Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 22 July

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • Five COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • Nine employees with COVID-19. They are in isolation at home and doing well.
  • 85 employees in precautionary quarantine, as a result of three separate potential exposures.

Today’s COVID-19 numbers are not what we’d hoped for, with 484 new cases in Victoria.

The Premier shared this afternoon that of the 3,810 people who tested positive to coronavirus in Victoria between 7 July and yesterday, 3,400 of them did not isolate when they first felt sick or after they got a test.

I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is to stay home and get tested if you have symptoms and to observe the isolation period between being tested and receiving results.

From 11.59pm tonight, people aged 12 years and over, living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face covering when leaving home, unless an exemption applies.

This means that from 11.59pm tonight, face coverings are mandatory for all Monash Health employees.

When arriving for your shift, it is expected you will be wearing your own face covering.

Clinical employees

If you are a clinical or patient-facing employee, wearing a surgical mask remains mandatory. You can read more about the use of surgical masks here.

Disposable face shields will also be progressively rolled out across the organisation, firstly to areas identified as high-risk and then gradually across all patient-facing clinical areas. Read more about disposable face shields here.

Non-clinical employees

If you don’t work in a clinical area and don’t interact with patients, you can use your own cloth masks or face coverings at work. Please read the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice on face coverings. For people in this group, we will initially provide up to three masks per day to give you time to obtain your own supplies.

If you have concerns about wearing a face covering or mask, please speak to your manager.

Wearing a mask or face covering throughout the day will be new to some of us and, just like developing any new habit, it will take some time to get used to. Please make sure you understand the basics of mask use, and if you see your colleagues wearing their masks around their neck, with their noses exposed, or touching the front of their masks, help them out with a gentle reminder.

Detailed Frequently Asked Questions about masks and face coverings are available here.

We have shown a consistent ability to adapt to change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the introduction of face coverings for all employees is no different. Thank you for the flexibility and positivity you have shown as we’ve made these adjustments and continued to provide excellent care to our community.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive


Key messages

Face coverings are mandatory for Melbourne from 11.59pm tonight

If you live within metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you must wear a face covering whenever you leave your home, unless an exemption applies. A face covering needs to cover both your nose and mouth. It could be a face mask or shield. Read more here.

Disposable face shields

The use of face shields will be progressively rolled out across the organisation, firstly to areas identified as high-risk and then gradually across all patient-facing clinical areas.

We will be providing our employees in these areas with face shields, and you will be required to wear them while on shift. Face shields offer an additional layer of protection by covering your eyes, nose and mouth, as well as helping to prevent you from touching your face. Read more here.

Tips for wearing a mask with your glasses

It is always important to ensure you are wearing your mask correctly. Glasses can fog up when you’re wearing a mask and can become a nuisance when performing day-to-day work tasks.

In order to help prevent the build-up of condensation on glasses, you can put a small amount of dishwashing liquid on a microfibre cloth and apply it to your glasses. Alternatively, you can try gently washing your glasses with soapy water before wearing a mask. After drying them with a soft tissue, you can wear them with your mask.

More information about the use of surgical masks, including how to wear a mask safely and when to wear a mask, can be found on the Monash Health Coronavirus site.

Information for furloughed employees and their managers

A number of our employees have had to take the necessary step of going into precautionary quarantine or self-isolation because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. They may also be quarantined because of their own positive test result.

From a work perspective, these employees have been ‘furloughed’ or are unable to attend the workplace because they are required to self-isolate or quarantine. We have created materials to help employees and managers who are affected by this situation. View these materials – including FAQs and more information – here.

New Birth Suites and Foetal Surveillance Unit at Monash Medical Centre

Works are underway to upgrade and expand Monash Medical Centre’s Birth Suites and add facilities for a highly-specialised Perinatal Centre to care for unborn babies. The project will add two brand new birth suites to Monash Medical Centre, boosting capacity and providing a more versatile facility for midwives and doctors to provide care. Read more here.

Helping children and adolescents during COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought some fresh challenges for children and adolescents. Not only do these challenges have an impact on their health and wellbeing, they also have the potential to affect their familial relationships and friendships. In last Thursday’s Employee Forum, Dr David Moseley, ELMHS Psychology Discipline Senior, with experience in child and adolescent mental health, encouraged parents not to shy away from sharing appropriate information about the current climate with their children. Learn more, including top tips, here.

Wellbeing webinars

First State Super is offering its superannuation clients and all Monash Health employees four weeks of free wellbeing webinars. The webinar series started on Monday 20 July, and will go through until Thursday 13 August.

The sessions will cover 19 topics, including:

  • building resilience
  • emotional intelligence
  • retirement planning
  • priority management
  • leading myself through change
  • managing money and debt.

Click here to view all sessions and register, and use your Monash Health email address to sign up for your chosen sessions.

Are you eligible for Monash University’s night-shift study?

Researchers from Monash University are conducting a study on shift work and weight gain. The SWIFt Study (Shifting Weight in Shift Workers) is funded under a $1.43 million grant by the National Health and Medical Research Council, a world‐first, and will compare three diet strategies to help with weight loss and improve overall health. Learn more, including eligibility, 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 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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