29 July 2022

RACGP: Let’s fight COVID-19 complacency in WA

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has urged people in Western Australia to step up measures to reduce COVID-19 community transmission and keep people safe.

It comes following recent COVID-19 case number statistics showing high numbers in the nation’s west. Sadly, more than 11,000 people in Australia have now died with COVID-19. The number of COVID-19 related deaths, as a proportion of the nation’s total population, is significantly higher than in the United Kingdom, United States, France, or Canada.

RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price said that the pandemic was far from over.

“We all have a vital role to play in limiting transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses including the flu and keeping those in our community more at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 safe,” she said.

“Many people, particularly those who are vaccinated and boosted, will only experience relatively minor effects if they contract COVID-19. However, for others, including older people, the immunocompromised and those with serious underlying health conditions, contracting this virus is far more likely to lead to severe effects including hospitalisation. The high rate of COVID-19 transmission nation-wide including Western Australia is placing tremendous strain on our health system, including our over-stretched hospitals.

“So, now is not the time for complacency. I know it’s frustrating and that many people, particularly in places like my home city of Melbourne, are feeling ‘battle weary’ after living through lockdowns and social restrictions for many months on end. No one is suggesting that lockdowns are on the cards; however, we can and should embrace practical steps that we’ve all learnt over the last two-and-a-bit years to limit the spread of COVID-19. Let’s all work together to bring down COVID-19 case numbers.”

RACGP WA Chair Dr Ramya Raman said that there were practical steps everyone in Western Australia can take.

“We are experiencing high COVID-19 case numbers so I’m calling for people to do what they can to limit community transmission,” she said.

“It is really important that we look after one another because at the end of the day we are all in this together as a community. There may not be laws in places mandating certain behaviours; however, that doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the peddle because we all have a role to play.

“If you are feeling sick, get tested right away and if your test is positive for COVID-19 it’s critical that you isolate at home. If you are eligible, please get vaccinated and boosted. I also urge everyone to wear a mask indoors and where social distancing is difficult, such as shopping at the supermarket or attending a sports game. It is also worthwhile having a conversation with your boss to see if working from home is an option while case numbers remain high. In addition, do what you can to catch up with family and friends outside or try to ensure indoor gatherings happen in well-ventilated spaces.

“All of us can do those little things which make a difference in stopping the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory viruses by coughing and sneezing into our elbow and remembering to hand sanitise.

“I know many of us tired of thinking about COVID-19, but this virus is not disappearing anytime soon. The thought of returning to measures like mask-wearing isn’t particularly appealing; however, at the end of the day it’s a relatively minor inconvenience that makes a real difference. So, please do the right thing and take those small but important steps to help limit transmission and encourage people in your life to do the same. Together, we can fight COVID-19 and save lives.”

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