I know that I am stating the obvious but this week has certainly been eventful … and dynamic! I was so pleased that we received some positive news today that the stay-at-home order has been repealed as of midnight on Saturday, although we still need to be mindful that COVID-19 is still active within our state and we continue to respond to the current clusters.
Yesterday over 14,400 South Australian’s were tested for COVID-19. Well done to SA Pathology and our testing clinic staff for the massive amount of work that has been undertaken this week to meet this demand. There are still over 4000 people in quarantine and 37 active cases in South Australia. While like many of you I am happy about today’s announcement, now is not the time for us to be complacent and undo the progress we have made this week.
Our goal still remains to deliver safe and appropriate care to our patients, and provide support to the wider system to do the same. To be able to do so, we will be continuing with our ‘decompression’ and asking non-essential staff to continue to work at home until otherwise advised. We have asked managers to make daily contact with those of you working off site so that you keep connected with what is happening in our organisation.
I said on the livestream this afternoon that we will continue to keep all arrangements for outpatients and elective surgery in place for the beginning of next week and then carefully look at how we reset and then put in place what is required to lead us into the Christmas period – which is really not very far away. The Incident Management Team will meet again over the weekend and will communicate more on Monday about our next steps and the directions we receive. There will be executive on site on both Saturday and Sunday again to make sure that you are well supported and also to make sure that we can say thank you.
Food outlets across our sites
Today’s announcement included the welcome news that some of our food outlets will be able to reopen on Sunday. When we were advised last night that they needed to be closed, we did our best to reach our staff, however we know that we didn’t get to everyone and we are sorry for that. Overnight, we were able to obtain a range of snacks and other foods that have today distributed across our hospitals. This was unexpected and I have learned that some of the restrictions extended to availability of supplies but hopefully we will get back to our COVID-19 normal access to meals across our sites.
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to our Spotless colleagues who worked through yesterday and dealt with the changes professionally, and with grace. We do greatly appreciate all that you do for us and we are looking forward to having you all back on site very soon!
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this rapidly changing situation. I would like to extend my gratitude to Elke Kropf, Director, Operational Services and her team who last night jumped into action and were able to organise and deliver a range of food options for our staff across our sites this morning.
COVID-19 live stream
Today over 800 staff joined us for our second COVID-19 live stream where we covered masks, visitors, food on sites and reminded people to continue to be kind to each other.
We will hold another session on Tuesday between 2 - 2:30pm.
We will still be limiting visitors onsite to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff.
Visitors will only be allowed on compassionate grounds and all visitors and staff will be screened on arrival and are required to wear a mask if they cannot keep a physical distance of 1.5m. Masks are available at screening desks at public entrances.
New entry screening at the RAH
From Monday we will be slowly transitioning to a new self-check in kiosks for visitors - and later in the week - staff. Once in place all staff and visitors will be required to check in and out of the building using these kiosks. These kiosks will support our public health screening and traffic flow into the site. I encourage you to visit the app store and download the Sine app and complete it ready for next week to assist with the check in process.
PPE and masks
The government are still strongly recommending that all people wear masks when outside the home. Within our network, we are asking all staff and visitors at all CALHN sites to wear masks if they cannot keep a physical distance of 1.5m. CALHN staff are to wear a workplace supplied surgical mask (level 1 mask) while on site (including in blue spaces) if the 1.5m cannot be maintained and staff within clinical environments are to wear PPE in accordance with their clinical exposure as defined in the SA Health PPE Matrix.
If you have any questions about masks, please download our wearing a mask fact sheet .
We would like to reassure you everyone that we have enough PPE. Please note that all PPE is for use while onsite and it is not appropriate to be taking any PPE home for personal use. We are not those people.
As of today, we have 45.1 days of N95 masks, 82 days of surgical L3 masks, 88.8 days of eye protection and 13.7 days of surgical gowns available on site.
We also have 1,953,785 N95 masks, 11,895,460 surgical L3 masks, 178,803 eye protection and 814,340 surgical gowns available in the distribution centre.
We also have a further 7-day supply of PPE in a secure location that can be accessed on request of the IMT should we see a sudden increase in demand.
White Ribbon Day
While the focus has very much been on COVID-19 this week, I wanted to acknowledge that today is White Ribbon Day. With everyone that has occurred this week it may be easy to forget for some of us, but for many of the women across our state, this week’s lockdown would have put them in a very serious and dangerous situation. The White Ribbon Day event we had planned today was – as to be expected – cancelled however I still wanted to share with you the video we planned to show at the event.
I wanted to end today's message by sharing a video of Karen Schutz, Acting NUM, Clinical Worker Health, CALHN who has kindly shared with us how she looks after her health and wellbeing to keep her resilience up. Working in healthcare can be challenging, however during a pandemic we need to take a moment to look after our wellbeing and that of others around us.
With that I ask you to continue to be kind to yourself and each other and of course to our community.
I hope those who are not working over the weekend take the time to relax and get some well-earned rest. To those who are working this weekend, thank you and I look forward to meeting many of you over the weekend. We have lots to do over the next few weeks as we lead into the Christmas period.
And I will finish as I always do with say each week, ‘If not us…then who?’. But also #BeLikeUs!
Chief Executive Officer
Central Adelaide Local Health Network