Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update 18 March

March 18th, 2020

 The Victorian Government has now declared a State of Emergency to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus.

Castlemaine Health’s Hospital Incident Management Team (HIMT) is managing and coordinating our response to the crisis. Our HIMT has made the difficult decision to cancel group services, non-essential meetings and is implementing site-wide bans on non-essential contractors and services.

As of this morning, we are further tightening visitor restrictions in aged care and introducing new visitor restrictions to our hospital facility. These new restrictions apply to all healthcare and aged care facilities across Australia and were announced by the Prime Minister just after 9am this morning.

Visitors to aged care

With immediate effect, do not visit if you:

  • have returned from overseas the last 14 days, or
  • have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
  • have fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection, or
  • haven’t been immunised after 1 May 2020.

If your visit is essential:

  • each resident may have a maximum of one visit per day for a maximum duration of one-hour
  • the visit should comprise no more than two people (who may be social supports, family, members, close friends, professional services or advocacy workers)
  • it will be conducted in your family member/loved one’s room, outdoors or in a specific area designated rather than in communal areas where risk of transmission is greater
  • no visitors under age of 16
  • avoid mixing with other residents and using kitchen/communal facilities.

Please advise all regular visitors to our aged care of the changed visitor restrictions. As each resident may have only one visit per day, we ask that immediate family members keep in touch with regular visitors to coordinate.

Volunteer program

All volunteering duties have been suspended. We will be considering how best to use our volunteers’ services in other ways, such as alternative roles or social support via other means such as phone, email, letter or video/online.

Hospital-based and community services

Castlemaine Health services, including elective surgery, are running normally in line with DHHS guidance for now. This is likely to change at short notice. Group programs through our Community Rehabilitation Centre have ceased with alternative methods for delivery being explored in consultation with participants and staff. Social outings arranged by our Adult Day Service are under review.

Further information

Expert and detailed advice about Coronavirus disease is being regularly published and updated on the DHHS website.

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