Health Alert – COVID-19

August 15

Posted at 4.35pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 303 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 16,517 including 997 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 169
  • Colac Otway – 55
  • Ballarat – 26
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham – 3
  • Glenelg – 7
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Central Goldfields – 1
  • Warrnambool – 1

August 14

Posted at 4.35pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 372 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 16,234 including 984 from regional Victoria.  Eighty-three cases have been linked to the Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 48 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).   View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 167
  • Colac Otway – 59
  • Ballarat – 25
  • Surf Coast – 5
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham – 3
  • Glenelg – 7
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Central Goldfields – 1

>PPE directives

The Department of Health has published a fact sheet on COVID-19 Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment by health care workers in areas with significant community transmission Download the fact sheet

>Webinars/training

  • Next week’s Department of Health COVID-19 response update for General Practitioners will be on 20 August Register here
  • The next COVID-19 response update for primary care and allied health practitioners will be on 19 August Register here

August 13

Posted at 5.45pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 278 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 15,863 including 957 from regional Victoria.  Eighty-two cases have been linked to the Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 45 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).   View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 172
  • Colac Otway – 61
  • Ballarat – 24
  • Surf Coast – 5
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham – 3
  • Glenelg – 5
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Central Goldfields – 1
  • Warrnambool – 1

>Testing clinics

Regional testing push

The State Government today announced that from tomorrow a major regional testing effort will commence. See the Respiratory and Assessment Clinics page  for contact details of all GP-led Respiratory Clinic and health service assessment centres in our region.  Please note, only symptomatic testing is available and bookings are still required at the majority of these testing centres.

For more details on today’s announcement, read the Premier’s media release

Pop-up testing in Ballarat

Statement from Ballarat Health Services:

“Ballarat Health Services has  a Rapid Response Testing Team (RRTT) who can quickly set up mobile COVID-19 testing clinics. In the past this has included onsite at local businesses and for school staff prior to onsite learning going back last term. Our RRTT can be allocated to industries or locations that the Department of Health and Human Services determines are most at risk of exposure or spread of an outbreak.

As announced by the Premier today, Ballarat is experiencing a worrying rise in cases of COVID-19. To increase our city’s testing capacity, our RRTT will be deployed at the Sebastopol Dental Clinic over the coming days.

The site will also house the Ballarat Health Services staff testing clinic.

Testing is by appointment only, for:

  • Ballarat Health Services staff and their household members with symptoms
  • Members of the public with symptoms
  • People who have been advised by contact tracers to get tested (with or without symptoms)

Details on how to book an appointment will be available on our website tomorrow.”

August 12

Posted at 4.55pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 410 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 15,646 including 957 from regional Victoria. DHHS is also investigating an outbreak at Corio Village Shopping Centre (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 179
  • Colac Otway – 74
  • Ballarat – 22
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham – 4
  • Glenelg – 11
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Central Goldfields – 1

>PPE directives

DHHS has updated the Guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers web page including details on sourcing supplies. View the page

See also WVPHN COVID-19 Response section

August 11

Posted at 4.35pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 331 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 15,251 including 932 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 180
  • Colac Otway – 85
  • Ballarat – 20
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham – 4
  • Glenelg – 12
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Central Goldfields – 1

>Telehealth

The Federal Government has developed the COVID-19 Telehealth Items Guide to support health professionals in understanding the requirements associated with telehealth items and their appropriate use.  Download the guide

>Webinars/training

The next Project ECHO COVID-19 session will be held this Thursday at 7.30am. The session will be Part 3 of Stepping up our Residential Aged Care Pandemic Response Planning. Register your attendance via the Project ECHO COVID-19 page.

