Acting Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 8 July

Message from the Acting Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • No COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • One employee with COVID-19. They are in isolation at home and doing well.
  • Eighteen 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.

Return to Stage Three restrictions
Yesterday the Premier announced a return to Stage Three restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne (all metropolitan Local Government Areas and Mitchell Shire), effective from 11.59pm tonight for six weeks.

This means that there will be only four reasons to leave home (your principal place of residence): shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work and study — if you can’t do it from home. You must not exercise outside of metropolitan Melbourne.

These restrictions have been reinstated as Victoria recorded the largest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started.

We know that the reinstatement of Stage Three restrictions will impact everyone in different ways, and we are committed to providing you with the support you need to get through this time. If you are concerned for your wellbeing, please consult the employee health and wellbeing resources on our COVID-19 website or call the Monash Health COVID-19 Employee Hotline on (03) 9594 5815, 7am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Updates on schools
From Monday, Year 11 and 12 students (and Year 10 students studying VCE) will return to face-to-face learning. Specialist schools will also return from Monday.

For other students, school holidays will be extended for another week, with five pupil free days next week. Children of essential workers can return to school on Monday to participate in a supervised school holiday program.

The Government has advised they will make further announcements about schools in the coming days.

Changes to our operations
The Health Incident Command Team (HICT) continue to meet daily and have been monitoring the situation as we have done throughout this pandemic.

Even though current COVID-19 case numbers are low in our catchment, we think it’s prudent to review our operations at this time, and will introduce several changes, including:

  1. Surgical masks to add another layer of protection for patient-facing employees 
    ​We will introduce the use of surgical masks for all patient-facing employees, commencing Thursday 9 July 2020. This is a proactive step to ensure your continued protection and wellbeing. A range of resources are being developed to support this change and will be available to you on the Employee COVID-19 site shortly.
  2. Reduction of elective surgery to 75%
    To prepare for potentially increased demand for our services, we are planning to reduce our planned activity/elective surgery capacity to 75%, with support from contracted care agencies. We will communicate details of these plans once they have been finalised.
  3. A review of visitor restrictions
    We will undertake a review of our existing visitation restrictions this week. We understand that any tightening of visitation will cause disappointment, but the health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees remains our top priority.
  4. Increased access to priority testing
    To make it easier for you to get tested, we have increased the priority screening times for employees at our screening clinics. Employees now have all-day (9am-4pm) priority access at our Dandenong, Clayton and Berwick walk-in screening clinics. You also have priority access at the Casey Fields and Pakenham drive-through clinics.

Please remember:

  • If you can work from home, you should work from home.
  • You must not attend work if you are unwell.
  • If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, it is important that you are tested and self-isolate.
  • If you are contacted by DHHS because you are a close contact of a known COVID-19 case, as a health care worker, you must call (03) 9594 5815.

The most important thing that we can all do to stay safe is to remain vigilant and disciplined with our safety measures. These are:

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Using the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Risk-assessing the situation before any patient contact. If you can’t assess the situation, it’s better to be prepared with PPE: “if in doubt, don’t go without”.
  • Completing your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refresher training (on LATTE and face-to-face).

Thank you again for the care and support you have shown our community and each other.

Martin Keogh
Acting Chief Executive

Key Messages 

Finding more space to be safe

Capital Planning is well advanced in its planning to find additional space throughout our sites to support employees in observing social distancing. They are working through options to free up extra work and meal spaces that will allow employees to continue working safely.

Many employees raised this as an issue during our recent survey, and we expect to be able to announce further details shortly.​

Employee screening

Monash Health employees now have all-day (9am-4pm) priority access at our Dandenong, Clayton and Berwick walk-in screening clinics.   You also have priority access at the Casey Fields and Pakenham drive-through clinics.

Our Dandenong drive-through clinic doesn’t have the road design to allow a separate queue for employees, but wait times are normally minimal at this site.

Please bring your Mona​sh Health ID with you to the clinic.

Screening clinic locations and operating hours

COVID-19 employee survey – thank you for your feedback

Over 4,000 of you provided valuable feedback as part of the COVID-19 employee survey conducted over recent weeks. This is a terrific response, given the demands on peoples’ time.

You can read about the results of the survey here.

Previous WebEx Event recordings now available on the COVID-19 website

Want to catch up on the latest Employee Forum or Manager Briefing? Recordings of WebEx Events from June are now available on the COVID-19 website for Monash Health employees. To watch, visit the Past Events page under the Resources section.

Social media policy reminder

Given the intense community and media interest in everything we do right now, it’s easy to forget how easy it is to share something interesting with our social media networks, which may not be appropriate as an employee.

Please keep in mind the Monash Health social media policy, particularly the importance of respecting patient privacy. If you are unsure, check the policy or speak to your manager about it first.

Respecting privacy

Monash Health employee records, including health records, must only be accessed when required as part of your job. We have systems in place to monitor and control access to employee information, so please only access records in line with your duties. Read our Employee Privacy Procedure for more details.

Could you help in the fight against COVID-19?

Monash Health has joined Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in a multi‐centre trial of COVID‐19 prophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine in front line health and allied health care workers.

If you are a health care professional (doctor, nurse, allied health worker) or a paramedic involved in the care of COVID‐19 patients, you should register your interest to participate in this clinical trial, which is now recruiting. Click here to register or for more information.

Look after yourself

Consider taking 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 to stretching at your desk, wherever that desk might be.

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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