Alfred Health has stringent protocols in place to protect staff and patients from COVID-19. These are being reinforced across our health service as community transmission of the virus has increased and eight staff members across the health service have contracted the virus.
Five of these staff are not linked and believed to have acquired the virus in the community. Three were picked up through contact tracing and asked to self-isolate. Currently, no patients have contracted COVID-19 within in the hospital.
Chief Executive Professor Andrew Way has urged the community to unite with health workers and minimise the spread of COVID-19.
“Alfred Health, and our community, appreciate the work staff are doing to care for patients with COVID-19, and we take every measure to keep them safe,” Professor Way said.
“I have confidence in the rigour of our cleaning and waste removal process. We now have a 24/7 response to any cleaning issue that arises. Feedback from staff is essential in this effort and we encourage frontline staff to raise their concerns directly, which they do.
“As a community we must take collective responsibility for ourselves and others. We need everyone to follow the stringent protocols in place; they are there to keep us safe. We cannot afford to become complacent. And as this pandemic demonstrates - behaviour really matters."
Infection prevention measures in our wards include:
- Staff are supplied with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and receive extensive training on how to use it correctly
- All staff in all clinical area wear surgical masks, to reduce their risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19
- All staff caring for patients with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 wear full PPE. These patients remain in isolation until they are cleared of COVID-19
- On the Infectious Diseases ward, there is a log to record all staff visiting the ward and concierge arrangements at the entry ensure we ensure compliance. The general public and visitors do not have access to the ward
- Alfred Health has doubled its cleaning resources in infectious diseases wards. There is a 24/7 escalation point for immediate action and daily touchpoint cleaning audited by clinicians. The same team audit compliance for donning and doffing – daily
- Any staff member who has close contact with someone who tests positive to COVID-19 is immediately furloughed from work and tested, in line with Victorian Health guidelines
- We are supporting our staff through these challenging times. For staff with vulnerable family members at home, we offer the option of staying in a hotel.
New arrangements are in place for visitors to Alfred Health campuses:
- We have restricted visitors to one per patient per day, for a maximum of one hour. Visiting hours are from 3pm to 7pm
- All visitors are required to wear masks when entering one of our hospitals
- Every person must have their temperature checked, and is then asked questions about their health.
There is a COVID-19 screening clinic on site at The Alfred and we request all staff and members of the public be tested if they feel unwell.