Western Health’s COVID-19 leadership team is closely monitoring all developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in NSW. While it’s very pleasing to note that Victoria has again reported zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, it’s vital we all remain vigilant over the coming weeks. Yesterday’s notification of a Victorian who returned a positive COVID-19 test after a trip to NSW is a reminder of how easily the virus could be re-introduced here.
I’d like to remind all staff who have returned from the Greater Sydney, Northern Beaches, Central Coast, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Wollongong regions on or since Friday 11 December that you must not attend work and are required to contact COVID Staff Enquiries at email@example.com. Email is the recommended first point of contact, but you can also call via switch on 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID, and then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.
Our infection prevention teams are able to do risk assessments for individual staff members, so please make contact today – as a priority.
The Helpdesk will continue to operate over the Christmas-New Year period with the exception of Friday 25 December, Friday 1 January and Saturday 2 January. Please note that there will also be modified hours at the Sunshine, Sunbury and Showgrounds Respiratory Assessment Clinics over Christmas and New Year. Please refer to the microsite here for details. More COVID-19 information from the Department of Health and Human Services, including testing sites statewide, can be found here.
Today I’d also like to reiterate Western Health’s current guidelines for COVID Screening. All patients, outpatients and visitors should be screened prior to entry and asked whether they have visited the NSW regions listed above since 11 December.
All inpatients who have visited those regions since 11 December should be quarantined in a single room for 14 days since they last visited those areas.
If a patient, outpatient or visitor discloses that they have visited the Greater Sydney region since 11 December, please contact the De-isolation HMO on 8395 9048 or on switch 8345 6666 so further risk assessment can be conducted. Visitors who were in those red zones will not be allowed entry.
I also encourage any staff who visited NSW recently to monitor the NSW Health website, which is being regularly updated with its list of ‘exposure sites’. And please encourage friends and family to do the same.
Finally, I’d like to wish you and your families a happy end to 2020. It’s been an exceptionally challenging year for everyone, but the hard work and dedication of the entire Western Health team has been incredible. Thank you.
If you can, please take the time to recharge and enjoy yourself – and keep COVID-Safe.
Acting Executive Director Operations
COVID-19 Daily Summary
- Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 589
- Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 0
- Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID 19: 189
- Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID 19: 0
- Numbers of staff who have been cleared to return to work post COVID 19: 189
Patient leave over festive season
A reminder that patients will be able to access day leave over the festive season as long as their treating multidisciplinary team approves AND they do not have any COVID-19 risk factors including:
- they are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
- they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms
- they are not awaiting COVID-19 test results
- the patient’s family & friends who they will see on day leave do not have any of these COVID-19 risk factors
Patients should be screened via usual processes on their return to hospital.
A handout with tips for patients on how to keep COVID-safe while enjoying the festive season can be found here and is also on our COVID-19 microsite.
Marion's Christmas gathering advice
If you are planning a Christmas gathering with family or friends, please do so in a COVID-Safe manner. Our Head of Infectious Diseases, Dr Marion Kainer, has been kind enough to put together some tips for us all to follow:
- Outside is your friend! Consider an outdoor venue, where the risk is 20 times lower than indoors
- If inside, ensure you follow the density guidelines: 1 person per 4 square metres
- The larger the number of people present, the greater the chance that someone could be exposed – and infected. Consider hosting multiple smaller gatherings, rather than a larger gathering
- Limit the time people are gathering together. Consider a shorter gathering over a set period of time
- Avoid noisy venues. People singing or raising their voices will increase aerosol generation
- If you are travelling in a car, try to leave a window open, when possible, and have the air conditioner on the ‘fresh’ air setting.
COVID-19 De-Isolation Process
Western Health’s clinical guidelines for the COVID-19 de-isolation process, as overseen by Paul Eleftheriou and Shane Crowe, are regularly reviewed and updated. Please click here for full details.
Western Health’s visitor restrictions have been implemented to keep the community safe while supporting the provision of the highest level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions are consistent with Department of Health and Human Services guidance and Hospital Visitor Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
Please click here for Western Health’s current visitor guidelines.
COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk
Western Health has a dedicated COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk, which is available to both individual staff and managers. Confidentiality is assured. Email is recommended as the first point of contact where possible: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emails will be responded to within 24 hours (excluding the closure dates of Friday 25 December, Friday 1 January and Saturday 2 January where a response may take longer).
Telephone contact: via Switch 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID – then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.