June 18, 2021

Given the emerging situation in Sydney, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has designated the NSW local government areas of the City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra as orange zones. Anyone who has arrived in Victoria on or since Friday 11 June must obtain an orange zone permit at Service Victoria, isolate, get tested and stay isolated until a negative result is obtained.

If staff have visited the City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra on or since Friday, June 11, they should not attend work, get tested and contact staff clinic enquiries. Staff who have attended a listed exposure site found here should get tested and contact staff clinic enquiries at whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au for a risk assessment.

Patients and visitors must also be screened on entry. Risk assessments should be directed to the de-isolation HMO on 8395 9048 or on switch 8345 6666.

While it’s great that Victoria is approaching the weekend with very low numbers of new COVID cases (and less onerous restrictions), the Sydney outbreak is yet another reminder of the infectiousness of the current variants. For that reason, there are no changes to restrictions across Western Health’s sites – and the same applies to all other metropolitan Melbourne health services. Under directions from the Chief Health Officer, we are continuing to operate under the COVID Active (Red) rating system. This means our visitor restrictions and density quotients remain in place, meetings must still be held over Zoom and movement between sites is very tightly restricted.

There are two points I particularly want to emphasise today – the critical importance of all staff wearing appropriate PPE, and the need to restrict the movement of staff across healthcare, disability care and aged care.

I’m asking all staff to please check the PPE requirements that apply in your area. Surgical masks, at a minimum, are required in all non-public-facing areas, unless you are eating, drinking or working alone in an office with the door closed. A reminder that all staff working in clinical areas, or for any patient encounters, must wear eye protection. We strongly encourage face shields and have shifted towards reusable face shields (BOYE/BMG brand), which need to be cleaned with Clinell Green wipes after each shift or if visibly soiled. The reusable face shields need some basic assembly. If staff can’t tolerate face shields, safety goggles are also an appropriate form of eye protection.

Regarding working across multiple sites, please see the bulletin below for further details.

Finally, as is the case every day, please continue to regularly check the Victorian Government’s list of exposure sites. If you or a household contact have been at one of the Tier 1 exposure sites, please follow the directions on the Department of Health website regarding isolation and testing. Do NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au

Thanks for keeping updated.



Russell's webinar

If you missed our CEO Russell Harrison’s webinar earlier this week, you can click here to catch up on what is happening across Western Health.

Working across multiple sites

Restricting the movement of staff across healthcare, disability care and aged care is a key priority in reducing the risk of further spread of COVID-19. Under formal directions from the Acting Chief Health Officer, it is a requirement that staff do not work at more than one site, except where that is not practicable and/or clinical need overrides this.

Western Health is closely following those directions. All staff who work for two or more employers must provide the details to Western Health (as well as their other employers) and also must keep records of their work locations. Any staff who work at more than one site/employer are required to declare if and where they have worked previously before beginning their shift. This is critically important for contract tracing, should it be required.

Any staff member who is also employed by a care facility that has recorded a positive COVID case is NOT allowed to work at Western Health unless it has been 14 days since you worked at the facility AND you had a confirmed negative COVID test at Day 10-13 (ideally at Day 13).

To declare you work at other sites, speak to your manager and email westernhealthhr@wh.org.au or complete this online declaration https://bit.ly/3fTcLHI

This is a priority.

Virtual visits

The current visitor restrictions mean that many patients are very socially isolated during inpatient admission. Social chats with family members are essential to support patient wellbeing, engagement and recovery.

Allied Health are currently implementing strategies for our isolated and vulnerable patients on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Read the QRG here.

During this current short lockdown Allied Health are re-implementing strategies on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Virtual visiting will only be available during this lockdown period for patients with significant vulnerability and isolation. Patients are allowed visitors for compassionate and caring reasons, as well as discharge planning.

Please direct questions regarding Virtual Visits to your local Allied Health lead (details have been sent to NUMs) or the Allied Health ASPIRE team at rebecca.tivendale@wh.org.au or 0403 770 497, OR Matt Thorpe at Matthew.Thorpe@wh.org.au or 8345 1250.

Asymptomatic testing

Asymptomatic COVID testing for staff continues to be offered at our main sites:

  • Footscray, private consulting rooms, reception area 2, 7.30am-4.30pm, Monday-Friday
  • Sunshine Hospital COVID-19 Testing Clinic every day, 10am-5.30pm, every day
  • Williamstown Hospital, Emergency Department, 8am-12pm, Monday-Friday (please register with your ward clerk first, and enter the ED from the main entrance on Railway Place)

CHO update

The Chief Health Officer update provides information to clinicians and the public about the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria as well as relevant public health response activities.

Wellbeing & support hubs

Western Health’s Wellbeing and Support hubs are available weekdays for all staff:

  • Footscray – Mavis Mitchell
  • Sunshine – Lecture Theatre, WCHRE Building

The hubs are open for all staff, so pop in to have some time away from your work area, to clear your mind or just to have a quiet moment.