Covid-19 Q & A


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Hello - I have noticed the front reception area where they take temps always looks very ‘messy’ with lots of loose papers and things laying everywhere . This is not a good look, particularly if the covid 19 measures continue . Can this be tidied up?

Great pick-up & suggestion – I think you’ll see a change quite quickly at our ‘front of house’.

I got an email regarding self-isolation pay for two weeks.I was on self isolation due to international travel on March from 20th of March-4th of April. Will I get paid for that ?

We had to look this one up on the Calvary National Coronavirus HR FAQs ourselves!

It seems to depend on when you left Australia as to which leave type or payment arrangments apply to you. Calvary National announced early on that special leave arrangements could be made available to staff who had departed Australia before March 16th and returned to find an unplanned 14-day home quarantine standing between them and their return to work. 

Staff who departed Australia on or after March 16th were generally ineligible for ‘special’ arrangements as the quarantine period was known factor in undertaking their travel at that time. This doesn’t presume that everyone who went overseas on/after March 16th was ‘off on holidays’, we recognise that international travel is also undertaken for emergency and compasisonate circumstances, but that departure at that time needed to include consideration of the additional personal leave reqruied to cover the Government mandatory home quarantine on return.

If you need more specific advice please do follow up with the contact details in the email you’ve recevied or with your direct manager.

If there is a Hobart outbreak will we get patients who are possibly COVID infected at Calvary?

Public and private facilities across Hobart are working closely on coordinated management of patients with confirmed COVID-19.

Calvary’s planned role is to continue to provide inpatient services to patients who do not have confirmed COVID-19 i.e. the Royal Hobart Hospital is the tertiary referral hospital for COVID cases.

The measures taken by governments, the health sector and the community at large are working to minimise the number of cases active at any one time now and into the future, so that this level of coordinated and planned management is possible.

Do we have staff working here from other health facilities ? Is there a risk of cross contamination between sites in these instances ?

ANSWER: Yes, wherever people go, their ‘germs’ can go too. Implementing standard & transmission based precautions and our current social/physical distancing measures at work are the key part of what makes it safe to work in one (or more) areas.

A number of staff do work in different areas, units or even organisations. Stopping people from working with one or more of their current employers is not a key part of our Coronavirus response plan. It is of course a known risk and ‘multiple’ employees (people with 2 or more jobs at different wards or hospitals) should have identified themselves to their manager by now (most managers know and help roster staff to work in with other committments already).

This isn’t so anyone can ask you not to work in one or other place, just so that we know if there was an outbreak or concern in one of those workplaces, that we could help protect the other with deliberate rostering or allocating.

This is a routine part of outbreak resonse management, where we ‘minimise staff rotation’ and part of what we did during a ward based influenza outbreak in 2019. Unions and employers are supportive of staff maintaining all their employment.

We are being told that transmissions occur when we are within 1.5m of another person for 15 min or more. Does this mean that we are able to safely be closer to each other, or even have incidental physical contact for those thousand brief 30sec interactions that we have each day?

ANSWER: No, social/physical distancing is required in as many of your daily (work and personal) interactions as actually possible. That’s why you’re seeing new measures about how many people can be in the tea room or in the nurses’ station at one time or why one of your staff computers got ‘physically distanced’ recently.  The National Guideline has to define what is considered a close contact and what’s not.

The ’15 minute rule’ is the result of careful consideration of disease & prevalence models, transmission dynamics and patterns of human behaviour.  That’s where we ‘draw the line’ at who is a close contact and who is not.

Note: that 15 minutes can be cumulative (totalled in hindsight, during the period of infectivity of a new case). Every prolonged interaction you DON”T HAVE at less than 1.5m of someone else minimises opportunities for transmission, and is a strange new normal.

We have had multiple family members from a single family in our hospital at one time. They have begged us to allow them to see each other. Other than the three exceptions to the no visitors rule, are we able to facilitate a socially distanced eye-balling between desperate family members? Particularly when this would be so good for their mental health?

ANSWER: Thank you advocating for our patients and considering their mental health as we navigate this difficult time.  The restriciton of visitors is a ministerial direction and out of our control.  Whilst it seems a reasonalbe request., there is not a simple answer!  Sorry 🙁 There are lots of factors which would need to be considered such as the clinical diagnosis and current conditions of all the patients.  In addition, do they live in the same household?  Given the complexity of this, can we ask you raise the matter with your NUM who can then further discuss the options with the Clinical Service Manager and IPCC’s.

If Calvary Hobart has a covid inpatient will all staff be notified ?

ANSWER: To clarify we will answer based on ‘If Calvary had a positive COVID-19 patient’.  If this was to be the case, no not all staff would be notified.  It is essential we maintain patient confidentiality.  Clinical and support staff who are directly caring for the patient will be aware of the diagnosis as they would normally.  All patients undergoing testing are being cared for in the same manner they would be if they were positive.  Currently, if a paitent was to return a positive result at Calvary Hobart the patient would be transferred to the RHH.