Over the weekend,Western Health commenced admitting COVID 19 positive patients to Sunshine Hospital, into ED, Ward 3F and ICU as part of Sunshine becoming a designated streaming hospital. I would like to thank the many members of staff from the logistics, operational, clinical and workforce teams who came together to make this happen.
In conjunction with the increase of COVID activity in the state and Western Health transitioning to become a COVID streaming service, there is now new guidance for staff working at multiple sites and in COVID streaming areas. A COVID streaming area is any patient treatment area in a hospital dedicated to treating a confirmed case/s of COVID (including negative pressure rooms). At the current time, 3F at Sunshine and ICU at Sunshine are considered designated COVID streaming areas.
Previous requirements for staff working in streaming areas to have a number of clear days off and clearance COVID tests before working at other sites or health services have been lifted.
Staff who have worked at another health service in the past 14 days are now required to:
- Declare that they have done so. As part of the daily staff attestation, staff will be asked to declare if they have worked at another health service in the last 14 days and if this involved working with COVID positive patients or in a designated streaming area. This means if you are a VMO who works at another health service in a COVID streaming area, you will be required to declare this to Western Health, and if you work at Western Health in a COVID streaming area, you will be required to declare this to your other employer.
- Join the Staff Surveillance COVID Testing program. This program involves regular saliva tests and once a week nose/throat swabs on your usual days of work. To join the program, staff just need to come to the Sunshine COVID Testing Clinic (open 7am to 5.30pm) or the Footscray Hospital Private Consulting rooms (open 7.15am to 4pm) to register. You will be provided with a testing kit and instructions when you attend. Staff who work at other Western Health sites who are required to join the program should email email@example.com for instructions as to how to join the program at your local site. Further information can be found on the COVID microsite here.
- Wear appropriate PPE, including P2/N95 masks at a minimum. This means that if you have worked in a COVID streaming area at another health service e.g. as a ward clerk on a COVID ward, but work in a purely administrative area at Western Health, you must wear a P2/N95 mask at Western Health as well.
Where possible, health care movement should continue to be limited. Where it does not impact on the provision of quality care, staff should work at one Western Health site only. If movement across our sites is essential for the provision of clinical care, permission must be granted by an Executive Director.
Many of you would have heard the announcements regarding Victoria’s Roadmap to Recovery yesterday. Key to this is vaccination rates. We encourage all staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Please don’t delay your first or second dose and please reach out if you have any queries at all regarding vaccination.