I want to start my message today by thanking you all for your hard work and dedication as we make our way through this latest lockdown. Our Western Public Health Unit and COVID testing and vaccination teams are doing a fantastic job and are extremely busy – but they’re not alone. Many areas across all of our sites are under significant pressure, including our emergency departments, theatres and maternity services to name but a few. I know this is a very difficult time for everyone, both personally and professionally, and I want to thank you all for your ongoing commitment to our communities. It’s not going unnoticed.
However my other key message today is about the critical importance of PPE. We all know how important this is to protect us, and there are still reports that we are not all following the guidelines. Clinical staff not wearing eye protection (either goggles or face shields) in clinical areas is of particular concern. I understand this might simply be because not everyone is aware of the current rules, so that’s why I’m asking all staff to take the time to check the PPE guidelines that apply to you and your area of work.
For clinical staff, this includes the need to wear eye protection in tea rooms and other staff meeting areas. For non-clinical staff, the rules require that you wear a surgical mask at all times, unless you are eating or drinking or working alone in a room with the door closed. And to everyone, a reminder that even if you are fully vaccinated, you still must wear masks and comply with all PPE rules that apply in your area.
Today, the Victorian Government announced another 11 people have tested positive to COVID. It’s clear that the threat of the current outbreak has not passed and many of you will have heard the news of the new delta variant being detected in our surrounding communities. This is a very aggressive and infectious variant. Let’s all work together – and take individual responsibility – for keeping ourselves, our colleagues, and our patients and visitors safe.
As a final point, I would also like to remind you that Western Health is continuing to offer asymptomatic testing to all staff, with dedicated testing sessions at Footscray, Sunshine and Williamstown. More details can be found here.
Thank you all and stay safe and well.