COVID Operations Bulletin – 22 July

July 22, 2020

As the number of confirmed COVID patients we have in our health service continues to grow, I am aware that this is also increasing concern among some of our staff. You can be assured that all levels of management and divisional and executive leadership across Western Health are here to support you and respond to emerging and changing needs.

While there are many challenges before us in the region we serve, we are now working as part of a larger grouping of hospitals in a formal collaboration to ease the pressures on any one service. This is known as the West Metro Group. This collaboration will be supported by a regular meeting framework (a bit like our daily operating system 9.00 huddles) and will enable flexibility across the sector to provide support and surge capacity.

I would also like to remind you that our wonderful Western Health in-home support teams led by Kirsty Barnes and her staff, have additional capacity to support patients, so please consider these options. Yesterday alone they were able to divert seven patients from requiring hospital care, through arrangements for care in the home instead.

It has been impressive to see the wonderful work of so many teams in supporting discharge home where possible and with outreach supports if needed, as this is ensuring we have hospital based capacity in instances where we may need to admit large numbers of patients, for example a group of unwell patients from facilities such as aged care, where this has proven to be necessary. A huge thanks to our geriatricians, allied health and specialist nurses working to support continuing challenges within the aged care sector. They have also now set up an additional acute aged care team at Sunshine to support the increasing number of acute admissions.

Dr Marion Kainer, our Head of Unit for Infectious Diseases, has issued a reminder of the importance of eye protection in addition to masks. These measures are necessary across the board and we must remain vigilant in every break room or rest area as well.

Contact tracing is an essential part of the follow up when we have a confirmed COVID case among staff. I want you to know that we all make mistakes and it is OK to let the tracers know that you might have missed having that PPE on at a particular moment in time. This helps us to decide on correct staff isolation measures and you should have no concerns with advising them.

Whilst we are under stress, we are doing very well and are well prepared. We are gradually activating our surge plans and with our exceptional staff across all roles, we are up to the task. Today I am sharing a great video message from one of our senior Nurse Unit Managers, Donald Johnson from CCU Footscray, who has reflected on why he keeps coming to work during the pandemic. See the link further on in this bulletin.

Please note from today we will recommence a daily bulletin to keep you updated on the latest in our COVID response. These will be released either as an Operations Bulletin or in COVID Messages from Russell. In addition, there will be a post on the front page of the microsite every evening, with a brief Daily Summary highlighting any new QRGs/Clinical Guidelines/or other key new reference information on the site.



COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites (inc Showgrounds): 957
  •  Number of current inpatients with COVID-19: 39

Reflections on nursing during the pandemic

Please take a few moments to hear from Donald Johnson, Nurse Unit Manager of CCU Footscray on what keeps him coming to work as a nurse during the pandemic.



Warm and inviting marquees for break out spaces

Some great breakout spaces are now available in marquees that have been specially set up at Sunshine and Footscray Hospitals. These are heated and warm and inviting – please make use of these as they will enable us to maintain physical distancing more easily.

Click on the link here to go to further information about the marquees.