medical assistance.

COVID – 19 Self Assessment

Are you concerned that you may have coronavirus? – The Austin Hospital have established a simple online form which will assess your situation and symptoms and advise you on what actions you need to take.

Simply fill it out, hit submit and you will receive an immediate response about what you need to do next. You can click on the form here:

What’s the difference between self-isolation and quarantine?

Let’s go through them.


  • You are at risk of having the COVID-19 infection (eg recent overseas travel, or recent contact with someone diagnosed with COVID 19) but not actually known to be infected and are currently well. You may or may not end up with it
  • You are asked to wait it out in isolation until 14 days have passed if you remain well. This reduces the chances of the infection spreading and applies if you have come back from the growing list of countries with a lot of infection or if you have had contact with someone who is positive
  • If you become unwell during the 14 days, testing is done and if positive you move into isolation phase (or into hospital if very unwell)
  • If unwell but testing is negative, we still want you to stay in quarantine until the 14 days are up, as the infection may take that long to show
  • If well at the end of the 14 days, you may resume normal contact (keeping in mind social distancing of course), providing you stay well


  • You have tested positive for COVID-19
  • You are well enough to be looked after at home
  • At time of initial publication (9 March 2020), in Australia, you can come out of self-isolation if all of the following apply
    • more than seven days since you became unwell
    • at least two days with no fever
    • at least one day of feeling better/having no symptoms
    • two tests 24 hours apart that are both negative

Please take care. It seems unlikely that you can be reinfected, but we don’t want you getting another infection so soon after having COVID-19.

What about the new two weeks’ quarantine for people arriving from overseas?

What does that mean?

  • Remember the above definitions. Quarantine means you are at higher risk; you don’t necessarily have the infection and you may or may not get it. You are not in isolation.
  • This is an important distinction – quarantine and isolation are being confused by too many commentators
  • This means your close contacts do not need to be quarantined with you, unless they qualify for quarantine because they were also traveling.
  • If you become unwell and upon testing are found to be positive for Covid-19, you are now in isolation and those who have been in close contact with you will have to go into quarantine.
  • If you have been in strict quarantine and they have not had 15 minutes’ face-to-face contact or two hours in a room with you in the 24 hours before you became unwell, they do not need to be quarantined.
  • If they have been in close contact, and if we assume you are only infectious for the 24 hours before you became unwell and you had testing as soon you knew you were unwell, the community is buffered by the incubation period which is, on average, five days.
  • Your close contacts will, however, have to be quarantined as soon as your test becomes positive.
  • So if your test is back in one day, it should be at least three days (assuming they are infectious before they are unwell) before they become infectious; two days’ buffer if it takes two days; one day’s buffer if it takes three days, and if the test takes four days or more we have a potential problem.
  • These are assumptions, they are not always right, but they will have to do for now.

Rules for living in isolation

If you live alone, the situation is relatively straightforward:

  • No visitors
  • No trips to the shops, school, university, work, park, library, movies, church/place of worship, GP, chemist, etc
  • No family gatherings
  • Stay at home

If you are sharing a room or home with your partner or family, there are a few more things to consider in addition to the above:

  • If you are able, isolate yourself from others. Ideally, stay in your room and have your partner sleep in another room
  • If you can isolate yourself from others within your home, do so – for 14 days. Sorry, that will be a long two weeks
  • If you cannot isolate yourself within your home, cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands frequently, wipe touched surfaces or wear disposable or clean gloves if you need access to communal areas (ie kitchen) and wear a face mask when others are around (further advice below)

Keep in mind that most of your family will be in quarantine, as they are likely to have been in close contact with you.

We still want you isolated in that situation in order to reduce the risk they get it (we don’t want them to get sick because that will reset everyone’s 14 day self-isolation time). This will change if/when the infection becomes more widespread.

Why 14 days?

This seems to be the longest time in which this virus can be incubating before people become sick. If you are not sick 14 days after exposure then, as far as we know, you have not got this infection.

Keep your distance

Stay 1.5 m from others.

Imagine a bubble. Stand up, arm above your head and out to the side, then spin around. That’s your bubble.

If you’re unwell, try to keep your bubble intact. If you’re well, don’t pop the bubble of sick people.

What are we trying to achieve with isolation?

We are trying to slow down the spread of the infection.

This is important because the health system will find it much harder to manage if everyone gets sick at the same time. People are at a higher risk of getting sick with COVID-19 if they have close contact with someone who already has it.

Close contact is defined as having the following contact with someone who has COVID-19 (this includes contact in the 24 hours before they became sick):

  • Fifteen minutes or more of face-to-face and/or
  • More than two hours in the same room

This is particularly important for people at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. If you have, or think you could have, COVID-19, it is vital you stay away from people who:

  • are older (highest risk in people over 80, but the risk starts to seriously climb from 50)
  • have heart problems
  • have diabetes
  • who have lung troubles (eg asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, etc)
  • have high blood pressure
  • have cancer.

We are also concerned about people whose immune systems are low, including because of medication that they take, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Washington Post has made a corona simulator to help us understand the difference social distancing can make in dealing with the virus.

