August 14, 2020

Hi everyone, apologies for the ‘late edition’ of the Bulletin – it’s been one of those days!

I want to take a moment to acknowledge our Infection Prevention team for their exceptional work in investigating each and every staff-related case of COVID-19 at Western Health. So far, 136 Western Health staff members have tested positive to COVID-19. These staff members are from all areas of our organisation, with infections acquired in various places – the community, at home, at work, or source unknown. Of those affected staff members, 32 have returned to work.

Some staff have asked whether there are any particular precautions they need to take on returning to work. The Department of Health and Human Services has very clear criteria on the return to work clearance criteria and that means there are no precautions these staff need to take in regards to themselves. We still require all staff to follow our PPE guidelines. As our Head of Infectious Diseases Dr Marion Kainer says, staff returning to work after being on COVID-19 leave are “the safest people to be around” because they are immune to the virus. Please join me in welcoming your returning colleagues.

I would also like to thank our clinical teams as they care for our patients in what is a very different inpatient and outpatient environment given our current visitor restrictions. In normal times, loved ones play an important role in supporting the welfare of our patients. Visitors not only provide company and emotional support, but often help patients with the basics. This can be simple tasks such as pouring a drink or accessing belongings that are out of a patient’s reach. During COVID-19, when visitation has been restricted for the safety of everyone, this kind of support for patients is also reduced. Thank you to the staff who are trying to fill those gaps. I know that this can make a clinical shift even busier, but time and time again I am receiving written feedback from our patients highlighting how the brief conversation, kindness and compassion demonstrated by our staff has made all the difference.

Following up from today’s memo, I want to reinforce the importance of completing the compulsory survey that is being sent to your mobile phone today.  The purpose of the survey is to record information about staff who work or volunteer with two or more employers. It is a mandatory requirement, under the direction of the Public Health Commander. This survey is to be completed by all staff, even if you do not work or volunteer for another employer or organisation. If you prefer to complete this on a desktop or laptop or if we don’t have your current preferred mobile number recorded, the survey can be accessed here. The survey takes 1-3 minutes to complete. Thank you for your cooperation.

Finally, I’d like to finish with a compliment we received yesterday from one of our patients that illustrates Western Health’s commitment to continuing to provide Best Care, despite the challenges of COVID-19. Read the Compliment of the Week here. It is definitely worth taking a minute to read!

Thanks for keeping yourself informed.




COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 483
  • Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 70
  • Wards/areas closed due to outbreaks: Hazeldean

Fit-checking your masks and PPE

Ensuring your PPE is properly fitted is crucial in ensuring the safety of our patients, our colleagues and yourselves. View this video for expert advice on fitting N95 masks. If you can’t achieve and adequate fit please reach out to your manager and infection prevention for advice.

COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk

A reminder that Western Health has a dedicated COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk. Staff can email or call the Helpdesk directly with questions about the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, exposures to COVID-19 in the community or home, testing criteria, clinic information and results. Managers can also contact the Helpdesk to seek advice about COVID-related matters impacting their staff. Staff confidentiality is assured.

Contact information: Email is recommended as the first point of contact where possible. Emails will be responded to within 24 hours. Email address: whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au

Telephone contact: via Switch 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID – then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.

Contacting the PPE team

If you have any questions about PPE, or if you would like to request new face shields or goggles, please contact our PPE Team here.