April 14, 2020

This morning Victoria’s Chief Health Officer announced changes to the case definition and testing criteria for COVID-19.
The broadened testing criteria now includes people with fever OR chills in absence of an alternative diagnosis; OR acute respiratory infection characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.
Please take the time to familiarise yourselves with these changes, as detailed in the bulletin.

Also today, a reminder that we are still in urgent need of nursing staff interested in being upskilled and retrained to work in our acute, critical care and intensive care units. Staffing these areas is a key priority of our COVID-19 surge planning and we can provide immediate training for appropriate candidates. Please see below for further details.

Thanks for keeping yourselves informed.






COVID-19 Daily Summary

• Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday: 25
• Numbers of individuals tested for COVID-19 at Western Health to date: 3798
• Numbers of individuals tested positive to date: 73
• Numbers of current inpatients with COVID-19: 4

PPE update

The Western Health PPE Guideline released last week has generated good discussion, with the Clinical Taskforce receiving lots of useful feedback. A lot of this feedback has been incorporated into the new version of our Guideline that can be accessed here. We’re aware that the DHHS and other organisations also release PPE advice, however it is imperative that we maintain the one source of truth through our Western Health Guideline. Please be reassured that the Clinical Taskforce will incorporate the latest evidence into the PPE advice we provide our staff.

Once again, it’s very important that any feedback regarding PPE is forwarded to the PPE Clinical Taskforce so we can make our own guideline inclusive and clear for all areas. Please email Dionne Muir with your feedback. No area should have their own parallel PPE guideline as this will cause confusion.

Williamstown’s Wellness and Support Hub

Williamstown’s Wellness and Support Hub will open tomorrow.

The Williamstown service will complement those already open at Sunshine and Footscray, offering staff space to have a break, as well as on-site counsellors. We encourage staff to make use of this service whenever needed.

  • Williamstown – Education Room, level 1 (8am-4.30pm)
  • Sunshine – WCHRE lecture theatre, level 1 (7am-6pm)
  • Footscray – Mavis Mitchell Room (7am-6pm)

Updated case definition and testing criteria

The COVID-19 case definition and testing criteria has been updated by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer this morning.

Patients who meet the following criteria should be tested:
• Fever OR chills in the absence of alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation
• Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19 AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.

People without symptoms should not be tested.

Healthcare workers and emergency workers remain a high priority for testing.

Click here for full details.

Patients with signs of mental distress or risk of family violence

The Chief Health Officer also issued the following updated advice last night, asking for clinicians to:

• Look for signs of mental distress in your patients
• Be aware of the increased risk for family violence during this difficult time

The following links are valuable references:

Family violence support and information for survivors, friends and family


Family violence information for professionals working with patients and clients experiencing family violence




ICU, critical care and acute training available

We urgently need nursing staff who are interested in being upskilled and retrained to work in this environment, as part of our COVID-19 surge planning. We can provide immediate training for appropriate candidates, both with and without ICU certification.

Details can be found in the Critical Care Refresher Information for Participants.

We are also offering supported training for those staff who may currently work in the community or sub acute environment and are keen to help in the acute environment. Please reach out to your line manager for more details.

For more information, please email Joy Turner.

iPads on wards

While Western Health’s visitor restrictions are an important part of our strategy to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19, please remember that these measures are difficult for our patients and their loved ones.

To ensure patients remain connected, I would like to remind you that we are now providing free guest Wi-Fi to all areas. This can be accessed on patients’ own devices and you can see a guide on this by clicking the QRG – Patients and Guests Wi-Fi Information.

In addition to that, we have iPads that can be loaned to patients who have no device.

Respiratory Assessment Clinic opening hours

Sunshine’s Respiratory Assessment Clinic will now have the following open hours:

• Monday-Friday:
8am-10am (staff only); 10am-6pm (staff and public)
• Saturday-Sunday:
10am-6pm (staff and public)