As news of the spread of COVID-19 around the world increases, I wanted to provide you with an update and ensure we are all working from the most current information.
To date, 23 people in Australia have been diagnosed with the virus, including seven in Victoria. Eight of those are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and have been medically evacuated to their home states. The three cases diagnosed at Monash Health have all involved people who have travelled to China, and these patients have all been discharged.
There has been no identified human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in Australia so far.
However, case numbers outside China are rising, so we must continue to prepare for an increase in presentations. Earlier this week, the Federal Government published the Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the COVID-19 Plan). This plan outlines a health sector-wide strategy for dealing with a large-scale coronavirus outbreak should it occur.
At Monash Health, we continue to plan for such an event, working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services.
We have clear processes in place for all patients presenting to our Emergency Department. 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.
We have also had a number of queries relating to travel, especially employees asking if it is safe to travel to certain countries. The advice is updated frequently and the best place to go to for the most current information is the Government’s Smart Traveller website.
More resources are available:
- DHHS COVID-19 resources and information
- Information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Monash Health employees
- Smart Traveller website
Thank you for the care and support you provide to our community and each other.