COVID Operations Bulletin – 13 Jan 22

January 13, 2022

Good afternoon all,

Another day with very high case numbers and a corresponding increase in demand for our service, however another enormous effort across the board as you work to support our patients.

Western Health continues to respond to the demand and having to urgently prioritise its resources – subsequently, in the last 24 hours, Melton Urgent Care Centre was closed and patients diverted to Bacchus Marsh Urgent Care Centre. In addition, staff from the two Short Stay Units at Footscray and Sunshine Hospitals have been redeployed to the Emergency Departments on each campus.

In the last 24 hours, we have also converted ward 1A at Sunshine Hospital to a COVID ward, thanks to the phenomenal efforts of many staff. We are currently using 12 of the 16 COVID beds on this ward.

Vaccination requirements for staff

Under the new Victorian Government pandemic order that came into place last night, healthcare workers who are already required to be fully vaccinated, must get their third dose as soon as possible after it falls due.

This means that healthcare workers who:

  •  were eligible to receive the COVID Vaccination third dose on or earlier than 12 January 2022 must have received their third dose by 12 February 2022, and
  • become eligible to receive the COVID Vaccination third dose after 12 January 2022, must have received their third dose by 29 March 2022.

The mandatory vaccination requirement will not apply to workers who have a valid medical exemption.

This order responds to the increased risks of COVID-19 exposure to healthcare workers; their proximity to vulnerable people; the higher risk of the virus spreading in the workplace;l and the need to protect access to essential services. It is also a way we can protect ourselves, our family and loved ones.

New rules for visitors attending Western Health

New rules regarding visitors attending hospitals and aged care facilities come in to place today. Western Health is continuing to apply visitor restrictions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 to patients and staff.

All visitors entering Western Health are now required to show evidence of having received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on entry. Visitors will also be asked about their vaccination status when they complete the Visitor Attestation.

Visitors who have not received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be required to test negative on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at the point of entry to the hospital and wear an N95 mask for the duration of their visit.

Visitors who test positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) will not be granted entry unless eligible for a special exemption

The exemption categories for allowing visitors and the process for wards to request exemptions remain unchanged and can be found here.

Keeping doors closed in patient rooms

This is an important measure for all patient rooms to help minimise the flow of potential airborne virus.

Please encourage all patients to wear a mask as far as this can be tolerated.

These measures make a significant difference in reducing the risk of transmission in the inpatient setting.

Western Health COVID patient summary

91 COVID positive inpatients

526 patients in our COVID Positive Pathways program

843 furloughed staff


Thank you once again for your hard work and for the support you give each other in these unprecedented circumstances.