July 19, 2021

As you’re no doubt aware, the increasing number of exposure sites across Victoria is now directly affecting Western Health. There are more than 250 exposure sites in Victoria, with more than 15,000 people identified as close contacts, so it was inevitable that these figures would include members of our staff and communities.

What this highlights is the need for ongoing vigilance. While increasing measures are being taken at an organisational level, I also ask that we all take responsibility as individuals. This includes continuing to fill out the attestation before every shift and getting a COVID test immediately if you have any symptoms.

If you have been to any of the growing list of exposure sites, please do the following:

  • Do not attend work
  • Get tested as soon as possible at the Sunshine Hospital COVID testing clinic (currently the team is running extended hours – 9am-6.30pm)
  • Contact whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au and include the following detail:
    –  Name
    – Role
    – Work location
    – Exposure site and date
    – Contact number/s

Please remember that Western Health, along with all other metropolitan health services, is now operating under the Department of Health’s COVID Active (Red) risk rating. The risk ratings guide our decisions around important topics such as the use of PPE and visitor restrictions. Our visitor guidelines changed over the weekend, and are detailed in the bulletin below.

In addition, as mentioned in Russell’s memo earlier, all Western Health staff should now be reverting back to the Team A and Team B arrangements, with the aim of restricting unnecessary contact between colleagues. Please speak to your line manager if you have any questions.

Travel between sites is also restricted. Please stay at one site only, conduct meetings online and work from home where possible.

Finally, I’d like to thank you all for your ongoing hard work and dedication. No doubt we are all feeling some additional pressure, but remember – we have done this before and we know what we need to do. Please consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t already. The COVID vaccination is the single best defence we have against COVID, specifically this Delta variant. A reminder that all Western Health are now eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine. Make your booking here.


Thanks for keeping updated,


Visitor guidelines

As a result of new Department of Health guidelines, Western Health sites can now only allow visitors for these reasons:

  • Care and Support for physical and emotional wellbeing including mental health
  • Parents of children aged under 18
  • For language support
  • End-of-life care and life-threatening conditions
  • Carer training; to learn to support a patient who is being discharged
  • Support person for maternity patient
  • Accompanying a patient to ED, if necessary

Please see the visitation QRG for specific details.

Management and care of COVID-19 positive patients

Earlier this year the Department of Health, in cooperation with Western Health and all health services, implemented a new process for the streaming and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients.

Under this approach, confirmed COVID positive patients will be cared for in a limited number of health services.

People who are COVID-19 positive and require inpatient care, will be streamed to the following services:

  • General High Acuity Services: Alfred Hospital, Box Hill Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Specialist High Acuity Services: The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital (gynaecological services), Monash Medical Centre Clayton (obstetric services)
  • Lower Acuity Services (including for aged care residents): Epping Private Hospital, Latrobe Private Hospital

Aged care:

Decisions to transfer non-emergency COVID-19 positive aged care residents for public health reasons will be made by Public Health (Victorian Department of Health), and coordinated through the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VARC) in conjunction with AV, the RACF and the Commonwealth.

For immediate clinical emergencies, residential aged care services will call ‘000’.


The above services will be responsible for treatment and care of confirmed COVID-19 patients and ALL residents of hotel quarantine. All low-risk and high-risk suspected COVID-19 patients outside of hotel quarantine will continue to be managed at their local health service, including Western Health.

Where clinically safe to do so, COVID-19 positive patients requiring hospital care will be transferred by Ambulance Victoria to one of the services above.

Suspected COVID:

For low-risk and high-risk suspected COVID-19 patients being treated at one of our hospitals, if a COVID-19 positive result is received, the patient should be considered for transfer to one of the selected sites when it is clinically safe to do so. All decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the infectious diseases team.

Please be reassured that patient safety will always be the top priority. For example, if a patient in the community has a time-critical illness, they will be transferred to the closest appropriate hospital.

PPE guidelines

Ensuring you are wearing the correct PPE on site is vital. Please check the PPE guidelines that apply to you.