With Victoria’s great run of no community transmission continuing, our COVID leadership team is also continuing to review the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines that apply at Western Health. Over the past few days, we have been able to make a number of decisions that will no doubt be welcomed by staff, patients and visitors. All of these decisions are underpinned by the principle of patient, staff and visitor safety remaining the priority and a need to ensure physical distancing whenever practically feasible.
Firstly, we are introducing new guidelines regarding eye protection. Eye protection is still required as part of standard precautions, for staff working with patients suspected of COVID-19 and for staff working with patients undergoing aerosol generating procedures (AGBs), or aerosol generating behaviours (AGBs). Outside of these areas, the use of eye protection is now optional. Masks remain mandatory for all staff in all indoor settings.
We are also simplifying and further easing our visitor restrictions. In doing this, the real challenge for us at Western Health is to support visiting whilst maintaining physical distancing and preventing overcrowding in patient rooms. For this reason, there are still some limitations in place. Patients will now be able to have two visitors per day, between the hours of 12pm-8pm. Women on maternity wards are permitted one support person for an unlimited time between 8am-8pm, while patients under the age of 18 are permitted two visitors for an unlimited time.
For further details, click on the updated QRG here.
In further COVID-related changes, surgical patients will no longer need to be swabbed for COVID before their surgery, however pre-op screening for COVID remains a requirement prior to surgery and on the day of surgery.
We are coming into the festive season and we are receiving lots of queries regarding Christmas parties. It has been a very tough year and I know teams are keen to come together, acknowledge the efforts of everyone and say thanks. We are shortly going to be running some sessions on how to celebrate this festive season and summer in a safe way. Marion will be hosting these and key principles continue to apply- outside is your friend! Risk of COVID transmission reduces 20 times by being outside- so think about outdoor events where possible. As we are an essential service for our community, we would also appreciate teams thinking about risks associated with any events they may hold. For example, we would hate for an entire service or team to potentially be exposed to a risk impacting our capacity to care for our community. More detail regarding COVID safe celebrations to come!
Exciting news for Western Health! Please take a moment to look at the SBS World News story that featured the fantastic team behind the Western Health’s CALD Assist app – and the latest module that is making COVID-19 screening accessible to non-English speakers. Working with the CSIRO, the Western Health team spent hundreds of hours adapting the app and then made it available publicly for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store so healthcare workers anywhere could use it. Without any fanfare, they just got on with the job – isn’t that the ‘Western Health’ way! Well done to everybody involved, particularly our incredible speech pathology and interpreting teams.
Also, a number of other Western Health staff will be featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program tomorrow night, reflecting on their experiences of the ‘second wave’, so tune in if you can.
Thanks for reading.
COVID-19 Daily Summary
- Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 284
- 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
Changes of hours to Sunshine's Respiratory Assessment Clinic
From Saturday, 28 November, the operating hours for the Sunshine Hospital Respiratory Assessment Clinic will change to 10am-5.30pm, 7 days a week. Western Health staff may continue to access the clinic via the Pod 1 entrance via the main hospital (outside lifts 16 and 17 of the Acute Services Building).
PPE Restricted Stores process
The PPE Restricted Stores process will be changing to allow clinical and non-clinical areas to order their required PPE supplies via email at Covid-19PPE@wh.org.au. An email order form will be available one the PPE microsite, along with instructions for ordering in the PPE Restricted Stores process. PPE will be delivered to wards and non-clinical areas on specific days as per the process. Staff will no longer be required to sign in and out PPE supplies as the responsibility for storage of PPE and appropriate use will lie with area managers. The PPE clinical team will be coordinating supply, ordering, delivery and product changes on each site and remain contactable on the site-based phone numbers. Click on the following QRGs for more information: PPE Restricted Stores Process and PPE Restricted Stores Order Form.
New videos and posters for staff using P2/N95 respirator masks
Our microsite has been updated to include several new videos and posters to assist staff wearing different types of P2/N95 respirator masks. Click here.
What’s new on the COVID-19 microsite?
Click here for links to all the QRGs, Clinical Guidelines and other items of note uploaded to the microsite over the past seven days.
GP Education Hub on WeLearn
We have just launched the GP Education Hub via the new WeLearn platform. GPs can now access the hub to view all previously recorded GP education webinars that have been hosted by WH as well Grand Rounds, many of which have included information about the COVID-19 response. Click here for the full list of Grand Rounds.
Please note that WH staff can access this hub via https://welearn.wh.org.au/course/view.php?id=449
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:
Emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Telephone contact: via Switch 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID – then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.