Acting Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 11 July

Message from the Acting Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • No COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • Five employees with COVID-19. They are in isolation at home and doing well.
  • 61 employees in precautionary quarantine, as a result of three separate potential exposures.

A reminder that in response to increasing COVID-19 case numbers, metropolitan Melbourne has returned to Stage 3 restrictions for six weeks.

There are now only four reasons to leave home: shopping for food and essential items, healthcare and caregiving, daily exercise, and work and study — if you can’t do it from home.

We are currently managing a COVID-19 exposure within the adult mental health ward at Monash Medical Centre.

Following our protocol, our Infection Prevention team are contacting all employees and patients who may have been in contact and, as per Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) exposure criteria, those deemed to be in close contact have been required to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days from time of exposure.

As a precautionary measure, while we finalise the contact tracing and receive all test results, we are closing the ward to new admissions and restricting access to the ward. The mental health team have in place a number of operational contingencies for ongoing service provision across Monash Health.

Please escalate any urgent questions to Anthony de Rose, acting General Manager – Mental Health (Anthony.deRose@monashhealth.org or 0427 890 223) who is our designated Outbreak Management Team lead for this exposure.

We will, of course, continue to keep you updated as information becomes available and update the organisation at the Employee Forum on Tuesday.

This serves as another reminder that COVID-19 has not gone away.

Surgical masks mandatory for employees in clinical areas

The use of surgical masks is now mandatory for all employees in clinical areas, ambulatory patients, and visitors to our sites.

This is a proactive step for additional protection and wellbeing.

COVID-19 can be transmitted via droplets, and surgical masks protect against droplet transmission.

Masks are one part of our infection prevention and control measures. Hand hygiene, physical distancing and risk-assessing the situation before any patient contact remain critical to preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

If you are in a patient-facing or consumer-facing role, you must complete your PPE training (online and face-to-face) and ensure that you know how to don and doff a surgical mask.

Home-made or personal masks should not be worn.

A range of resources is available on our COVID-19 site.

Standard Precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient.

Simply put, these are:

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Use the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when droplet precautions are indicated, if there is any risk of exposure to body fluids, or if you are unsure.
  • Always take a moment to risk-assess the situation before any patient contact.
  • If you cannot assess the situation, it’s better to be prepared with PPE: “if in doubt, don’t go without”. Please complete your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refresher training both online on LATTE and face-to-face, if you have not already done so; details can be found at coronavirus.monashhealth.org.

You should also take a moment to review our COVID-19 procedure which can be found on PROMPT.

It is essential that we all maintain vigilance and awareness of the risk of infection.

Anyone who feels unwell or is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms must not attend work and should be tested.

Should you have any concerns, please talk with your manager or call the Monash Health Employee Hotline on (03) 9594 5815, 7am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Changes to visitor restrictions

In response to the Victorian Government’s reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions, visitors are not permitted except if required as a caregiver, as indicated below.

We know this will cause disappointment from patients and our teams, but the health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees must remain our top priority.

Women’s : Births / Pregnancy Assessment Unit

  • One partner or support person
  • During labour and birth, the support person can be present at any time

Maternity Wards

  • After birth, while in the maternity ward, the partner/support person can visit between 1pm – 3pm and 5pm – 7pm.

Children’s and Monash Newborn

  • Parents, guardians and carers may visit at all times
  • Visits are not time-limited
  • No siblings
  • One carer only to stay overnight

Residential Aged Care

  • No visitors
  • Carers by appointment only
  • Carers must have had an up-to-date flu vaccination and sign a declaration to this effect

Palliative care

  • One visitor at a time, from 8am – 8pm.
  • Patients nearing end of life (death is imminent within hours) in any part of the health service, including residential care, are allowed two visitors at a time, at any time of day.
  • If under 16, only the children and grandchildren of the patient are allowed and must be under the direct supervision of an adult at all times.

Mental Health (including residential, aged and community)

  • Carers by appointment only and restricted to nominated carers

Child (Oasis), Adolescent (Stepping Stones) and Mother & Baby Inpatient Units

  • Parents, guardians and carers may visit at all times

If you are at all concerned for your wellbeing, please consult the employee health and wellbeing resources on our COVID-19 website.

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

Martin Keogh
Acting Chief Executive

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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