Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 26 June

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • No COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • Two employees with COVID-19. They are both in isolation at home and doing well.
  • 29 employees in precautionary quarantine, as a result of three separate potential exposures. This number is steadily reducing as people pass 14 days in quarantine and receive a clear swab result from day 11. At the highest point, we had 40 employees in quarantine earlier this week.

I would like to acknowledge and thank you for your patience and confidence in our Infection Prevention team, and for the support that you provide them when we need to act quickly.

When we have potential exposure, we immediately convene an Outbreak Management Team (OMT) to understand the risks and oversee the contact tracing and quarantining of employees and patients. Led by Dr Rhonda Stuart (Medical Director Infection Prevention), the Infection Prevention team works closely with local management to identify ‘close contacts’ and talk with them to provide guidance. Written communications are provided to the local teams, and a WebEx event held so that people can ask questions. There is also discussion at our bi-weekly employee forums.

This was the case when an employee’s family member returned a positive COVID-19 test result on Tuesday. The team member was advised by Infection Prevention that they had been deemed a close contact of their family member. They left work immediately and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 the following day. Our Infection Prevention team quickly contacted all employees and patients who may have been in contact and, as per Department of Health and Human Services exposure criteria, those deemed to be in close contact are now isolated. Other employees in the work area, who were not in close contact, were advised the same day.

Rest assured, in a potential exposure situation, if you are not contacted by our Infection Prevention team, then you do not need to be concerned.

Dr Stuart and I will talk about ‘How we respond to a potential COVID-19 outbreak’ at the employee forum on Tuesday 30 June and at the Medical Grand Round on Wednesday 1 July. We will also record the sessions for future use, or in case you are unable to attend.

With the extension of the State of Emergency, an increased rate of infection, anxiety in the community,and two areas in our catchment area designated as ‘hot spots’, we have again needed to respond quickly and with agility. As we have said many times, this is no surprise and it is what we have prepared for. All Australian jurisdictions have agreed to adopt a suppression strategy to manage outbreaks. Under a suppression strategy, we will experience periodic outbreaks and some community transmission.

Our response has been swift and effective. In the past week, we have made changes to our screening clinics, increasing our capacity and reach. Since Monday 22 June, we have seen 6,000 people, with more and more presenting for screening every day.

Our teams have set up these clinics in remarkable time, and many of them are spending time in the cold and the wet, supporting  people who may be feeling anxious or uncertain, working carefully to ensure each test is completed accurately. They are doing a mighty job for our community. A very special thank you to Claire Pierce and her team.

Sometimes there have been long waits and, on occasion, the queues have been closed so that traffic can be managed safely. On the whole, the community has been very patient and understanding. We are continuing to urge people to come in for testing if they are symptomatic – even if these are very mild symptoms – not because they are necessarily feeling concerned.

You can find the latest information on our testing clinics, locations and times on our website.

Asymptomatic testing is now available for those who live or work in Hallam, Pakenham, Keilor Downs, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Broadmeadows, Brunswick West, Fawkner and Reservoir. Asymptomatic healthcare workers do not need to self-isolate while waiting for results unless there are other reasons to do so, such as being a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person.

Monash Health employees have priority access at Clayton, Dandenong and Berwick screening clinics from 8.00am – 9.00am seven days a week. You also have priority access at the Casey Fields drive-through clinic. Please remember to bring your Mona​sh Health ID with you.

To minimise the risk of infection, we need to remain vigilant and disciplined with our safety measures.

  • If you live in one of the six local government areas (Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin) identified as COVID-19 ‘hotspots’ due to the level of community transmission, think twice about unnecessary travel and activities outside your home.
  • All outreach services should wear a surgical mask, i.e. Tier 0 PPE, for all visits to people in their homes within Casey and Cardinia. This allows for an initial assessment to be made under a level of precaution and the necessary PPE to be worn for the encounter.

Once again, I remind you to be disciplined with your physical distancing in and outside of your workplace – no handshakes or hugs and stay 1.5m apart. Maintain good hand hygiene, don’t share food or drinks, avoid crowds and do not attend work if you are unwell.

I appreciate that this is challenging, but it is vital, and we must provide good examples, strong leadership and continued support for each other.

