May 27, 2021

As Victoria’s COVID outbreak continues to develop, it is anticipated that Metropolitan Melbourne will move to COVID Active (Red) today under the Department of Health’s new system that helps health services assess the risk of COVID.

Western Health’s COVID leadership team has pro-actively decided to make a number of changes, in line with that rating status. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, all decisions are being made with the safety of our staff, patients and visitors as top priority, and always in line with Department of Health guidelines.

These changes are detailed below. However Russell Harrison is also hosting a webinar at 2pm TODAY to discuss Western Health’s response to the rapidly evolving COVID situation, and he will be happy to answer your questions.

Please click the link below to join the webinar at 2PM TODAY:


Passcode: 185205



Effectively immediately, the following guidelines apply across our sites:



  • All patients are encouraged to wear masks, where tolerated.
  • All staff to wear masks at all times and eye protection in clinical areas
  • No eating or drinking in clinical spaces
  • N95 masks to be used for any interaction with a patient that has suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • PPE “spotters” will be implemented when a ward/department is deemed to be high risk. At this stage this is our EDs, as our wards are not considered high-risk at this point. This will be continuously monitored.



  • All departments are asked to enact Team A and Team B measures
  • Ensure that staff are not travelling across sites


Social Distancing measures:

  • Ensure strict social distancing in tea rooms, with sign-in and out of the room.
  • No face-to-face meetings unless clinically required. Use Zoom wherever possible.
  • Telehealth is encouraged wherever possible.



  • Face-to-face education is being suspended, with the exception of BLS and ALS (which will be socially distanced with PPE)


Vulnerable staff:

  • We are putting plans in place to be able to identify and appropriately manage any vulnerable staff. Further detail to follow.


Visitor restrictions:

  • In line with Victoria’s lock down restrictions there are now only 5 reasons to leave your home.
  • At this stage visitor restrictions are limited to a maximum of two (2) visitors per day, from 1 household, for a maximum of two hours, however we anticipate this will be further reduced over the course of today.


All of our restrictions and guidelines are subject to change, given the rapidly evolving nature of Victoria’s current COVID outbreak.


As you will be aware, the list of exposure sites continues to expand. If you or a household contact have been at one of the Tier 1 exposure sites, please follow the directions on the Department of Health website regarding isolation and testing. Do NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au .

I ask all staff to be vigilant in checking the Department of Health’s list of exposure sites at least twice a day. Save the link to your phone or desktop.


Finally, I also want to acknowledge the extraordinary amount of work being done by so many of you, on several fronts, as part of our COVID response. This includes our Western Public Health Unit, which is playing a key role in Victoria’s contact tracing process, as well as our COVID vaccination and testing sites. Russell and I have been really proud of the way the clinical and non clinical teams have responded to this unfolding situation. It’s clear we are a health service that is very well-prepared, not only as a result of our experiences last year, but also the extensive – and ongoing – planning for any COVID-related scenarios. Thank you, everyone.

While the heavy lifting is falling on some key teams, it’s important to remember that every single one of us has a role to play. Sticking to the basics is imperative. Maintaining physical distancing, wearing appropriate PPE, signing our daily attestations, following the advice of our infectious diseases experts, and regularly checking the Department of Health’s list of exposure sites are all individual responsibilities. Please also remember the everyday things we can do differently during COVID. Let’s keep working together to keep each other, and our patients and communities, safe. More information on how to do that can be found on our COVID microsite.


Thanks for reading.

I’ll continue to keep you updated.