Since news in late 2019 of the new coronavirus, we have all been watching the development and impact of this new disease.  With the arrival of the first person in Victoria impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on 24 January 2020, we have shifted our focus from afar to near.

At Monash Health we responded as planned and provided exceptional care to those who have developed the disease, as well as being responsive to the concerns of the community through information and testing when needed.  To this time we have only seen three people with COVID-19 and tested 450 people (all negative).  I think we can all be very proud of the considerable work by our teams, at all levels, that has seen people remain calm and prepared for presentations of patients with COVID-19.

We have also taken the opportunity to refresh our plans to respond to a pandemic, working closely with the State Department of Health and Human Services, many of our senior leaders and other agencies.  I want to thank Kym Forrest and Dr Rhonda Stuart and the many people they have worked with to this time.

With recent developments in Australia and, in particular, the news that there has been community acquired disease in other states, it is now important we take our preparations to another level.  We want to ensure a continued level of support for our employees and community and ensure that we are able to respond to a significant increase in people needing our support and care.

To ensure we effectively oversee and coordinate our preparations, our ‘Hospital Incident Command Centre’ will now be formally established to oversee and coordinate our preparations and management of any pandemic; including our operations, logistics, planning, and communication functions. To ensure our action plans remain current with the latest developments and advice, our Operations Group will meet weekly in task-specific working groups, covering areas such as critical care, pharmacy, aged care, site and ward logistics and pathology (to name a few).

To ensure our communications are streamlined you will start to receive regular communications on email (Covid19update) and through our intranet.

Many have asked what can you be doing now.

  1. Stay informed through reliable information
    The most current and important information can be found at the following pages and links: our dedicated webpage detailing Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Monash Health employees, as well as the DHHS’s webpages for healthcare workers and the community.
  1. Refresh your knowledge of the use of PPE
    You can watch the video outlining the key steps for applying and removing personal protective equipment.
  1. Understand your local area plan
    Talk with your manager so that you are up to date and aware of any developments.
  1. Practice good hand hygiene
    I am sure I reflect the sentiments of our community when I say thank you for your ongoing care. I will continue to keep you updated and I appreciate your cooperation and understanding in this challenging and unprecedented time.

We will also provide a further update, on Tuesday 10 March from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, at the second Monash Health COVID-19 Employee Forum, MMC Lecture Theatre 1, (BlueJeans other sites).

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

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