December 9, 2020

Western Health’s COVID-19 leadership is continually evaluating the restrictions in place across our sites. We do this in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services – and always with the health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors as the top consideration.

The DHHS has this week changed its guidelines for the wearing of masks in Victorian health services. From today, staff working in administration areas such as staff offices or meeting rooms will no longer need to wear masks. This means that you can now work at your desk, and go to the tearoom et cetera, without your mask (provided you don’t need to pass through patient-facing or public areas of the hospital to do so).
Masks must still be worn in all other settings at our hospitals, for the time being. This includes all patient-facing and public areas at all sites. All visitors are required to wear masks.

A reminder also that masks are still required in many settings outside of work, such as in shopping centres, supermarkets and on public transport.

Our guidelines for the use of eye protection remain unchanged. To recap – 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 (AGPs), or aerosol generating behaviours (AGBs). Outside of these areas, the use of eye protection is now optional.

Our PPE guidelines and posters will soon be updated to reflect these changes.

Finally, density guidelines also remain unchanged. That is, there should only be one person per 4 square metres in spaces across our sites. (This is not always possible in the clinical setting, but please maintain social distancing wherever practicable).

I hope to be able to make further announcements about the easing of restrictions in coming days and weeks.

Thanks for keeping updated.




COVID-19 Daily Update

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 269
  • 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


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.


Marion's Christmas party advice

Staff cannot congregate at work for Christmas gatherings this year, due to current COVID-19 guidelines. However if you are planning any events outside work, whether they be with family or colleagues, please do so in a COVID-Safe manner. Our Head of Infectious Diseases, Dr Marion Kainer, has been kind enough to put together some Christmas gathering tips for us all to follow:

  • Outside is your friend! Consider an outdoor venue, where the risk is 20 times lower than indoors
  • If inside, ensure you follow the density guidelines: 1 person per 4 square metres
  • The larger the number of people present, the greater the chance that someone could be exposed – and infected. Consider hosting multiple smaller gatherings, rather than a large gathering involving an entire team
  • Limit the time people are meeting together. Consider a shorter gathering over a set period of time
  • Avoid noisy venues. People singing or raising their voices will increase aerosol generation.

PPE guidelines

Please take the time to review the extensive range of PPE resources and guidelines on our microsite.

Click here for the latest.


COVID-19 Staff 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.


Virtual pop-up sessions about Western Health's strategy

Thank you to all who have already shared their ideas to inform the new Strategy via surveys, interviews, pop-ups and focus groups. We have now consolidated all input and want to share with you what our strategic direction might look like – and ask your feedback.

Building on the success of the virtual pop-up series in September, a second series is under way this week. The format will be the same: interactive, virtual 30 min sessions for anyone in Western Health.

Each pop-up is focused on a key theme of our new Strategy.

Take a look at the times and themes below and join us for a 30 minute session online. You are very welcome to join multiple sessions.