Covid Messages from Russell

COVID Messages from Russell – 4 August

August 4, 2020

For those of you who are working in clinical areas, it will come as no surprise at all to hear that we are experiencing high levels of demand at this time. We are seeing substantial increases in the number of patients with suspected COVID and this is also adding to the complexity of patients that we are managing. Equally we are continuing to see a phenomenal effort from each and every one of you to rise to these challenges. Thank you very much for everything you are doing.

I am very much aware that the introduction of the State of Disaster, along with the Stage 4 restrictions for Melbourne and the change to Stage 3 restrictions for regional areas will bring their own additional impacts on many households. We are committed to doing as much as we can to support you through these difficult times.

Western Health has established rules around visitors designed to provide as much consideration as possible for the needs of the families involved. These are traumatic times for many families too and so we have endeavoured to strike a balance on this matter. Please refer back to the Visitation Factsheet under V in the QRGs on this topic and the simple guide that will also be uploaded to that location, to clarify these matters. Note the visitor guidelines apply to EDs and outpatient areas as well.

I’d like to draw your attention as well, to the new information we have released on PCR Priority Testing (or go to P in the QRGs)– there are new provisions in there in relation to rapid tests, which are in critically short supply at present and we have had to apply strict criteria around that.

Thank you to everyone who is strictly complying with the PPE guidelines – they are there for your safety and the safety of your colleagues and patients. Please continue to observe these and also please challenges others who are not wearing PPE safely. This can be challenging I am sure, but we all need to make sure we are wearing PPE properly or there is little point in wearing it as it is not effective. Also when you are feeling weary after a difficult few hours, remember those are the times when you are at risk if you do not remove your PPE correctly. Ask a colleague to observe you and support you to help make sure you do this with the due care.

With more staff now wearing N95 masks for extended periods, we know these can get quite uncomfortable, try to work with your teams to give each other additional breaks to allow some relief. Also please do make sure you are wearing the N95s correctly – the fit check is an important part of that. Check out a simple guide in the QRGs at this link 

This afternoon I had the opportunity to remotely catch up with the incredible Western Health teams supporting aged care residents across our region – they are now providing varying levels of care and medical assistance to 25 facilities. These nursing and medical in-reach teams are facing upsetting and confronting circumstances every shift and doing so with the greatest compassion and strength. Our thoughts are with them and we thank them on behalf of the hundreds of vulnerable patients who need them so greatly.


In media updates, last night, the ABC TV 7.30 program one again led with a story which featured one of our ICU nurses, Sam Bates and Dr John Mulder and scenes from the Sunshine and Footscray ICUs, as part of a broader piece which also included our colleagues from the RMH ED and ICU. You can see the link on our Facebook page.

Today one of our many great nursing and midwifery graduates, Beth Mazzarella, was interviewed on ABC TV about her experiences of responding to the pandemic as a graduate nurse. Beth started her career with us on 3F at Sunshine and is now on a rotation as a midwife, as she is completing a double degree. (We will post a link to the interview once it airs.)

Beth Mazzarella

While there has been considerable debate globally about hydroxychloroquine, after extensive consideration, Western Health has agreed to be part of a highly regarded trial led by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (the WEHI). The detail on this is contained in the post you can find at this link.

On a non COVID note, it’s great to see that work on the Sunshine Emergency Department expansion is continuing, and now the old EOU has been closed off as works commence in that area.

Thank you all for your continued dedication to your colleagues community and patients.




COVID-19 Daily Summary

From today, we will be reporting the COVID-19 Daily Summary in this bulletin as well as the COVID Operations Bulletin, to enable continuity.

Number of tests conducted by Western Health (all sites) yesterday: 688

Number of confirmed COVID-19 positive inpatients: 74