COVID-19 update – 23 March 2022

 

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COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 35,090 casesof COVID in the region. Please note that the actual number of cases is likely to be much more. For further information please go to the

latest NSW COVID statistics. COVID and in particular the omicron subvariant (BA.2) is spreading rapidly in our community with the number of COVID cases rising significantly.  

Primary care providers are reminded on the importance of infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients). Practices are also asked to ensure that their most vulnerable populations are fully vaccinated. If you would like an infectious control consultation or any other support please email coronavirus@cesphn.com.au.

Staying healthy: promote health checks 

There are many patients who, because of COVID, are delaying getting their health checks and as a result more people are receiving late diagnoses of cancer making treatment more difficult. This is a call out to all general practitioners to reach out to all their patients with overdue health checks and encourage them to come in for a check up

We have a new cancer service GPCanShare that aims to enhance cancer management in primary care. GPs in the CESPHN region can access the GP Cancer Support Line for general clinical advice on cancer related care such as management of symptoms, psychosocial care, survivorship care and palliative care. 

The support line can also assist with rapid access for urgent presentations and information on local cancer services. The GP Cancer Support Line is in operation from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, including public holidays on 1800 GP LINE (1800 475 463).

Management of COVID vaccines 

Excess vaccines 

If your practice has an excess of COVID-19 vaccines, please notify CESPHN (coronvirus@cesphn.com.auas we may be able to help coordinate a transfer of the stock ideally two week prior to thaw use by date

You should also notify the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) atcovid19vaccineoperationscentre@health.gov.au of your excess doses so that they may be able to facilitate transfers outside the CESPHN region. Please note in the email to VOC that you have already contacted CESPHN.

Mask wearing in practices 

Healthcare practices are considered to be at high risk of transmission of COVID-19.  When a person with COVID-19 attends a practice during their infectious period as a staff member, patient or carer, a risk assessment should be undertaken. Exposures can occur during individual clinical consultations, in group scenarios and whilst in non-clinical settings such as a waiting room. See theHealthcare Worker COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment Matrixto assess the level of risk for exposed staff members (clinical and non-clinical) and client/patients and carers exposed in a clinical setting.

When considering all these factors general practices and their staff should continue to wear masks within the workplace. We recommend you ensure your patients and anyone visiting your practice wear a mask whilst in the practice.

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN has developed this posterthat states 'masks MUST be worn in this setting'.This can be used for practices that wish to mandate mask wearing in their practice.

Mandatory boosters for disability workers 

On 16 March, ATAGI advised that disability workers now require three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, in order to provide protection against both infection and severe disease. 

Vaccination coverage in children 

On Monday 21 March, NSW Health reported that tragically, a previously well two-year-old child from Sydney died at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead due to COVID-19 infection. In NSW, 48.9 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Practices are encouraged to download the AIR42A report to identify all children due for the COVID-19 vaccine. Contact immunisation@cesphn.com.au for assistance. 

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Upcoming webinars 

COVID-19 live stream for GPs

Join the latest COVID-19 vaccine live stream update for GPs. The panel will provide latest key updates and answer participants’ questions live about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

When: Thursday 24 March, 11.30 am 

Where: Online

Target audience: GPs

Register:Click link to join.

Catch up on previous webinars.

 

RACGP NSW COVID-19 update

Join experts from the RACGP and NSW Health for NSW COVID-19 update. We’ll discuss:

  • An update on COVID-19 in NSW
  • An update on variants and current cases across NSW
  • Booster and Influenza vaccination program – planning for April rollout
  • Anti-virals and access for GP eligible patients
  • Japanese Encephalitis – Implications for GP and vaccination recommendations
  • NSW Floods update

Presenters include Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe – RACGP NSW&ACT Chair, Dr Kerry Chant – Chief Health Officer, NSW Health, Dr Penny Burns – Chair of the NSW&ACT RACGP GP Disaster Management Committee and Dr Walid Jammal – GP Advisory Panel ACI; GP.

When: Monday 28 March, 7.00–8.00 pm 

Where: Online

Target audience: GPs

Register: Click link.

 

Healthed webcast

Join Healthed for an update on COVID developments such as the BA2 sub-variant and the practical implications on the recent spike, such as reactivating mask requirements and other measures.

When: Tuesday 29 March, 7.00 – 9.00 pm

Where: Online

Target audience: GPs

Register: Click here.

Updated resources

Department of Customer Service resources

The Department of Customer Service has produced an updated toolkit containing multicultural community content including:

  • COVID-19 vaccination and booster videos
  • fact sheets for people exposed to COVID-19
  • updated resources for managing COVID-19 at home and how to take a rapid antigen test safely. 

Click here to access the toolkit.

Healthdirect Australia resources

Healthdirect’s COVID-19 factsheet poster is now available in multiple languages, and covers how people can manage mild symptoms at home, including information on when to reach out to other health services if your symptoms worsen. The updated languages include: Arabic, Assyrian, Bengali, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Greek, Hindi, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. These can be found on their Marketing Resources page under Healthdirect resources in other languages.  

COVID-19 care in the community 

A reminder to check HealthPathways regularly for the latest updates on caring for COVID positive patients in the community. These have been updated to include information on the new oral antiviral treatments.

CESPHN Vax at Home Service 

Some people in our community may not be able to access a GP or vaccination hub to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The CESPHN Vax at Home Service is ONLY for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster (their carers will also be able to be vaccinated). 

The Vax at Home Service will accept referrals for people 16 years and over. For children 12-16 years with special circumstances and may require further support, referrals will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

Patient self-referrals will NOT be accepted. Patients should speak with their GP for a referral to this program if appropriate. Referrals will be accepted from general practitioners and from Local Health Districts.

Referrals MUST be sent through this Vax at Home Service Online Form – for people who are housebound and reside in the Sydney Local Health District or South Eastern Sydney Local Health District regions. 

For further information on the program, please email vaxathomeservice@cesphn.com.au

PPE and pulse oximeters available

To order PPE for your practice or pharmacy click hereDistribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health districts. CESPHN has access to a small supply of pulse oximeters. 

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patient

  • Individual patients - distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health districts. CESPHN have access to a small supply. GPs with patients they believe require a pulse oximeter urgently are asked to complete this CESPHN Pulse Oximeter online formwith the patients details and we will arrange delivery of an oximeter.
  • General practices – practices actively seeing moderate risk COVID positive patients can also be sent up to five pulse oximeters per practice via email topulseoximeter@cesphn.com.au.

 

 

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