August 10

Posted at 4.50pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 322 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 14,957 including 909 from regional Victoria.  Forty-four cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).   View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 168
  • Colac Otway – 87
  • Ballarat – 17
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 11
  • Horsham -3
  • Glenelg – 16
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1

>Clinical support

A reminder that the COVID-19 section of HealthPathways is regularly updated to reflect current advice and guidance on provision of care, practice support and testing and referral information. To gain access to HealthPathways please email: healthpathways@westvicphn.com.au.

August 9

Posted at 3.25pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 394 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 14,659 including 889 from regional Victoria. Eighty-three cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 40 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).   View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 164
  • Colac Otway – 89
  • Ballarat – 18
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 13
  • Horsham – 5
  • Glenelg – 15
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1

>Mental health support

The State Government has announced an extra $59.7 million dollars for mental health support services. This includes funds for establishing a HOPE post-suicide prevention program at Warrnambool and for providing additional clinical capacity for the existing service at Ballarat. Read the Premier’s media release

August 8

Posted at 3.20pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 466 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 14,283 including 862 from regional Victoria. Eighty-three cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 38 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong). DHHS is also looking into two cases linked to Ballarat Health Service and one case linked to Sinclair Meats in Ballarat.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 154
  • Colac Otway – 92
  • Ballarat – 18
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 13
  • Horsham – 5
  • Glenelg – 15
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1

August 7

Posted at 5.40pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 450 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 13,867 including 839 from regional Victoria. Eighty-three cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 36 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 150
  • Colac Otway – 92
  • Ballarat – 15
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 13
  • Horsham – 5
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Queenscliffe – 1
  • Hepburn – 1
  • Moyne – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1

>Mental health support

The Federal Government has announced a further $12 million to ensure people in Victoria can access 24/7 mental health support through digital and telephone counselling services during the pandemic. The funding will ensure that existing helplines can meet increased demand, and can connect clients to ongoing and more intensive support when needed.

For more details, read the Minister’s media release.

>Webinars/training

The Department of Health is hosting several webinars next week to assist primary health care professionals across various topics and disciplines. For more information or to register, click the relevant link:

August 6

Posted at 5.30pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 471 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 13,469 including 804 from regional Victoria. Eighty-three cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 31 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 131
  • Colac Otway – 92
  • Ballarat – 16
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 12
  • Horsham – 5
  • Glenelg – 14
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Queenscliffe – 1
  • Hepburn – 1
  • Moyne – 1

>Health professionals support

Western Victoria PHN has set up online communities of practice (CoPs) for each of our regions to enable GPs to network with each other and to share information about region-specific issues, responses, strategies and supports with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CoPs are not designed to provide clinical advice regarding COVID-19 assessment or management but will be a valuable means for our general practitioners to collaborate and share their knowledge and experiences.

To join the COVID-19 CoP in your region, please email qi@westvicphn.com.au and provide your name, practice and location.

August 5

Posted at 4.20pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 725 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 13,035 including 771 from regional Victoria. Eighty cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 28 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 132
  • Colac Otway – 91
  • Ballarat – 13
  • Surf Coast – 6
  • Golden Plains – 12
  • Horsham – 6
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 2
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Queenscliffe – 1
  • Hepburn – 1
  • Moyne – 1

>Elective surgery

The State Government today announced that it will pause all Category 3 and non-urgent Category 2 elective surgery in regional Victoria:

“Where possible, Category 3 and non-urgent Category 2 surgery which is already booked should still take place, however that will be at the hospital’s discretion. No new non-urgent surgeries will be booked.”

For more information, read the Minister’s media release.

>Stage 3 restrictions for regional Victoria

A reminder that all of regional Victoria will return to Stage 3 restriction levels from 11.59pm tonight (Wednesday). For more details, go to the DHHS website.

See also WVPHN COVID-19 Response section

August 4

Posted at 5.15pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 439 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 12,335 including 728 from regional Victoria. Seventy-eight cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 25 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 120
  • Colac Otway – 87
  • Ballarat – 12
  • Surf Coast – 5
  • Golden Plains – 10
  • Horsham – 6
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 2
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 2
  • Queenscliffe – 1
  • Hepburn – 2
  • Moyne – 1

>Webinars/training

The next Project ECHO COVID-19 session will be held this Thursday at 7.30am. The session will be Part 2 of Stepping up our Residential Aged Care Pandemic Response Planning.

