The New Zealand outbreak continues to evolve rapidly. Further to the Bulletin released on 25 January, DHHS is now requesting people who have visited New Zealand since 9 January 2021 seek COVID-19 testing. Further information is available at the DHHS website here.
In response, Western Health is putting in place the following strategies to keep our staff and visitors safe:
Any staff who were in New Zealand on or since Saturday 9 January 2021 are asked to NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any staff who have visited New Zealand on or since Saturday 9 January 2021 must also seek COVID testing ASAP. Staff members who visited any locations identified as specific exposure sites by the New Zealand Government must quarantine for 14 days since they last visited that location. A list of sites is found here. Staff who visited New Zealand but did not visit the specific exposure sites listed must quarantine until receiving a negative result.
Operating hours for the Sunshine Hospital Respiratory Assessment Clinic are 10am-5.30pm, 7 days a week. Western Health staff may continue to access the clinic via the Pod 1 entrance via the main hospital (outside lifts 16 and 17 of the Acute Services Building).
As part of COVID Screening, all patients, outpatients and visitors should be screened prior to entry and asked whether they have visited New Zealand on or since Saturday 9 January 2021.
All inpatients who have visited New Zealand on or since Saturday 9 January 2021 should be tested and quarantined in a single room for 14 days since they last returned from New Zealand (unless discharged earlier).
If a patient, outpatient or visitor discloses that they have visited New Zealand on or since Saturday 9 January 2021, please contact the De-isolation HMO on 8395 9048 or on switch 8345 6666 so further risk assessment can be conducted.
We appreciate that staff may have travel plans to New Zealand and that the current situation may be creating some anxiety. Those intending to go to New Zealand should be aware of the risk at present and that they may need to quarantine on return to Victoria. We would advise people to keep themselves informed of the changing advice from DHHS regarding travel.
We also want to remind everyone of the appropriate use of PPE. Masks must be worn in all clinical and public areas across all sites. Masks are optional in administrative areas where you can retain a minimum of 1.5M physical distance. All visitors are required to wear masks.
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 or exhibiting aerosol generating behaviours.
Acting Executive Director Operations