ASCIA COVID-19 Update
24 March 2020:
ASCIA COVID-19 website updates
The ASCIA COVID-19 webpage www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19 is reviewed on a daily basis and updated as required.
The latest updates are as follows:
- The ASCIA 2020 Conference has been postponed to September 2021. This will be the first time in 30 years that an ASCIA Annual Conference has been postponed, but ASCIA believes it is the best action to take, to ensure the health and wellbeing of the community. For details go to www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19#cd1 ASCIA has also postponed the TAPID meeting from May 2020 to May 2021.
- Updated actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the ASCIA FAQ www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19#cd2 reflect the latest government advice and restrictions, including those announced by Australian governments this week. To comply with government advice, ASCIA staff will all work from home from 24th March 2020 onwards. All ASCIA education projects will continue to progress, as it is now more important than ever for ASCIA to ensure that its online training and educational resources are up to date, to enable health professionals and the community to access accurate, consistent and evidence-based information.
- ASCIA COVID-19 FAQ have been updated www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19#cd2 to clarify that most people with allergic conditions, including asthma, are not immunocompromised. However, even if you are not immunocompromised it is vital that everyone follows government advice, including the restrictions announced by Australian governments this week, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To enable ASCIA to develop and update information relating to people who are immunocompromised due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression, a new ASCIA COVID-19 Working Party has been formed.
- Updated information about telehealth www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19#cd4 has been included. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are an essential workforce. Providing telehealth services for consultations will help to keep health professionals well, protect the health of patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19. The government has announced this week that it is working on further expanding telehealth for all patients. Further expansion is supported by ASCIA and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) who have issued a media release this week www.racp.edu.au/news-and-events/media-releases/physicians-welcome-expansion-of-telehealth/ Other medical practitioners have initiated a petition which you may wish to sign, to support the expansion of telehealth for all patients: www.change.org/p/scott-morrison-no-restrictions-on-telehealth-consultations-now
- Information about medical product supply www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19#cd5 has been added to this webpage. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak many suppliers of medical products are working to ensure the continuity of supply to patients in Australia and New Zealand, whilst also protecting the health of their employees. ASCIA is monitoring the situation and will post notices from suppliers on this page to keep ASCIA members updated.
Updated actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Hand hygiene is the top priority. Regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water throughout the day, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating is vital for preventing infections. Alcohol-based hand-gel can be used to sanitise hands when soap and water isn’t available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Also avoid shaking hands or any other greeting that involves contact.
- Respiratory hygiene is also a priority. This involves covering the mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, then disposing of the used tissue immediately. It is also important to maintain at least a 1.5 metre distance away from anyone, especially if they cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you are unwell or if you have recently travelled. If anyone has a fever, cough or breathing difficulty, they should stay home, seek medical attention (call in advance), and follow the local health authority instructions. Self-isolation is required if contact has been made with someone with COVID-19 symptoms, or symptoms develop following contact with someone who has COVID-19. Quarantine of 14 days is required for people who have travelled, even if they do not feel unwell.
- Follow government advice and restrictions. It is important that everyone complies with government advice and restrictions, which include the actions listed above, in addition to not travelling (except for essential workers), and physical/social distancing measures. Examples of these measures are working from home where possible, avoiding any gatherings and temporary partial or full closures of most hospitality businesses.