COVID Operations Bulletin – 6 July

July 6, 2020

In this bulletin I will provide an overall briefing on steps being taken at Western Health as a result of the range of significant developments in the coronavirus outbreak in our region and in line with our priority of keeping staff safe. You will all be well aware of the substantial increase in cases in recent days and that many of them are within or close to areas we serve.

A second Western Health staff member who works in the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the staff member and they are being provided with the necessary supports.

An earlier positive COVID-19 result of another staff member led to contact tracing and notifying DHHS. This second positive result has arisen as a result of that process. Both staff members work at the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s and the second staff member has been in quarantine since being identified as a work contact early last week.

Although these staff members are work contacts of each other, the source of infection for either of these staff members is not yet clear and is under investigation.

Risk to any other staff or patients from contact in the Joan Kirner building is low due to the introduction of additional PPE measures across the campus since early last week, outlined here:

  • As of the evening of 30 June, all clinical staff within Joan Kirner were required to wear mask and shield/eye protection.
  • Since the evening of 30 June, any patient visitor, person accompanying a patient or anyone attending for an outpatient appointment, has also been required to wear a surgical mask after it is provided to them on entry to the Sunshine Hospital and Joan Kirner campus.
  • All Western Health staff at Sunshine Hospital, including those within the Joan Kirner building, (as well as staff at Footscray Hospital) have been required to wear PPE including a surgical mask and face shield or correct eye protection, since the evening of 1 July. Please make sure that you and all of your colleagues are abiding by this direction,which applies to clinical and non-clinical staff in all areas of the Sunshine and Footscray Hospital sites, including throughout administrative areas. More information can be found through this link.

Visitors and outpatients

We have made significant changes to our arrangements for patient visitors and taken additional steps overall to reduce the number of people coming to our main sites in line with advice from DHHS. Visitors are now by exception only and outpatients are being discouraged from bringing a support person with them unless this is a carer. New guidance on all of these measures is available on this site under V for Visitation within the Quick Reference Guides. It is important that these guidelines are reviewed and understood. 


Lebe Malkoun

Acting Executive Director Operations


Encouraging patients to keep their appointments

It is safe for patients to present to all of our sites for their necessary appointments, continue with their elective surgery bookings and receive care in the community from our outreach staff. The increasing community concern about the outbreak means that we are seeing a high volume of cancellations of appointments of various kinds across the health service. Please work to alleviate the concerns of patients and encourage them to present for their appointments and care. We know that this is leading to some patients suffering unnecessarily and their conditions worsening due to their fear of presenting.

Supporting more testing clinics

Western Health is continuing to support a very large volume of the testing that is taking place across the region. In addition to our existing clinics at Sunshine Hospital, Sunbury and the Melbourne Showgrounds, we are now the lead on two more clinics in Ascot Vale and Maribyrnong. In total, these clinics run by Western Health tested 1976 people over the weekend.

We can all be very proud of the leading contribution Western Health is making to respond to the surge in coronavirus cases across this area of Melbourne.  Thank you to all involved.