May 4, 2020

I am committed to ensure that I provide you with as much information as I have at hand regarding COVID-19, the impact at Western Health and the impact to our community.

Last week, I notified you of a patient who had presented to Western Health requiring emergency surgery. This patient had no known risk factors nor any symptoms of COVID-19 on admission, however developed a mild cough during their stay. Our staff promptly arranged testing and the patient was subsequently confirmed to have COVID-19. Western Health commenced contact tracing of staff and 24 staff were requested to self-quarantine, with appropriate ongoing testing and monitoring.

The safety of our staff is paramount and unfortunately I now need to let you know that one of the staff members in self-quarantine has tested positive to COVID-19.

The wellbeing of all staff is our priority, particularly staff that have been impacted by this scenario. The staff member who has tested positive is being provided with the necessary supports and we will continue to liaise closely with that staff member. Our thoughts are with them and their family.

This morning Premier Daniel Andrews announced 22 new cases of COVID-19 in Victoria. This number included 19 additional cases associated with a meat processing plant, taking the total number of cases associated with the plant to 34. I can assure you that Western Health is taking a comprehensive approach to keep our staff, patients and visitors safe in relation to this information and all relevant screening is in place.

Today, I ask that we all stay vigilant as the risk of outbreak continues. Vigilance includes maintaining the principles of physical distancing and good hand hygiene, adhering to all PPE guidelines, ensuring you stay at home if you are unwell and attend the Sunshine Respiratory Assessment Clinic if you have any cold or flu like symptoms.

Also, as of the weekend, three clinics have been set up for staff who do not have any respiratory symptoms but would like to be tested. See details of the Asymptomatic Staff Testing Clinics at Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown in the bulletin below. Testing is voluntary but I urge you to consider taking up this opportunity.

Finally, in this bulletin I have enclosed a letter of thanks to all Victorian health care workers, from the Premier Daniel Andrews, in case you have not yet seen this.

Thank you for the ongoing care you provide for our community.




• Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday: 95
• Numbers of individuals tested for COVID-19 at Western Health to date: 6573
• Numbers of individuals tested positive to date: 84
• Numbers of current inpatients with COVID-19: 0

Symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for staff

Any Western Health staff who have COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, should present to the Respiratory Assessment Clinic at Sunshine Hospital.

For staff who do not have any symptoms but who would like to be tested for COVID-19, you are welcome to book in to attend one of Western Health’s three Asymptomatic Staff Testing Clinics this week. These clinics, at Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown, are available to all clinical and non-clinical staff.

To make a booking, email the COVID-19 Staff Enquiry Helpdesk at whscovid-19staffclinicenquiries@wh.org.au. Please include in your email:

  • the site where you wish to be tested
  • your preference for three time periods that you are available (between 8am and 6pm)
  • contact phone number

The COVID-19 Staff Enquiry Helpdesk will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.

The Asymptomatic Staff Testing Clinics are open daily from 8am-6pm until Sunday, 10 May.

The clinics are located at:

  • Sunshine Hospital – Pod 3, Outpatients, Ground Floor ASB
  • Footscray Specialist Clinic – Private Consulting Rooms, Ground Floor
  • Williamstown Hospital – Emergency Department.

Premier's letter of support

I have enclosed below a copy of the letter of support for health care workers issued today by the Premier Dan Andrews. I endorse these words fully!