Ideas on what to do while in isolation

If you are unwell, you will need to manage your symptoms. For most of us, this will be like managing a cold:

  • Eat well (fruit and vegetables, not those tempting chips and lollies)
  • Keep your fluids up, use paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain or high fevers
  • Get some sleep
  • Low-grade fever in someone who is otherwise feeling okay does not have to be treated; it is part of the body’s immune response and we get better quicker if we let it be
  • Let us know if you are getting worse, especially your coughing is worsening and/or if you are having trouble breathing (phone your GP or emergency department for advice, or state or national help lines or 000 in an emergency)

You will need to eat

Think about what you have in the pantry/fridge/freezer.

If you need more supplies, can someone drop fresh food over? It can be home delivery from family or friends, or deliveries from the supermarket or restaurants.

It is important to note, however, that anyone who does drop anything to your house should avoid direct contact with you by dropping the food at the doorstep and leaving.

You will need to clean

This is more important if others are sharing the space with you, but at some stage the house will need to be cleaned.
Based on what is known about previous outbreaks (SARS and MERS), coronaviruses can live on surfaces for an average of 4–5 days. But some have survived at room temperature for up to nine days. ( )

For cleaning surfaces, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you wear disposable gloves. If you are using reusable glove, do not use them for any other purpose.

This may be difficult for most, but do what you can with what you have. Either way, wash your hands after cleaning.
Use a detergent first. For suitable surfaces, follow with diluted bleach, such as White King Bleach (sodium hypochlorite 4% chlorine) at a ratio of one-part bleach, seven parts water.

A combined commercial spray is fine to use instead of the above two-step process. Most household disinfectants are based on benzalkonium chloride, with 0.05% the concentration recommended.

Alcohol wipes or sprays are suitable alternatives, for example, for phones, where Apple does not recommend bleach.

Wipe benches and frequently-touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, doorbell if getting deliveries, light switches, cupboard and drawer handles, desks, toilets, taps and sinks twice a day.
Once finished cleaning, dispose of/remove the gloves and, again, wash your hands!

Other cleaning essentials

After using the toilet, close the lid, flush and wash your hands. The virus can be detected in faeces and closing the lid before flushing reduces the risk of the virus becoming airborne and spreading the infection further.
If there is only one toilet in the household, clean (as above) the toilet seat, flusher, tap, sink, door handles (ie any surface that may have been touched) each time it has been used by the person who is sick.

If you have two toilets, the sick person gets one and everyone else uses the other one. This is the same for shower/bath.
Change sheets and towels regularly, keep the towel of the sick person separate from other towels, e.g. in their room, and have a separate towel for on which they can wipe their hands after washing.

Wash the floors once a day. This is especially important if you have young children.

Regularly clean down hand-held devices such as gaming controls, mobile phones, tablets, keyboards (with alcohol spray or alcohol wipes).

The sick person should be excused from setting the table, cooking, washing up and unpacking the dishwasher. They should also eat away from others who are well, preferably in their own room. (It is also important they wear their face mask when in the same room as people who are not sick.)

There should be absolutely no sharing of food or drink that has been in contact with the sick person – into the bin with their leftovers.

You can wash clothes the usual way. You don’t need to separate out the clothes or towels from the sick person, but make sure you wash your hands after putting the washing into the machine.

But please don’t shake the clothes out before washing – this increases the risk of viral particles becoming airborne. Dry clothes well before putting them away. Use a disposable or washable clothes bin liner.

The sick person should have their own rubbish with a disposable liner. It is good practice to wear gloves when emptying the bin, and wash hands well after taking the rubbish out.

If you have an unwell young child , try to have one person providing their care. That person should be very careful about how they interact with others who are well.

In the event of a sick child, now is the time to consider extending their electronic time (just for now). Most kids will be excited about this and it helps by keeping them occupied and distracted.

You will need to keep occupied

In the event you are quarantined, see if you can work or study from home.

Maintain connection with friends, family, neighbours, others in your community – consider setting up regular phone calls to check in with and check on others. There are many options.

It is important to keep active. Consider ways to do this from home, such as spring cleaning or organising the house, downloading an exercise app, checking out YouTube exercise or dance classes. Movement matters!

Mental health considerations

Keep your mind occupied with meaningful and creative pursuits.

It is okay to not be okay, but try not to panic. Panic will not help.

Head to Health has some great online mental health resources. There are also lots of great free/low-cost apps or websites, including a number you can work through with your children:

  • This Way Up ($55 – you will need a referral from your doctor)
  • Smiling Mind (free, for children and adults)
  • Mood Gym (free, for adolescents and adults)
  • The Brave Program (free, for children aged 7–17)

For more information please review the following links:

New Street Medical Centre wishes all of our patients a happy and safe festive season.

Please make sure you have enough prescriptions to cover you over the holiday period – especially if you are travelling!

Our Practice will be open over the festive period for your convenience excluding Christmas Day. We will have fewer Doctors rostered on between Christmas and New Year, so priority will be given to Urgent Appointments during this time.

New Street Medical Centre wishes all patients a Merry Christmas and thank you for their support during 2019.

Have a safe Christmas and Happy New Year.