You may be aware that National Cabinet has announced an end to mandatory isolation for people with COVID-19, effective from 14 October. We expect Victoria’s pandemic orders will be amended on 12 October, aligning with the decision by National Cabinet.
End of mandatory isolation and implications for health services
We anticipate that while it will no longer be mandatory to isolate at home, staff would still not be permitted to attend work at Western Health, which is considered a sensitive setting, until 7 days after returning a positive test. In addition, we anticipate a range of measures would remain in place to support staff, patient and visitor safety.
For the moment, current guidance for staff remains in place and we await further direction from the Victorian Department of Health. Visitor and outpatient screening will also continue to be an important risk mitigation measure.
Further changes to mask wearing
We continue to review, monitor and evaluate COVID risk to our patients, staff and volunteers. With COVID community prevalence continuing to decline, we have made further changes to mask wearing at Western Health.
Clinical areas – N95 masks required at all times
Staff must continue to wear N95 masks in clinical areas e.g. patient-staff interactions, inpatient and outpatient areas, emergency departments, ICU’s, moving from one ward to another during a medical ward round, exiting a shared office space to enter a ward.
Non-clinical public facing – N95 encouraged, surgical mask acceptable
Stuff must wear an N95 or surgical mask in non-patient care areas that are public-facing e.g. hospital entrances and reception areas.
Non-public facing areas – N95/surgical masks encouraged but not required
Staff are no longer required to wear a mask in non-clinical, non-public facing areas e.g. shared offices, educational areas or at team meetings. However, staff may choose to continue wearing N95 or surgical masks to protect themselves and/or others.
Mask guidance is subject to change depending on community prevalence of COVID and impact on staffing. Wearing an N95 mask and being up to date with vaccination offers the best protection against COVID-19.
Acting Chief Operating Officer