Following the recent escalation in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, today the Premier announced a major blitz of community testing for COVID-19. Four of the ten hotspot suburbs to be targeted, are within the area served by Western Health: Keilor Downs, Sunshine West, Albanvale, Maidstone and (slightly further afield) Broadmeadows. The Government intends to test 50% of the population of each of these suburbs and another five in other parts of Melbourne over the next ten days.
The clear identification of these suburbs has a number of ramifications for Western Health – we need to renew and strengthen our vigilance in relation to our patients and visitors but also each of us as staff.
Every staff member MUST strictly adhere to distancing requirements at all times and be particularly vigilant about those periods after you have been wearing PPE, when you might have mingled at close range with colleagues for clinical reasons and done so safely. If you spend much of the day wearing PPE, you may become accustomed to feeling safe at close range but once that PPE comes off, it is essential you then maintain the 1.5metre distance because you then become vulnerable again or could place a colleague at risk.
In light of the greatly increased activity around COVID-19 in the region served by Western Health, I am releasing a video message today in addition to the written bulletin. Please be sure to share this communication widely.
Western Health led Showgrounds testing site shifts into high gear
Our Executive Director Operations, Natasha Toohey, highlighted the incredible work undertaken by multiple teams at the Showgrounds to set up a new mega testing clinic in just two days. This is a phenomenal effort and I would like to add my thanks to all concerned. This clinic is adding critical capacity to the Victorian testing blitz. I am also mindful of the contribution of our staff at both the Sunshine Hospital and Sunbury testing clinics, who are also managing hundreds of tests.
High demand for other services
While all of this additional effort is underway as part of the COVID response, the daily task of responding to the needs of thousands of patients has expanded once again and we are seeing very high demand in many areas. It is clear that after almost five months when members of our community have tried to stay away from hospital, the medical issues for some have worsened and we are seeing a significant number of patients who have suffered a decline in their health. Thank you for your continuing dedication to supporting all of our patients.
New machines come with a change of environment
We’ve just completed a project at Sunshine Hospital, replacing one of two Gamma Cameras within Nuclear Medicine. These are quite complicated capital projects and involved expansion of the Gamma Camera room and new services infrastructure to accommodate the replacement machine. Medical gases were installed to allow anaesthetic activity to be undertaken in the room and you can see by the accompanying photograph that the room also received a redesign in the process. Looks great!