Thursday, 2 December 2021
Welcome to COVID-19 Command Bulletin
Audience: This email has been sent to the CALHN 'all staff distribution list'
Purpose: This bulletin provides necessary COVID-19 information for CALHN staff including information on:
- changes within the RAH Emergency Department
- PPE update
- visitor guidelines
- Christmas functions and events
- staying safe in lunchrooms
- staff wellbeing
- how to stay informed
Action: Please share the following information in this email with your colleagues who may not have access to emails.
Today the COVID-19 situation within South Australia has escalated with 18 positive cases of COVID-19 being recorded. 16 of those cases are linked to what is now being called the ‘Norwood’ cluster and two are interstate visitors.
There are currently around 210 close contacts in quarantine and we would expect to see this number rise over the next few days as further contact tracing is undertaken. So far, the cases are believed to be the Delta variant.
Currently, we have one COVID-19 positive inpatient at the RAH not from the cluster but transferred from a medi hotel.
We always knew – and the modelling confirmed – that COVID-19 would return to our community once South Australia opened its borders. This is something we have been planning and preparing for, and as a network we are confident that we are ready and prepared.
For those who may have missed it, last week we filmed a video about our COVID readiness and our preparedness. The video features interviews with some of our key COVID areas and is a great snapshot of what we've managed to achieve as a network over the past 18 months leading up to this week. Watch the video here.
The Incident Management Team continues to monitor this ongoing situation and based on our current assessment; we remain at CoSTAT 1.
While CoSTAT1 technically involves us as a network being on standby, it certainly doesn’t mean that we are standing still with our alertness or our activities. There is much work being conducted ‘behind the scenes’ to ensure we are in the best possible position should we see an increase in positive cases and to ensure that our frontline staff remain vigilant when treating patients.
While this increase in cases may cause some anxiety, we want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to continue to keep you, our patients and the community safe.
Please remember to regularly check the SA Health exposure locations over the coming days. If you are advised by SA Health to quarantine or isolate due to exposure, please ensure that you complete a self-isolation form as soon as possible.
It’s very important that we all continue to maintain good hand hygiene practices, wear our masks, maintain 1.5m physical distance when possible and use the QR codes across our sites. Now is the time to be alert – not alarmed – and remain vigilant to keep ourselves and our colleagues and patients safe.
For immediate action
Changes within the RAH Emergency Department
As part of our internal response to increased cases within the community, the RAH Emergency Department is enacting its internal escalation process to ensure there is capacity and capability to provide care for patients with a high epidemiological risk, suspected COVID and COVID positive patients.
This includes designated COVID-19 zones CDU and West Assessments for this cohort of patients. Pandemic mode will be activated for all of Assessments West (inclusive of CDU).
When staff are in the Triage, Resus, CDU and Assessments West, they will be required to wear an N95 mask and eye protection at all times, in addition to PPE requirements for entrance to individual cubicles. Please ensure you are donning and doffing correctly and speak to your line manager should you require any further education.
In the remainder of the ED staff will now be required to wear a surgical mask and eye protection at all times.
These requirements are for all staff including non-clinical teams, contractors and support/admin staff.
All patient located within the “COVID-ED” will continue to be managed using infection control processes in an effort to minimise the risk of transmission. It is important to adhere to these PPE requirement to seek our patients safe - many of which are immunocompromised, elderly, have significant co-morbidity or may be unvaccinated.
TQEH ED is also enacting it’s internal plan, to ensure that patient and staff safety is maintained.
The IMT would like to reiterate that we have good levels of PPE stock available and continue to monitor its usage on a daily basis.
If you have been fit tested for a Detmold N95 mask, we encourage you to use this stock which we have in surplus.
PPE stock levels will be reported in theCALHN Connect every Monday and Wednesday.
We understand that there still may be confusion amongst staff about our visitor guidelines.
Our current visitor limits are two (2) visitors per day, per patient.
There is currently no requirement for visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
We expect this may change in the coming days and will confirm as soon as we receive advice from the department.
Reminder – Christmas functions and events
We wanted to also remind staff that the Infection Prevention and Control Unit have developed tips to help you plan for a COVID-safe celebration.
Download information on holding a COVID safe event here.
Staying safe in lunchrooms
Lunchrooms have been a source of outbreaks in interstate hospitals during COVID-19 so to ensure we are all reducing the risk please remember to:
- Wash your hands or use sanitiser before and after eating and drinking
- Keep you distance from others – 1.5m
- Eat your meal outside whenever possible
- Use your own cutlery and dishes
- Wash kitchenware in hot water with detergent or preferably a dishwasher
- Throw your rubbish into the bin
- Wipe down tables or bench tops with disposable detergent/disinfectant wipes before and after use
- Only remove your mask when you are eating or drinking
Workforce health and wellbeing continues to be a priority for CALHN as we navigate the pandemic. TheCALHN COVID website includes a number of resources to assist you and your team, and our Employee Assistance Program is also available to staff:
As this situation evolves, it is more important than ever to stay informed.
We will continue to keep you informed about our response in a timely manner through the:
- Monday and Wednesday - all staff CALHN Connect
- Tuesday – managers Manager Matters bulletin
- Friday - CEO message
- And COVID Command bulletins as needed
This information on the COVID staff website is updated daily and is the best place to find any of the latest updates. This site is available both inside and outside the SA Health networks.
Remember – information is changing rapidly so we do not recommend printing materials unless necessary as it is likely to be outdated as soon as it is printed!
If you have any questions, please speak with your line manager, and continue to support each other.