Good afternoon all,
As we head into the weekend, I wanted to update you on key changes that have occurred since my last bulletin.
Changes enabling COVID close contacts and cases to return to work
New ‘blanket’ exemptions released by the Minister for Health yesterday allow healthcare worker close contacts (household and household-like close contacts) to return to work during their quarantine period, if certain criteria are met.
Staff who are close contacts must discuss returning to work with their manager to determine eligibility, which includes being asymptomatic, undertaking daily Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) and wearing of an N95 mask at all times. Managers need to notify COVID Staff Enquiries of any staff returning under these conditions so a central list can be maintained, however, staff may return to work with manager approval and do not need to wait for approval or confirmation from COVID Staff Enquiries.
For full details of eligibility criteria and the process for approving staff to return to work, please see the furlough Return to work following exposure or COVID diagnosis QRG (under F in QRGs)
Other key updates in this QRG include:
- Staff who test positive through a RAT no longer require confirmation with a PCR
- Simplified guidance on when staff can return to work following COVID-19 infection
New contact details for COVID Staff Enquiries and Contact Tracing
To avoid duplication and to ensure a timely response to staff enquiries, there is now a single means of contacting COVID Staff Enquiries AND Contact Tracing. If you have tested Positive to COVID, if you have an enquiry about your exposure to COVID or if you have a general enquiry related to COVID, you should now submit your enquiry via the following link:
Details entered via this link will be visible to both Contact Tracing and COVID Staff Enquiries. Staff will continue to receive an email response with guidance relating to their exposure or situation. For staff who have a more specific enquiry, the COVID Staff Enquiries team will continue to provide tailored advice.
Staff are reminded that they must inform COVID Staff Enquiries and Contact Tracing as soon as possible if they are COVID Positive. This can now be done efficiently via this new link.
If you are unable to access the above link, staff may continue to email email@example.com
Vaccination pop ups for staff
In order to support those who require their third dose of vaccine, Western Health is opening pop up vaccination sites right across the catchment we serve.
Staff booster vaccinations are available at the following locations:
- Footscray Hospital (Mavis Mitchell Room) – Wednesday 19 January from 9am-3.30pm
- Williamstown Hospital (Education Room) – Thursday 20 January from 9am – 3.30pm
- Footscray Hospital (Mavis Mitchell Room) – Friday 28 January from 9am – 3.30pm
Below is a link to others we are running and some of these might be useful for family and friends from other mandated sectors:
Reduction in staff absent due to COVID
It is pleasing to report that we have seen several hundred staff able to return to work after having completed periods of isolation or quarantine after having COVID or being a household contact. This should make a substantial difference across the organisation.
Over the weekend, members of our senior leadership team will continue to meet to ensure that we provide an agile response to the current demand and our workforce challenges.
Can I again extend my thanks for your continued support and efforts?
COVID PATIENT SUMMARY
94 COVID positive inpatients
487 patients in the COVID Positive Pathways program we are overseeing
641 furloughed staff