November 10, 2020

Today I’m pleased to let you know about changes to Western Health’s visitor guidelines, following the State Government’s announcement over the weekend about the relaxing of some restrictions. While it has been vitally important to limit the numbers of visitors to our sites during the ‘second wave’ – and ongoing restrictions are still necessary – we’re very happy to be able to welcome more family members and loved ones back to our hospitals.
The COVID leadership team has carefully reviewed the DHHS visitor guidelines and density requirements. Effective immediately, the following guidelines will now apply:

• Visiting hours have been extended to 12pm-8pm;
• Patients are permitted 2 visitors from one household for a maximum of 2 hours once per day;
• Exemptions may be granted for more people from one household provided physical distancing guidance can be maintained;
• Visitors under 16 years of age are now permitted;
• Women on maternity wards are permitted one support person for an unlimited time;
• Children of women and support people on maternity wards are permitted for a maximum of 2 hours.

We will be encouraging families to co-ordinate their visiting plans so that visitor numbers are not exceeded.
Thank you to the nurse unit managers who have informed refinements to our guidelines, and for remaining committed to supporting visits while maintaining COVID-safe environments for staff, patients and families.
Please note that guidelines for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, outpatients, emergency department patients and paediatric patients remain unchanged.
Full details can be found in this QRG and also in the bulletin below.

I’d also like to advise today that asymptomatic testing of staff is no longer available at the Footscray Hospital Private Consulting Rooms. This is due to a reduction in demand and the very low rates of community transmission across Victoria. However symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will continue to be offered at the Sunshine Hospital Respiratory Assessment Clinic. We encourage all staff with any symptoms or concerns to be tested. Details about opening hours can be found in the bulletin below.
If you have any COVID-19 questions, including about testing, please email our COVID Staff Helpdesk at whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au

Also today, please familiarise yourself with Western Health’s updated PPE guidelines, as explained in the bulletin and detailed in this QRG. These guidelines are being constantly reviewed to support the safety of our staff, patients and community members.

Finally, I’d like to send a shout out to the many teams across Western Health who are currently experiencing very high demand for their services. To name just one example, 46 emergency surgeries were completed yesterday, which is well above the daily average. Thanks and congratulations in supporting our communities to receive the care they need.
Please don’t forget personal support and confidential counselling is available to all staff at any time by calling 1800 099 444 or emailing work@caraniche.com.au.


COVID-19 Daily Summary

• Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 525
• Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 0
• Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID 19: 189
• Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID 19: 0
• Numbers of staff who have been cleared to return to work post-COVID 19: 189

Visitor guidelines

Western Health has implemented visitor restrictions to keep the community safe while supporting the provision of the highest level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions are consistent with Department of Health and Human Services guidance and Hospital Visitor Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
Please click here for Western Health’s current visitor guidelines.

Staff COVID-19 testing

The WH Respiratory Assessment Clinic located at Sunshine Hospital is open 7 days a week.
Hours of operation:
• 9am to 10am: for Western Health staff only, enter via the Pod 1 entrance via the main hospital (outside lifts 16 and 17 of the ASB)
• 10am to 6.30pm: for both staff and the general public. WH staff presenting within these hours can continue to do so via the Pod 1 entrance via the main hospital (outside lifts 16 and 17 of the ASB). The general public may enter the clinic from the Respiratory Assessment Clinic entrance off Furlong Road.
Western Health also provides COVID-19 testing at the:
• Sunbury Respiratory Assessment Clinic – 29 Timins St Sunbury (10am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday), and;
• Melbourne Showgrounds Drive Through and Walk up Clinic*.
*Please note there is modified availability for the Melbourne Showgrounds Clinic this week as of Wednesday 11th November:
• Wednesday 11 November: 9am-4pm
• Thursday 12 November – Sunday 15 November: 9am-5pm, drive-up clinic only. The walk-up clinic is unavailable
• Monday 16 November: 10am-5pm, drive-up and walk-up clinic open
• Tuesday 17 November: return to normal operation. Opening hours 9am-5pm at both the drive-up and walk-up clinic.

Updated PPE guidelines

Western Health’s updated PPE guidelines – Version 9.1 – can be found here. This version contains some changes to the PPE tiers in high-risk areas, dealing with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. If these changes affect your area, please liaise with your line manager, who can contact Dionne, at dionne.muir@wh.org.au for consideration by the PPE core group. Also attached here is the revised PPE Tier poster which aligns with the recent changes to our guidelines.

Outpatient and home visit screening tool

The COVID-19 outpatient and home visit screening tool is on our microsite.

Fit-testing for P2/N95 masks

The Western Health fit-testing program, which is part of our Respiratory Protection Program (RPP), is ongoing. Please refer to the RPP guideline for more information. Staff who have already been booked in should refer to this information sheet.

COVID-19 Staff Helpdesk

Western Health has a dedicated COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk, which is available to both individual staff and managers. Confidentiality is assured.
Email is recommended as the first point of contact where possible:
Emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Telephone contact: via Switch 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID – then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.