COVID-19 is a contagious viral infection that causes mild respiratory illness in most people. Presentation can range from no symptoms to severe illness with potentially life-threatening complications, particularly in people who are vulnerable to infections. The current principle national objective is to slow progression of the outbreak in Australia and limit the burden on our health system by taking measures to reduce transmission. Transmission of COVID-19 is through contact with respiratory droplets containing the virus, produced when an infectious individual coughs or sneezes. As a consequence, individual behaviour is key to containing spread of the virus, and involves taking personal responsibility for measures, such as regular hygiene practices, early self-isolation and personal social distancing. Social distancing is one of the key measures currently being utilised to contribute to Australia’s ability to severely limit transmission of COVID-19. This reduces the burden of disease in the community, and importantly, will ensure healthcare capacity is not overwhelmed at any given time. The health sector must continue to undertake its core functions, as well as maintain the capacity to support those with COVID-19 who require more intensive care. These interventions may need to continue for more than 6 months, and must be feasible and sustainable. The application of extraordinary measures for a short term (for a period of four weeks) will only defer the increase in cases and will not achieve long term flattening of the curve or, ultimately, save lives. Figure 3 demonstrates the impact of effective social distancing and other interventions on the timing and size of the peak burden of disease. As demonstrated in the figure below, the intent is to ensure the burden of disease does not exceed the capacity of the health system to manage.


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Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Thomastown and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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