Today the State Government has announced significant changes to community restrictions from midnight tonight. These changes follow Victoria’s Roadmap, and come ahead of our state hitting the milestone of 90 per cent of Victorians aged 12+ being fully vaccinated in the next few days.
This vaccination milestone is a great credit to everyone who has come forward to be vaccinated – and also to those doing the vaccinating! I’m so proud that our very own West Metro COVID-19 Vaccination Program has played a very important role in getting Victoria to this point. So far, the team led by Shane Crowe and Lisa Smith has administered 1,116,705 COVID vaccine doses. An incredible effort. Thank you to everyone involved.
While the community changes announced today will affect our lives outside of work, we await to hear what changes will apply to metropolitan health services. There may be limited changes given the sensitive setting in which we work and provide essential care. While the number of new COVID patients – both at Western Health and across Victoria – is currently relatively stable, we remain prepared for another predicted increase in hospital and ICU demand. Modelling by the Burnet Institute, which informs the State Government’s broader COVID response, predicts cases will increase again in late December and early January. As always, we are working closely with the Department of Health to determine any changes to our guidelines.
Over the past few days, our COVID leadership team has made a number of decisions across our sites, including to scale down some of our COVID bed numbers as detailed below. This is in response to the reduced demand for COVID and SCOVID (suspected COVID) beds and Western Health’s commitment to providing Best Care for all of our patients.
- 2B reverted to a non-COVID ward
- 2C converted to a non-COVID ward with patients suspected of COVID cared for in single rooms.
- 2D remains a COVID ward
- 2G and 3F remain COVID wards
Whilst we have made these changes, we will continue to respond flexibly to the changing COVID demands in our community in the coming weeks and months. This would include re-opening COVID wards, if necessary. The good news is that the updated Burnett modelling is looking quite optimistic and would suggest the January demand will hopefully remain below what we have just experienced in October. Regardless, we have a flexible workforce at Western Health that includes more than 150 staff who have very generously volunteered to be redeployed as part of our surge planning. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered themselves – it makes a huge difference.
We also continue to actively recruit across a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles to boost our workforce and have a number of nurses, RUSONs and RUSOMs starting with Western Health in the coming weeks. In addition to this, as our COVID vaccination programs begin to slow down secondary to the high rates of community vaccination, many of the vaccination team members will be available and willing to work in other Western Health locations. We are keen to keep them working with us.
I understand many of you – across all areas and departments at Western Health – are feeling tired after what has now been nearly two very challenging years. I want to thank you for your ongoing hard work and dedication to our patients. Let’s continue to support each other over the next few months as we move into 2022.
Please see the bulletin below for details about important changes to the staff attestation and face-to-face-education.
Thanks for keeping updated.
Confirmed COVID ward inpatients at Western Health: 35
Confirmed COVID ICU inpatients at Western Health: 8
Confirmed COVID patients receiving Western Health care in the community: 110
COVID tests by our testing sites yesterday: 1907
Staff accessing surveillance testing yesterday: 595
Vaccinations delivered yesterday by West Metro COVID Vaccinations team: overall (1126) and yesterday (1,116,705)
Despite the easing of restrictions in the community, health services remain sensitive settings with additional restrictions and precautions in place.
The Staff Attestation and Patient and Visitor Attestations have been amended this week to align with current restrictions for health services.
A key change is the addition of a question regarding international travel where vaccination status guides when you may enter a health service.
The attestation has also been restructured to include follow-up questions seeking further information where relevant.
Please always answer the attestation truthfully and avoid attending work on site if you have any symptoms or identified risk factors.
Please contact the Staff Enquiries Helpdesk – email@example.com if you have any questions related to symptoms or risk factors.
As per last week’s bulletin, there is now increased access to face-to-face education for mandatory training, skills based training, competency assessment and workshops. However, staff are reminded that an exemption request must still be submitted to Coronavirus@wh.org.au seeking authorization for training to ensure that all COVID Safe principles are maintained. Furthermore, education and training should not involve cross campus travel or multiple teams from different clinical areas. (Training and education that can be provided via non face-to-face methods should continue in this manner).
Contacting COVID staff enquiries
Staff are reminded to contact the COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk if they:
- Have attended a Tier 1 site
- Live with someone who is COVID Positive
- Live with someone who has had a close contact with someone who is COVID positive
- Are returning from international travel
Advice and precautions, including surveillance testing and PPE, is recommended following an individual risk assessment
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following detail:
- Work location
- Exposure site and date/ Enquiry Reason
- Contact number/s