October 21, 2021

As we come to the end of lockdown tonight the high number of community cases reported this morning is a timely reminder of the need to remain careful both at work and in the community. At Western Health, this means continuing to follow our well-established COVID-safe practices to keep ourselves, our colleagues, our patients and our families safe.

Last night we became aware two patients on Ward 2A Sunshine Hospital have tested positive to COVID-19. Our contact tracing, infection prevention and infectious diseases teams are investigating. We request any staff who attended this ward from Friday, 15 October – Wednesday, 20 October inclusive be tested for COVID-19. If you think you may not have been fully compliant with PPE, we ask that you fill out this RedCap contact tracing survey or email WHCOVIDcontacttracing@wh.org.au. The contact tracing team is directly contacting staff who have been identified as potential close contacts. See full details here and in bulletin below.

The potential risk for exposures in ongoing. Can I ask all staff to please keep following our PPE guidelines, and to be particularly vigilant in tea and break rooms, where the risk of exposure is increased. Our COVID microsite is an excellent resource for all staff – particularly the New on the Coronavirus Site section, which lists all recent updates to QRGs and other guidelines.

I’d like to reassure you that Western Health’s COVID leadership team is continually reviewing all aspects of our COVID response, in line with the Department of Health guidelines. Our aim is to find ways to make your job just that little bit easier, during what is a very challenging time.

One important new tool allows clinicians to check the vaccination status of their patients. All COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Australia are uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register and are available for clinician access via your patient’s My Health Record. Clinicians are able to access My Health Record via EMR or BOSSNet links. Click here for more details.

Another great Western Health initiative is our new 24/7 dedicated transport service for COVID-positive patients, which is expediting discharge to home. All clinical areas can access this resource through the normal National Patient Transport (NPT) booking platform. In the notes column, please add “IMAX Vehicle”. More details here.

As the need for hospital care related to COVID increases, Western Health has responded by expanding our services. In addition to our EDs and ICUs, we now have two COVID dedicated wards at Footscay (2D and 2C) and have expanded the numbers of beds at Sunshine (3F, 2G and maternity services). We look forward to also providing care in our Children’s Ward at Joan Kirner in the near future as the need arises.

Finally, I’d like to finish with a story that aired on Nine News late last week about our outstanding new service for COVID-positive dialysis patients at Sunshine Hospital, which is the first of its kind in Victoria. Robert Sculli, the brother of dialysis patient Rolly, said it all: “The COVID team out there at Sunshine…the job that they are doing, I cannot thank them enough. They have saved my brother.”





COVID summary

Confirmed COVID ward inpatients at Western Health: 64

Confirmed COVID ICU inpatients at Western Health: 14

Confirmed COVID patients receiving Western Health care in the community: 184

COVID tests by our testing sites yesterday: 1925

Vaccinations delivered yesterday by West Metro COVID Vaccinations team: overall (1,022,906) and yesterday (8182)

Percentage of Western Health staff vaccinated: 97.2% first dose and 89.7% second dose

Positive case at Ward 2a Sunshine

We have become aware of two patients that have tested positive to COVID-19 on ward 2A at Sunshine Hospital. Ward 2A will be closed to admissions and transfers at the current time.

As the Western Health Contact Tracing Infection Prevention Team and Infectious Diseases continue to review this situation, guidelines for staff are as follows:

Any staff who attended  Sunshine Hospital Ward 2A from Friday 15th to Wednesday 20th October 2021 inclusive, who may have had a breach in PPE (for example, not been compliant wearing eye protection and an N95 mask) are required to:

The Contact Tracing Team will directly contact staff who have been identified as potential close contacts. All other staff (clinical and non-clinical) who have attended Ward SH2A, from Friday 15th October to Wednesday 20th 2021 who have not been contacted directly by the contact tracers are able to continue to work and take the following actions:

  1. Get tested even if you are well. Asymptomatic testing is available at the Sunshine Hospital COVID Testing Clinic, open from 7am – 5.30pm daily or Footscray Hospital Private Consulting Rooms open 7.15am -4pm
  2. Continue to work wearing an N95 mask and eye protection

We are aware that wearing PPE and adhering to physical distancing guidelines can be challenging for all of us, however a reminder that in all clinical areas of Western Health we are requesting staff wear a P2/N95 mask and eye protection – preferably a face shield.

A reminder for any staff with COVID symptoms, no matter how mild, please

  • Do not attend work
  • Immediately isolate
  • Attend Sunshine Hospital COVID testing Clinic, which is open 9am – 5.30pm every day.