As Christmas approaches, we are moving from the pandemic phase of COVID-19 to what I would term the endemic phase. Governments are now relaxing border restrictions, we are permitted to attend entertainment venues without restriction, and the majority of the population is vaccinated. As a result, we will see an increase in prevalence of disease in the community, although (hopefully) not matched by an increase in serious disease and hospitalisation.

This will require not only a change in the way we manage the risk of COVID-19 within our workplaces, but a fundamental change to our attitude and approach to this disease. We will need to accept that we can no longer manage endemic COVID-19 by locking it out. Rather, we will need to take a risk management based approach, where we seek to minimise, but cannot completely eliminate the risk of infection.

Whilst vaccination has been demonstrated to be quite effective in preventing serious disease, we now know that it is not fully effective in preventing infection, and possible spread. We have also learnt that aerosol transmission is more significant than was initially appreciated, and therefore steps to minimise aerosol transmission must be an important part of our preventive strategy.

In our clinics and sites, this risk-based approach involves screening our patients/examinees, with the level of risk determining what protective measures are required to ensure the safety of our staff. For our clients, maintaining hygiene practices, mask utilisation and social distancing within the workplace remain important alongside vaccination in reducing the spread of disease as we travel through these uncharted waters.

I will also take the opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year to you and to your loved ones.

With best wishes.

Dr Keith Adam

Chief Medical Officer

 

Dr Keith Adam
M.B., B.S., Fellow ACOM, Fellow AFOEM, RACPChief Medical Officer

Dr Keith Adam is a Senior Specialist Occupational Physician with Sonic HealthPlus and an Associate Professor of Occupational Medicine with the University of Queensland. Treating and rehabilitating injured workers since 1984, Dr Adam has extensive experience in determining what duties injured workers may be able to perform, and managing return to work programmes.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: All persons attending a medical appointment at a Sonic HealthPlus clinic will be required to complete a COVID-19 Triage Assessment form. If you are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated, we will need to undertake a risk assessment, which may include Rapid Antigen Testing.

Please note: Patients who attend for their medical assessment presenting with flu-like symptoms or have recently travelled from a COVID hotspot may be turned away.

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