Register your attendance via the Project ECHO COVID-19 page.

August 3

Posted at 6.10pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 429 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 11,937 including 703 from regional Victoria. Seventy-seven cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 20 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 106
  • Colac Otway – 89
  • Ballarat – 11
  • Surf Coast – 4
  • Golden Plains – 10
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 2
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Queenscliffe – 1
  • Hepburn – 2
  • Moyne – 1

>Mental health support

The Federal Government has announced it will provide ten additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the Minister’s media release

>PPE directives

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has published new guidance on PPE for health care workers, advising that staff directly involved in treating patients must wear eye protection. PHNs are distributing surgical and P2 masks on behalf of the Federal Department of Health (DoH) to general practices (including practices in Aboriginal community controlled health organisations), community pharmacies and some allied health practitioners in our region. We are also able to provide a one-off supply of 50 single-use gowns to general practices. We are currently seeking clarity from DHHS and DoH regarding eye protection supplies and whether PHNs will have a role in this. We will provide updates as they become available.

To order masks or gowns, complete and submit the appropriate form:

August 2

Posted at 5.05pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 671 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 11,557 including 661 from regional Victoria. Seventy-two cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 98
  • Colac Otway – 88
  • Ballarat – 11
  • Surf Coast – 4
  • Golden Plains – 10
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 11
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 2
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1
  • Pyrenees – 1
  • Queenscliffe – 1

>New and updated restrictions for regional Victoria

  • From 6pm today (Sunday), Victoria will enter a State of Disaster. This will give police additional powers to make sure people are complying with public health directions.
  • From midnight tonight (Sunday), a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home anywhere in Victoria.
  • From midnight on Wednesday, regional Victoria will return to Stage 3 restrictions.

For more information, read the Premier’s Statement

August 1

Posted at 4.45pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 397 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 10,931 including 620 from regional Victoria. Sixty-eight cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 14 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 88
  • Colac Otway – 76
  • Ballarat – 11
  • Surf Coast – 4
  • Golden Plains – 10
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 12
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1

July 31

Posted at 4.05pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 627 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 10,577 including 595 from regional Victoria. Sixty-eight cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 13 cases have been linked to Golden Farms Poultry in Breakwater (Geelong).  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 73
  • Colac Otway – 78
  • Ballarat – 10
  • Surf Coast – 4
  • Golden Plains – 8
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1

>Updated restrictions

DHHS has added details of the updated restrictions including the use of face coverings throughout Victoria and the new restrictions for the Geelong and surrounds area to their website.

>Workforce support

WVPHN is seeking expressions of interest from registered, non-practising or retired general practitioner, nurse or allied health professional with experience in clinical settings looking to  potentially help out at GP clinics in western Victoria. Read more

>Mental health resources

Beyond Blue has published translated information on their Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service in over 63 languages. This information is available on their website.

July 30

Posted at 4.50pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 723 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 9998 including 565 from regional Victoria. Sixty-four cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 59
  • Colac Otway – 76
  • Ballarat – 10
  • Surf Coast – 4
  • Golden Plains – 8
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 13
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians – 2
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1
  • Corangamite – 1

>Testing clinics

The Respiratory and Assessment Clinics page  has been fully updated to provide the latest contact details of all GP-led Respiratory Clinic and health service assessment centres in our region.

Posted at 12.15pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 723 COVID-19 cases since yesterday. In light of this, important new restrictions and directives have been announced by the State Government today to help control the spread of COVID-19:

  • from 11:59pm tonight in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, you will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.
  • from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home anywhere in Victoria.

