Dear Staff and Clinicians,
As you may be aware, the Coronavirus (now named COVID-19) is evolving on a daily basis and there are many countries now with positive cases. There have been some cases in Western Australia and it is important that there are procedures in place to care for suspected and positive patients. As always, safety remains our priority at Arche Health, and it is important that both droplet and contact precautions are followed for anyone presenting to our centres with COVID-19 symptoms and relevant travel history in the past 14 days. Symptoms of coronavirus can range in severity from mild to life threatening. Therefore relevant local health authorities have identified following case definition:
- Acute respiratory infection (eg; shortness of breath or cough) with or without fever AND
- Travel or transit through a country considered to pose a risk of transmission in the 14 days before the onset of illness OR
- Close or casual contact in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19
As of Friday 13th of March, WA has tightened the testing criteria for Western Australians who suspect they may have COVID-19. This is due to a global shortage of the chemical reagent required for laboratory testing and follows deliberations at the Council of Australian Governments meeting today.
Effective immediately, COVID-19 testing in WA will be available only to individuals who:
- have fever (temperature of 38 deg or above) or respiratory illness
- can provide evidence of recent overseas travel (for example, airline ticket or passport stamp) or have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
Patients meeting these criteria must be given a mask where possible with appropriate contact precautions and directed to COVID Clinics. All COVID-19 testing in the metropolitan area will be performed only at COVID clinics by WA Health at the following locations.
- COVID Clinics Find a COVID-19 Clinic near you.
All masks, in particular N95 are in short supply, so please use them sparingly and appropriately, as they are critical at this point in time for the care of patients requiring airborne precautions.
Extra precautionary measures for all staff and our clinical caregivers.
As directed by the WA Health, testing for COVID-19 is recommended for patients with a clinically compatible illness who have travelled or transited through a higher risk country (mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea) or All other countries in the past 14 days.
Our Staff/Caregivers who have returned from oversees including higher risk country (mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea), they should not come to work for 14 days. They should self-monitor for any symptoms for 14 days after arriving in the country by self-isolating. Please contact your manager if this applies to you.
In addition, if a staff/Caregiver has had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19 and is undergoing testing outside of work, they are to remain on home isolation. Please notify your manager if this applies to you.
Signage should be placed at entrances to our clinics and reception wait rooms (Please Contact Kathleen Currin for approved government posters).
Similar to the prevention of the spread of most illnesses, it is important to regularly wash your hands or use an alcohol-based rub in all our centres.
Encourage cough etiquette and maintain at least two metres in distance (where possible) between yourself or anyone when coughing or sneezing.
If you are unwell or have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing. stay home and seek early medical advice (GPs can be contacted by phone), practice cough etiquette by covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze, immediately disposing of used tissues and having good hand hygiene. Usual work restrictions apply for all illnesses.
We expect the list of countries impacted to be updated regularly with regards to travel precautions. For an up to date list of impacted countries.
A national coronavirus information line has been set up for further information for the public: 1800 020 080.
Additional information is available:
We recognize that the facts about COVID-19 are still emerging, and that the uncertainty can be unsettling. We are committed to providing regular updates to all our staff as new information is available.
If you have any further queries about any of the above, please speak to your line manager first or HR Manager Issa Mahmoud 9458 0552.
On behalf of the board and executive team we appreciate your continued support to your patients and clients. Thank you for your patience and commitment as we respond to this evolving situation together.
Chief Executive Officer
Dated 31st March 2020.