August 7, 2020

Like most major health services, we have a number of staff members who have tested positive to COVID-19. Contact tracing is an integral part of our follow-up process. This involves our Infection Prevention team contacting affected staff members to help identify potential sources of infection and close contacts. While this important process helps us to identify others who might be at risk, it also provides us with very valuable feedback about where we can make improvements across all areas of Western Health.

For these reasons, we ask all staff members who have tested positive to COVID-19 to be as honest as they possibly can be when contacted by Infection Prevention. It’s certainly not about attributing blame. Rather, it is about identifying ways we can all improve to keep ourselves, each other – and our patients – safe.

Today I can share that recent feedback from this process suggests there is still a lot of room for improvement with our use of PPE, particularly outside of the clinical environment. Please ensure you are wearing your face shields or eye protection, along with your surgical mask, when you are in shared administration areas, corridors and tea rooms. The only time we should be taking off our masks is when we are eating or drinking. We also need to remain conscious of physical distancing and hand hygiene. I know it can be difficult to maintain these behaviours throughout entire shifts and want to thank you all for your ongoing efforts.

Today I would also like to acknowledge the great work of the Sunshine Hospital Emergency Department team. While it’s a busy time for everyone, staff there are also having to work alongside the construction of the new SHED and plan for implementation of new models of care. Your efforts were also recognised in a lovely email from a patient, which you can read here. Well done, team.

Finally, if you have any questions about Worker Permits and Access to Onsite Childcare/Kindergarten Permits, please see information from the People and Culture team in the bulletin below.

Thanks for reading.




COVID-19 Daily Summary

• Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 574
• Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 81

Worker and Childcare/Kindergarten Permits

For further information about Worker Permits and Access to Onsite Childcare/Kindergarten permits, as overseen by the DHHS, please refer to this Western Health memo.

Verification of visitation exemptions

Any travel to visit a patient, to drop off items, or to attend an appointment is covered off as providing “care” under the Stage 4 exemptions. No letter is required nor will be provided.
The only exception is:

  • if carer is picking up or taking a patient to dialysis or radiotherapy appointment or to collect a patient on discharge, AND
  • they request a letter they can show if stopped by an enforcement agency.

In these circumstances a template letter has been distributed to NUMs and will require signature of the ED Clerical Manager or Transport Coordinator during hours, or the AHA after hours.

Contacting the PPE team

If you have any questions about PPE, or if you would like to request new face shields or goggles, please contact our PPE Team here.