For more details on the new requirements, read the Premier’s statement

Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton has also produced a video explaining how to safely wear a face covering. View this video on the DHHS website.

Please continue to check this health alert or follow us on Facebook or Twitter where we will provide further details as they become available.

July 29

Posted at 4pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 295 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 9304 including 500 from regional Victoria. Fifty-one cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 44
  • Colac Otway -54
  • Ballarat – 10
  • Surf Coast – 3
  • Golden Plains – 8
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 6
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians -1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1
  • Ararat – 1

>Webinars/training

This week’s Department of Health COVID-19 response webinar for General Practitioners will feature important updates and further discussion on use of PPE during the COVID-19 outbreak. Book here

>New WorkSafe requirements

The State Government has announced that from today (July 29) employers are required to notify WorkSafe immediately if they become aware that a worker has received a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis:

“This also applies to people who are self-employed and also to contractors who may have attended the workplace during their infectious period. The new Regulations, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, will assist WorkSafe to reduce the risks to health and safety in the workplace arising from coronavirus and will be in force for 12 months.”

July 28

Posted at 6pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 384 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 9049 including 485 from regional Victoria. Fifty cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and DHHS advises it has been notified of a single staff member case at Opal South Valley Aged Care in Geelong.  View DHHS epidemiological data

Confirmed active cases in the WVPHN catchment region as identified by DHHS are as follows:

  • Greater Geelong – 35
  • Colac Otway -54
  • Ballarat – 10
  • Surf Coast – 3
  • Golden Plains – 6
  • Horsham – 7
  • Glenelg – 6
  • Warrnambool – 1
  • Northern Grampians -1
  • Southern Grampians – 1
  • West Wimmera – 1

>Elective surgeries

Recent announcements regarding suspension of most elective surgeries are not applicable in western Victoria. The Government has stated the following:

“There will be no changes to elective surgery in regional Victoria, but regional cases will continue to be monitored to ensure those hospitals have the resources and capacity they need to manage any increase in presentations.”

Read the Premier’s media release

July 27

Posted at 4.55pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 532 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 8696.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Masks for vulnerable patients

DHHS will be distributing 2.1 million reusable face masks to vulnerable Victorians; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians; and workforces who come into direct client contact and deliver Victorian Government funded health and human services to a range of vulnerable Victorians.  More details including information on ordering masks, go to the DHHS website

July 24

Posted at 5.25pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 300 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 7405 including 424 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Community mask distribution

DHHS has released advice regarding the distribution of reusable masks to the community. This includes guidance for GPs who may wish to hand out masks to vulnerable patients. More information is available from the DHHS website

>Telehealth

A reminder: From Monday 20 July 2020, GPs and other medical practitioners working in general practice may only perform a COVID-19 telehealth service where they have an existing relationship with the patient, or record for compliance purposes how their patients qualify for any exemptions to this requirement. More details from MBS Online

July 23

Posted at 4.45pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 403 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 7125 including 398 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Clinical support

The COVID-19 section of HealthPathways is regularly updated to reflect current advice and guidance on provision of care, practice support and testing and referral information. To gain access to HealthPathways please email: healthpathways@westvicphn.com.au.

July 22

Posted at 4.45pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 484 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 6739 including 384 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Practice Facilitator support

A reminder that our Practice Facilitators remain available to help practices across western Victoria in their responses to and management of COVID-19 related issues. Practice Facilitators will  continue to reach out to practices over coming days to identify opportunities to help and support health providers during this challenging period. However, if you have a pressing matter, please contact our practice facilitation team via email: qi@westvicphn.com.au 

>Aged care support

The Australian and Victorian Governments have collaborated with representatives from the aged care sector on additional measures to ensure aged care providers are equipped to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and can continue providing quality care. Read more

For other details on COVID-19 specific aged care support resources, go to our COVID-19 Patient Populations Support page

July 21

Posted at 4.40pm

Victoria has recorded an additional 374 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 6289 including 382 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Webinars/training

The next Project ECHO COVID-19 session will be held this Thursday at 7.30am. The session will continue the focus on stepping up testing and tracing in light of the growth in active cases in our region. The panel will include Infectious Diseases Physicians from Ballarat and Geelong.

