Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 19 January

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • No COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • Two employees in precautionary quarantine from NSW exposures.

In this update we cover:

  • COVID-19 vaccination
  • Changes to mask use in non-patient-facing areas
  • Employee declaration reminder
  • Give Me Five – Let’s make time to talk
  • Monash Health sacred spaces and prayer rooms reopen
  • Healthy habits at home
  • Artistic ‘thank you’ for frontline physiotherapists
  • Participants wanted: Respiratory Protection Program research

COVID-19 vaccination update
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is expected to approve the first COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, by the end of January and the second, developed by AstraZeneca, in February. Shown to be 95 per cent effective, well-tolerated and with no serious safety concerns, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be a significant and welcome step forward in our fight against COVID-19.

A phased rollout will ensure that those at highest risk of infection receive priority for vaccination, with the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines commencing with frontline healthcare and aged care employees and residents in the initial Phase (1a).  Our priority list was developed through our expert clinical reference group when they considered the sequencing of our fit testing program.

At today’s Employee Forum, we discussed the vaccination program we are developing for healthcare workers. Professor Rhonda Stuart gave an excellent presentation, including the background and principles that guide our approach and our next steps.

It is important for all of us to make sure we are as informed as possible about vaccination. It’s critical that we carefully source our information from the experts and that we consider it in the context of what’s happening across Australia and the world.

You can catch up on today’s Employee Forum, watch the recording and read through Professor Stuart’s presentation. Further information, FAQs and resources are now available on the vaccination page of our COVID-19 website.  This information will be updated regularly based on your questions and as further details about the rollout come to hand.

The vaccine rollout is a large scale program, and advice will continue to evolve, so it is not possible to address all questions from the outset, but we will work hard to ensure you are kept informed as the vaccine rollout develops. If you are a trained immuniser, please email, and you will be contacted when expressions of interest open.

Changes to mask use in non-patient-facing areas
Masks are now no longer required in areas where there is no patient or general public contact if physical distancing can be maintained.

Masks are not required in non-patient-facing or non-public areas, such as offices or meeting rooms where you can physically distance.

The current rules regarding masks still apply for patient-facing and public health service areas, including clinical areas, waiting rooms, cafes, and shared corridors. In other words, if you are in a place where the general public or our patients are, then you must be wearing a mask.

Visitors are still required to wear a face mask while at any Monash Health site.

A poster reminding visitors that masks are still required is available here.

Thank you, as always, for the care you provide to our community and each other.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

Key Messages

COVID-19 vaccination resources for Monash Health employees
We have completed preparatory work for the Monash Health COVID-19 vaccination program in readiness for rollout. As we have experienced with COVID-19 in the past, there will always be questions and ongoing work to address emerging issues and advice. Stay on top of the latest developments, FAQs and resources with the Monash Health COVID-19 vaccination page.

Outstanding Employee Workplace Declarations – time for action
The swift management of the COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria over the holiday period reminded us of the value of accurate, up to date information about people’s movements at any given time.

Approximately seven per cent of our employees have not completed the compulsory Employee Workplace Declaration form to declare all of their workplaces, even if Monash Health is their only place of work.

To comply with the Public Health Commander’s directive and continue to protect yourself, your colleagues, patients and our community, we need to achieve a 100 per cent completion rate, so please complete the declaration. Find out more and take action today.

Give Me Five – Let’s make time to talk
As we start a new year, it’s important to have a conversation with your manager to reflect on your work last year, and goals and plans for the year ahead, by completing your ‘Give Me Five’ or Annual Performance discussion. These conversations provide an opportunity to clarify expectations, ensure a shared understanding of your goals and aspirations and highlight your progress from previous conversations. Read more about these essential conversations.

Monash Health sacred spaces and prayer rooms reopen
As of Wednesday 20 January, all sacred spaces and prayer rooms across several Monash Health sites will reopen for use. It is important to check into these spaces using the displayed QR code, as you do with other shared spaces across our sites, and to continue to practise hand hygiene and 1.5m distancing. Find out more here.

Healthy habits at home
For a variety of reasons, we may be finding ourselves spending more time at home. It is important to integrate healthy habits into our daily routines to ensure a balanced lifestyle, but it can be hard to get yourself to the gym or go on a run. Sometimes, we need to get a little creative and find simple, fun and engaging ways to get active in our day-to-day lives. Find out how to be a ‘homebody’ and maintain healthy habits here.

Artistic ‘thank you’ for frontline physiotherapists
The Australian Physiotherapy Association has paid tribute and given thanks to our Monash Health frontline physiotherapists for their work during the pandemic, with a uniquely artistic gift. They put together a mosaic of photos from the community delivered to our sites on Christmas Eve. View this special artwork and find out more here.

Participants wanted: Respiratory Protection Program research
The Department of Health and Human Services has engaged Monash Health to undertake a research program investigating the effectiveness of a range of new respiratory protective equipment. We are seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from employees wishing to participate in the research.

The testing is taking place at Casey Hospital. Participation will also meet the annual fit testing requirements for Monash Health employees, which comes into effect in 2021.

Want to get involved? 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 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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