Testing expanded, no single-use PPE should be re-used or saved.

Members are encouraged to read our newsflashes and the COVID-19 information for health workers provided on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Commonwealth Department of Health websites.

Personal protective equipment – no re-using advice is clear

ANMF continues to raise members’ concerns about personal protective equipment at the weekly Safer Care Victoria committee.

The head of the Department of Health and Human Services PPE taskforce, Safer Care Victoria Chief Medical Officer Professor Andrew Wilson, provided clarification at the committee’s last meeting.

Prof Wilson’s advice, in response to ANMF members’ inquiries to our Member Assistance team, included:

1. No health service should be re-using or re-purposing single-use personal protective equipment. This includes shields, goggles, aprons and masks.

2. Mechanisms are in place to collect some single-use PPE from health services, in particular masks and gowns. Research is being conducted on what PPE may be processed and re-used if required in a surge situation.

3. No members should be directed to ‘disinfect’ or save their PPE.

4. No masks should be put in plastic bags and re-used later.

If your employer is asking you re-use or save single-use PPE, members should contact ANMF Member Assistance for advice and support.

Victorian Government widens COVID-19 testing.

Testing criteria have been expanded to include all people with consistent clinical symptoms. This will assist in finding cases that are being transmitted in the community.

The clinical criteria have been narrowed due to removal of epidemiological criteria. Clinicians are advised to only test patients who meet the clinical testing criteria. There should be no exceptions.

Revised testing criteria include:

  • fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation OR
  • acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

Testing is also recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19* AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
*headache, myalgia, runny or stuffy nose, anosmia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

Healthcare workers and other frontline employees are able to have faster return of test results.