Thanks again for your hard work and dedication, and for lifting your efforts to meet every challenge. It is a great privilege to work as the Chief Executive of Monash Health, and your professionalism and response makes that even more so.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

Key Messages

New drive-through COVID-19 screening clinic at Casey Fields

We have opened a new drive-through screening clinic at Casey Fields. Monash Health is operating the clinic in collaboration with DHHS, and it will increase testing capacity for the local community using the safest operating model of drive-through screening. Located in an isolated area of the 70-hectare site, the clinic will operate seven days a week, 9.00am to 12noon and 1.00pm to 4.00pm. Read more here. 

Priority access for employees at screening clinics

From today, Monash Health employees will have priority access at Clayton, Dandenong and Berwick screening clinics, from 8.00am – 9.00am seven days a week. You will also have priority access at the Casey Fields drive-through clinic. Please bring your Mona​sh Health ID with you to the clinic.

Starlight Captains and Radio Lollipop keep the smiles coming

COVID-19 saw our volunteer services temporarily suspended, and Visiting Volunteer Program organisations were limited with the services they could deliver. Thankfully, the Starlight Children’s Foundation Captains and the Radio Lollipop volunteers have continued to make children, adolescents, families and employees smile throughout these difficult times. Read more here.

Have you been asked to witness a will?

We have seen an increase in requests for employees to witness new or amended patient wills. Our clear instruction to all employees is that they should not witness a patient’s will. If you have been asked to witness a will or a patient wants more advice, contact the Monash Health legal team by email at Read more here.

Last chance to nominate your STARS

In the last few months, we have seen so many extraordinary examples of kindness, respect, and excellence across Monash Health in our response to COVID-19. Who are your COVID-19 STAR colleagues or teams? Nominate an individual or team through the STAR award portal before midnight on Tuesday 30 June 2020. Read more here.

EMR upgrade – updated Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) now live

As of next Wednesday, 1 July, we’ll be introducing a range of improvements and enhancements in the way we use the EMR and the data it captures. A range of Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) have been updated to reflect these changes and assist you with understanding new workflows. Learn more

PPE for outreach employees – masks to be worn

In recent days the number of positive COVID-19 cases has increased within Victoria. As there are active cases present in Cardinia and Casey, all Monash Health employees involved in outreach work that involves visiting people’s homes or workplaces in those two areas must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equivalent to Tier 0 – Surgical masks. Read more here.

COVID-19 haematology research features on ABC’s 7.30

Research exploring whether plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can help improve patient outcomes, recovery and survival, featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program this week, after filming at Monash Medical Centre. The hope is other recovered patients will take part in the study by also donating their convalescent plasma. Read more here.

Last days to complete your mandatory and targeted training

Please log in to LATTE and complete your mandatory and targeted training by 1 July 2020. Learn more here.

WebEx sessions can help us achieve 100% PPE training by 1 July 2020

To help patient-facing employees complete their PPE training, face-to-face WebEx sessions commenced this week. This means that those who are not able to attend the daily 2pm sessions in person can access face-to-face training via WebEx meetings. Read more here.

Vaccination or declaration is mandatory – we’ve hit 86%

The annual influenza vaccination or declaration by all Monash Health employees is mandatory. The vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection and, so far, more than 86% of employees have done so. We’ve got about seven weeks to go so let’s hit our targets!

Ward Boards are important tools

Please spend some time next week ensuring your unit’s Welcome to Ward and Quality Boards are up-to-date. It’s essential that this information is current, accurate, and reflects the great work happening in your ward. Learn more here

Book in a ‘Give Me Five’ conversation

Give Me Five conversations are a chance for you to be empowered, engaged, and involved in decisions about your role and future goals and objectives. Learn more here.

Continue to take advantage of wellbeing resources

Take advantage of the health and wellbeing resources we have available for you, including the Call a Psychologist service and the employee assistance program. Don’t forget the basics of your physical health and remember we have links to resources online for you and your teams, including a helpful guide tostretching at your desk, wherever that desk might be.

Cybersecurity – don’t click on COVID-19 related links or attachments

As reported earlier in the week, cybercriminals are capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic by sending fraudulent emails that could infect computers or lead to the theft of account details and personal information. Don’t click on COVID-19 related links or attachments you receive via email or messaging apps, unless you are certain it’s coming from a trusted source. Read more here.

Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice

The information about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice by referring to the Monash Health Employee Coronavirus website. To make accessing the site quicker, you can create a shortcut on your smartphone by following these instructions.

All managers are requested to share these updates with their teams and discuss at stand-ups and handovers. Please print a copy and display it in communication books and on employee noticeboards.

As advice and information evolve, please consult the latest updates and visit the Department of Health and Human Services and Monash Health COVID-19 website for employees regularly for the latest.

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