A Northern Rivers GP has self-isolated after developing a respiratory infection.
A Northern Rivers GP has self-isolated after developing a respiratory infection.

Northern Rivers GP self-isolates after possible infection

A NORTHERN Rivers doctor is in self-quarantine at home after developing a respiratory infection and possibly being in contact with a COVID-19 infected person outside the region.

The doctor, who has not seen any patients after developing the symptoms, has been tested for COVID-19 with results expected later this week.

Ballina GP Chris Jambor said the self-isolated medico took the precautionary measure to protect the community.

"This doctor's got a viral illness, and may have possibly come into contact with somebody who came into contact (with the virus)," he said.

"This is the thing, we don't know if that was the case or not, but just to be sure the doctor self-isolated."

Dr Jambor is a senior GP and founder of Grant St Clinic, and a visiting medical officer at Ballina District Hospital.

He said the self-quarantined doctor may have been in contact with a person that may have been exposed to COVID-19 outside the Northern Rivers.

"All of the people we have tested here so far from the high risk cases have all tested negative until today," the doctor said.

"There are some clinics in this area and in other areas that are drawing a line in the sand on and not seeing travellers.

"To my way of thinking, how is that going to help control the outbreak and how is that going to help control fear in the public?

"The hospital system just can't cope with so many patients. We have to have a systematic plan so we can look after patients."

Dr Jambor's Grant St Clinic in Ballina started a 'fever clinic' at the parking area outside their facilities, so people with a respiratory illness can be assessed by a doctor before they enter the premises.

"People with coughs and colds should not panic, don't be fearful, get yourselves checked and see your GP," the doctor said.

The medico said the clinic has agreed on further measures, including the installation of a gazebo to be used when assessing patients.

"Also, if the outbreak becomes a pandemic, we will have one designated doctor who will be assessing possible COVID-19 cases so we don't have all health workers and all doctors exposed to the virus," he said.