Nearly four weeks ago, Australia’s first case of Novel coronavirus, now referred to as COVID-19, was diagnosed and cared for at Monash Health. As has been widely reported in the media, that person has since been cleared of the disease and discharged home, as have the other people diagnosed at Monash Health.
I think we can all be immensely proud of our Monash Health team who provided excellent care and kindness to the patient and his family and also each other, as they navigated a new disease garnering a lot of media attention.
While case numbers are increasing in China, and some person-to-person transmission has occurred in other countries, it is important to remember that in Australia there are still only 15 cases (three diagnosed at Monash Health) and each of these has been related to people who have travelled in China.
Monash Health’s emergency departments have seen a decreasing number of people concerned that they might have the virus, with very few in the past week.
Despite this, we continue to be ready for any escalation in numbers and remain in close contact with the Department of Health and Human Services and other health services.
We have good processes in place for all patients presenting to ED but if you are concerned that a person on the ward may have COVID-19, the key initial steps to take are:
- Place a single-use surgical mask on the patient.
- See if the patient meets the case definition for a suspected case.
- If the patient meets the criteria:
a)contact the Infectious Diseases Registrar to discuss testing, and
b)notify Infection Prevention for infection control requirements.
- Information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Monash Health employees
- Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton’s advice for Victorians
- DHHS resources and information
Thank you, as always, for the care you provide to our community, and for the professionalism with which you have responded.