Most of you will be aware Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the first steps in the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Victoria.
News that Victorians will be able to visit family and friends, with strict limitations, from Wednesday will be welcomed from a social perspective. Several other changes were also outlined in the State Government’s press conference this morning.
However it’s important to make clear today there are no changes at Western Health at this stage. Our extensive COVID-19 preparations are ongoing, and our organisation-wide measures remain in place. These include our current visitor restrictions and the need for high levels of vigilance from all staff.
It’s not only the international experience that tells us the risks of COVID-19 transmission and outbreak remain high. Western Health’s own communities have had identified the continuing risk, as is highlighted by the numbers of confirmed cases linked to the Cedar Meats abattoir rising to 77 today.
In the words of Premier Andrews this morning: “This is not over”.
With this in mind, today we are releasing a series of workplace principles for minimising the spread of COVID-19, aimed specifically at nurses working across multiple units and sites. Details in the bulletin below.
Finally, I’d like to thank the more than 1000 staff members who attended our asymptomatic clinics last week and ask that all staff, clinical and non-clinical, continually self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Guidelines for checking your temperature are also in today’s bulletin.
Thanks for reading.
COVID-19 daily summary
• Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday: 92
• Numbers of individuals tested for COVID-19 at Western Health to date: 8602
• Numbers of individuals tested positive to date: 97
• Numbers of current inpatients with COVID-19: 0
COVID-19 workplace principles for nurses working across sites and units
During the COVID-19 pandemic staff across all areas of Western Health have had to adapt practice in a rapidly changing environment.
Many nurses move across different units and campuses of health services as they do their jobs.
Look under ‘Workplace Principles’ in the Quick Reference Guides section of the microsite for guidance on minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as nurses move across and within health services while continuing to provide essential services to patients.
Western Health has clear guidelines on the use of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All PPE-related quick reference guides can be found under P in the Quick Reference Guide section of the microsite.
Appropriate use of scrubs
Western Health-issue scrubs are in limited supply. For staff who wear scrubs, we ask that you only take one pair at a time, and that you return them for laundering promptly and not take them home. For those not working in areas that normally wear scrubs but would like to start wearing them, you can purchase your own scrubs through our local supplier or online.
It is unfortunate that we do also need to recommend that staff wearing their own scrubs should change out of them before leaving work. This is a safety precaution as there have been a small number of reports of healthcare workers being abused by members of the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Please look up ‘Stay Safe – Work Clothes’ in the Quick Reference Guides section of our coronavirus microsite.
Self-monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms
A reminder today to all staff of the importance of self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 including checking your temperature three times a day.
As we’re all aware, the symptoms of COVID-19 are not always obvious, so temperature self-monitoring is an important measure for keeping staff and patients safe. This applies to both clinical and non-clinical staff.
If you do not have a thermometer at home, you can have your temperature checked by security at the public entrances to our sites, or in the ward environment.
We thank you all for your cooperation.
Access to Catholic priests and external faith representatives
Nurse Unit Managers are able to decide, in exceptional circumstances such as end-of-life care, to ask an external faith representative to come onsite.
The family’s own priest or minister should always be contacted first, but if they are unavailable, remote and onsite support can be sought by consulting the COVID-19 External Faith Representatives List.
For Catholic patients whose own priests are unavailable, priests from Holy Eucharist (SH) 0431 030 122 /9366 1310 or Holy Family (FH) 0421 674 880 can be called onsite.
Western Health encourages staff, as well as family and friends, to consider downloading and activating the COVIDSafe app. This app helps health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.