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Middle aged man wearing a face mask while shopping

Maryborough District Health Service is urging the local residents to stay well this winter to protect our community and health system.

“When it comes to COVID-19 there’s never a time to be complacent,” said Heather Blazko, Associate Director of Nursing – Acute Services.

“Flu and COVID circulate all year round but winter is particularly bad for the spread of illness. This comes at a time when new variants of COVID-19 have hit Victoria, and health services and GPs are still under pressure due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Recent public health data shows new Omicron sub-variants are now dominant in Victoria.

“This means we can expect to see more people infected or re-infected with COVID-19, at a time of the year when we tend to spend more time indoors,” said Mrs Blazko.

“We have seen that COVID-19 can be a serious illness for people of all ages, with lasting effects on health and wellbeing, and even death. That’s why we’re urging our local community members to stay well and continue to follow the steps we know well by now,” she said.

Keep your 1.5 metre distance from others, wear a good quality mask in shared indoor or crowded settings or when you can’t physically distance, cough or sneeze into your elbow, keep up your hand hygiene and ensure your rooms are well ventilated.

Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. Getting a booster vaccination can help protect you and someone you love.

“It’s also important to stay updated on the latest public health advice, which is constantly changing as we learn more about the virus,” said Mrs Blazko.

“A winter dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is now recommended for adults aged 50 years and over, and is available to adults aged 30 years and over as an option.”

New changes to public health orders also include a shorter timeframe for an exemption from testing and isolation for recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, down from 12 weeks to four.

Positive cases are still required to isolate for seven days. Yet an additional reason to leave home has been added – to provide transport to a household member to obtain food, if essential.

Local health services including GPs continue to continue to operate under extreme pressure due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While our testing services recently changed, we’re still monitoring patients at home through the COVID Positive Pathways program and face continuous challenges with rostering due to COVID-19,” said Mrs Blazko.

“We need everyone to help reduce the load and protect the health of our community – you, your family, friends and neighbours – by taking simple steps to stay well this winter.”

To find out more on how to stay COVID Safe visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.