Today I want to emphasise the importance of wearing appropriate PPE. As the outbreak continues to unfold in Victoria, with the number of exposure sites continually increasing, it is absolutely vital we all do the right thing to protect each other and our patients. I’ve heard reports of low PPE compliance in various areas across our sites, and this is really concerning. As our head of infectious diseases, Dr Marion Kainer, has explained, the COVID-19 variant behind Victoria’s current outbreak is more infectious – with a much shorter incubation period – than any variant we’ve dealt with previously. I ask staff members – both clinical and non-clinical – to please do the right thing. In clinical spaces, this means wearing eye protection (either face shields or goggles) and masks, as an absolute minimum. Staff in administrative or non-public facing areas must wear surgical masks, unless you are alone in an office with the door closed. Please familiarise yourself with the PPE requirements for your particular area.
Complying with PPE guidelines, as well as appropriate hand hygiene and physical distancing, is the responsibility of each of us, individually. If you see colleagues not following the guidelines, remind them of their responsibilities. Don’t walk past. Please also be respectful of our PPE champions and spotters. A reminder also that the PPE guidelines apply to everyone. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you still need to wear masks and comply with the PPE rules that apply in your area.
Please refer to the PPE section of the microsite for more information.
Today I’d also like to send a shout out to our colleagues in the Western Public Health Unit. As you can see in the photos below, the contact tracing team is working extraordinarily hard to keep Western Health – and our communities – safe. Thank you, all.
Our vaccination and testing teams are also working at an incredible pace, with 1255 COVID tests and 3181 vaccinations completed yesterday.
Today I’m pleased to let you know that the Wellbeing and Support hubs at Footscray and Sunshine are now back open again. The hubs were so popular during last year’s outbreak and I’d encourage you to make use of them again this year. Take some time out to sit down, relax and unwind.
You’re also invited to a Wellbeing Wednesday Webinar, today at 2pm, which is being presented by our counselling service Caraniche at Work. The topic is stress and fatigue, and will include tips on what we do to manage it. More details in the bulletin below.
Finally, a reminder to please continue checking the Department of Health’s list of exposure sites. This list is being updated frequently and now includes many sites across our region.
The guidelines here remain clear. If you, or a household contact, have been at any one of the Tier 1 exposure sites, please:
- follow Department of Health directions for isolation and testing
- do NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember also that if you are feeling unwell, or have even the mildest of symptoms, get tested and self-isolate until you have your test results.
Thanks for keeping updated.
Today (Wednesday June 2) we have commenced twice daily staff-only vaccination sessions at our Sunshine Hospital Vaccination Hub.
The morning session will operate between 0730-0830 hours and the afternoon session will be open between 1400-1600 hours.
These sessions will be available for walk-in appointments only with the intent of offering relatively quick access for staff who are attending the Hub for either their first or second dose. If you or your colleagues prefer to access a booked appointment– you can still do so by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
More details here.
Asymptomatic COVID testing for staff is being offered at our main sites this week:
- Footscray, private consulting rooms, reception area 2, 7.30am-4.30pm
- Sunshine Hospital COVID-19 Testing Clinic every day, 9am-6.30pm
- Williamstown Hospital, Emergency Department, 8am-12pm (please register with your ward clerk first, and enter the ED from the main entrance on Railway Place)
Wellbeing and support hubs
Western Health’s Wellbeing and Support hubs are opening again today:
- Footscray – Mavis Mitchell
- Sunshine – Lecture Theatre, WCHRE Building
The hubs are available for you to have some time away from your work area, to clear your mind or just have a quiet moment.
Wellbeing Wednesday Webinar
Today’s Wellbeing Wednesday Webinar, presented by Caraniche at Work, will begin at 2pm and covers the important of managing stress and fatigue.
To join in, click: https://zoom.us/j/3925450560
Meeting ID: 392 545 0560
COVID Active (Red) rating
Western Health, like all health services across metropolitan Melbourne, currently has a Code Active (Red) rating, under the Department of Health’s new system that helps health services assess the risk of COVID, and guides decisions around important topics such as the use of PPE and visitor restrictions. For more details, read our QRG.
Working at multiple workplaces
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, including Arcare Maidstone and BlueCross Western Gardens in Sunshine, 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).
This is a priority.
Management and care of COVID patients
The Department of Health, in cooperation with Western Health and all health services, is updating its 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.
Hotel quarantine residents, and 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, Monash Medical Centre Clayton (obstetric services)
- Lower Acuity Services (including for aged care residents): Epping Private Hospital, Latrobe Private Hospital
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.
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.