Today the COVID-19 situation within South Australia has escalated with community transmission being reported and I know that many of you may be concerned about this and for your colleagues from NALHN.
This morning, we re-established our network Incident Control Centre and the Incident Management Team met to discuss the situation and review our CoSTAT status (COVID status).
We are in a very dynamic situation and protecting the health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and visitors continues to be a priority. Our immediate focus as an organisation is to implement strategies to decompress the RAH (as the COVID-19 designated hospital) to ensure that we have resources available and ready should we see an increase in COVID-19 cases in coming days or weeks. We are also actively assessing our outpatients and elective surgery position and working to create space within our hospitals so that we can play our role in the system and all programs have been asked to have a solid plan.
While it is clear that we are no longer in CoSTAT1, we are still gathering the information we need to make a determination as to what CoSTAT we will move to and we will communicate this decision once it is made. The CALHN COVID-19 Plan Network Disaster Resilience Response Plan - Human Disease Annex provides more information about what each CoSTAT means.
It is important to minimise the amount of people onsite at our hospitals to help keep our patients and staff safe. If you are able to work from home, we encourage you to do so and if you are working onsite, it is vital to observe and model social distancing where possible and always maintain the highest standards of hand hygiene.
Close contact or casual contact
The IMT have received questions about what constitutes a close contact or a casual contact and what healthcare workers should do.
A close contact is defined as:
- greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed or probable case for greater than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a week, in the period extending from 48/72 hours before the onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case, or
- sharing of a closed space with a confirmed or probable case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48/72 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case. High risk settings may extend the period before symptom onset to 72 hours prior.
- greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed or probable case for greater than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a week, in the period extending from before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case, or sharing of a closed space with a confirmed or probable case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours.
As healthcare workers, if you have had close contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case you are not to work and are to self-isolate for 14 days since last contact with the case as directed by the CALHN infectious disease cell.
All other interactions are considered a casual contact.
The COVID-19 staff portal provides further information on this and what action you should take.
Testing of healthcare workers
Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested. If you have a fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, please visit the COVID-19 clinics for testing and let them know you are a staff member to help fast track your results.
If you are self isolating, please ensure you complete the COVID-19 self isolation form. If you are feeling unwell, please do not come into work. Even if you have the mildest of symptoms, please get tested immediately. The risk is far too high for us to be complacent.
As of today, we have 50.2 days of N95 masks, 61.6 days of surgical L3 masks, 93.7 days of eye protection and 16.5 days of surgical gowns available on site.
How to access the latest information
We have updated the COVID-19 staff portal and added a FAQ section to help you to find the information you need.
The FAQ section includes information on where latest case locations and outbreaks, definitions for healthcare workers around close and casual contacts, COVID-19 symptoms, self-reporting requirements, what PPE to use, visitor guidelines and leave.
On this page you will also find clinical resources, latest communications, COVID-19 response plans, contact tracing information, PPE resources and how-to videos, visitor screen tools, infection control tools and resources, workforce information and travel information.
If there are questions you would like to see added, please contact healthCALHNcommunications@sa.gov.au
The SA Health website provides information on the Parafield cluster to support contact tracing.
While this is not the turn of events we had hoped for, we always knew there was a possibility that COVID-19 could resurface locally.
This may be making some of you feel anxious, however New South Wales has shown us that there is nothing to be frightened of as long as we are systematic and focused in our response. As a network we have learnt a lot since COVID-19 arrived earlier in the year and I am confident in our ability to manage whatever may lay ahead.
If anyone is feeling overwhelmed and you feel like you need support, please reach out to your manager, or access our Employee Assistance Program.
We will continue to keep you informed about our response in a timely manner through daily COVID-19 Bulletins.
CALHN COVID-19 Commander