Register your attendance via the Project ECHO COVID-19 page.

>Information for patients

The Department of Health and Human Services has translated a video providing important information on using face masks in 14 languages. Please share via your networks to ensure the community is kept informed.  View on YouTube

July 20

Victoria has recorded an additional 275 COVID-19 cases since yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 5942 including 348 from regional Victoria.  View DHHS epidemiological data

>Testing clinics

A new Community Health Respiratory Clinic has opened in Ballarat today at 16 Little Bridge Street. To book appointments phone: 1800 054172. This centre is in addition to the UFS Respiratory Clinic in Lucas.

For information on other testing clinics in western Victoria including downloadable flyers, go to the Respiratory and Assessment Clinics page

>Webinars/training

This week’s Department of Health COVID-19 response webinar for General Practitioners will feature important updates and further discussion on use of PPE and wearing masks during the COVID-19 outbreak. Book here

>PPE Masks

Masks are available through Western Victoria PHN  to general practices (including practices in Aboriginal community controlled health organisations), pharmacies and some allied health providers operating within the WVPHN catchment region.

July 13: Continuous care with telehealth stage seven

In a major boost for primary health care, the Australian Government is further strengthening telehealth arrangements as recommended by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and other medical experts. READ MORE

June 22: Current advice to clinicians from the Department of Health

Practitioners are encouraged to test any patients who meet the clinical criteria below:
Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation*
OR
Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, anosmia or loss of smell or loss of taste)
Note: In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19** AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19; who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days; or who are healthcare or aged care workers.
*Clinical discretion applies including consideration of the potential for co-infection (e.g. concurrent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza)
**headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.

If referring your patients for COVID-19 testing, a list of testing locations can be found on the getting tested for coronavirus page.
Any coronavirus test reported by a laboratory as having detected SARS-CoV-2 on PCR will be treated as positive for the purposes of public health actions, regardless of repeat testing of the sample. It is not appropriate to advise a patient that a test is a false positive without prior consultation with the department. Current processing time for COVID-19 tests is one to three days.
Practitioners are encouraged to also consider testing for other infectious diseases as warranted by the patient’s clinical presentation and history, including travel history. Test for influenza in patients presenting with compatible respiratory symptoms and request a stool culture in patients presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms.

June 19: Fact sheet for GPs

RACGP Fact sheet: How to respond to a case of COVID-19 in general practice
The RACGP has developed a fact sheet to support general practices in the event of a COVID-19 case. Download resources here

June 17: Free and secure video consultations: Get registered for healthdirect Video Call

The Department of Health has funded the use of healthdirect Video Call for all GPs until 30 September 2020. This program supports usage of the MBS telehealth items for COVID-19.
Practice managers can register for a free licence on behalf of their general practice here.
This program is designed to keep patients and GPs safe while practices transition into a sustainable, blended model of delivering care.
Healthdirect Australia is working with the Department of Health to determine how the program will be funded beyond September 2020.

About healthdirect Video Call
healthdirect Video Call is a secure, private and sustainable technology providing convenient and safe access to care.
It is purpose-built for health settings, mimicking the set-up of a GP clinic, providing a virtual waiting room for patients before the GP joins the video consultation.
It protects privacy on both ends of the consultation, leaving no digital footprint.
The service uses software developed by Coviu, a spin-off from the CSIRO’s Data61 digital innovation project.
A pilot program funded by the Department of Health to encourage primary care providers to adopt the use of Video Call service has existed for several years.
Video Call operates within the healthcare systems of Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Victoria.
Visit Healthdirect Australia for more information about Video Call and other telehealth services delivered on behalf of the governments of Australia.