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COVID-19 update – 1 December 2021

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COVID-19 cases in the region

COVID cases in our region are increasing. Over the past two weeks to 28 November 2021 there have been 740 locally acquired cases in the CESPHN region, a 23% per cent increase over the previous period. The largest concentrations are in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA (149), Randwick LGA (97) and Sydney LGA (97).

See here for information on the latest testing locations.  Please remember to refer your patients to a GP respiratory clinic if they need a respiratory assessment. You can find contact details here.

Vaccination update 

Within the region 87% of the population aged 15 and over have received one vaccine dose and 85% are fully vaccinated (no change from last week). 13% of the population remain unvaccinated.

Please continue to contact our practice support team via coronavirus@cesphn.com.au should you wish to transfer vaccine. We note many practices have established local arrangements to share vaccine while demand is low.

Vaccinating practices who would like to order smaller doses of Pfizer vaccine are asked to contact the PHN. If you would like to deliver the Moderna vaccine please also contact coronavirus@cesphn.com.au.

General practices and pharmacists are encouraged to review their patients and identify those who are unvaccinated or need a booster dose and arrange COVID-19 vaccination for them.

Schools in our region are being impacted by COVID outbreaks – it’s important that general practice be aware of the COVID-19 response protocols in schools – see Schools and Covid protocol – advice to families

Omicron

On 26 November WHO designated the Omicron variant of the coronavirus a variant of concern. It is unknown whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants. Information on the efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines is still limited but expected in the next 2 weeks.

There are new quarantine requirements in response to the Omicron variant. All fully vaccinated travellers arriving in NSW who have been in any overseas country must get a COVID-19 PCR test and self-isolate for at least 72 hours. All travellers arriving from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles in the 14-day period before their arrival will be required to enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status.

FAQs for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots 

This resource is designed to assist health care professionals answer common questions about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The resource includes information on why booster shots are required, whether they will be required every year, which vaccines should be used for boosters, and more.

FAQs about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination

This factsheet (available language translations) answers commonly asked questions about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccines, including when and why pregnant women should get the COVID-19 vaccine, which vaccine to get, and possible side effects.

COVID-19 webinars 

  • Healthed webcast: COVID Update on Omicron, boosters, children and COVID and long COVID. This webcast will be presented by epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws. Details: Tuesday 7 December, 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm AEDT
  • NCIRS webinar: COVID-19 in children and adolescents: vaccines, transmission at school and disease outcomes: The final webinar for 2021 will focus on COVID-19 in children and adolescents with an update on vaccine recommendations and safety in children and adolescents and the latest data on transmission in schools in Australia, including the experience in NSW since the return to face-to-face learning, outcomes in children with COVID-19 and long-term follow-up. Details: Wednesday 8 December 12.00 – 1.30 pm AEDT. Register here
  • COVID-19 live stream: 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. Get involved by submitting questions and comments! Details: Thursday 2 December, 11.30 am (AEDT) | Click link to join
  • RACGP COVID related webinars:
TitleDate and timeRegistration link
Vaccine hesitancy and practice efficienciesThursday 2 December 2021, 7.00–8.00 pm    https://racgp.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_H4MEz1OrTC-ZOZSVMoFPLw

 CESPHN Vax at Home program

We are aware that some people in our community may not be able to access a GP or vaccination hub to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.  As a result CESPHN has developed the Vax at Home program.

The CESPHN Vax at Home Program is ONLY for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COViD-19 vaccination (their carers will also be able to be vaccinated).  

Patient self-referrals will NOT be accepted. Patients should speak with their GP for referral to this program if appropriate. Referrals can be accepted from General Practitioners and Disability Provider Organisations only. Referrals for people who live in the Sydney Local Health District can be emailed to SLHD-AHCCR-InreachClinic@health.nsw.gov.au and for South Eastern Sydney Local Health District please email vaxinhomesesydney@gmail.com

Referrals should include:

  • Name of patient
  • Date of Birth
  • Patients residential address and contact details
  • Name of usual GP.
  • Medicare details
  • Contact details of any carers.

This service is now operational and accepting referrals.  

Free infection control advice 

CESPHN is pleased to offer general practices, community pharmacies and allied health the opportunity to have a specialised one-on-one consultation session with an experienced primary care infection control educator. This consult will enable your practice/pharmacy to:

  • Send questions prior to the consultation session about your practice
  • Ask questions on infection control that relates to your practice.

Sessions will be via ‘Zoom’ and will be up to 50 minutes in duration and can be recorded for later use. The aim of these sessions is to support practices and community pharmacies to ensure they have the strongest infection procedures in place and provide tips for improvement where needed. If you would like more information or would like to book a consultation, please email your interest to coronavirus@cesphn.com.au and in the subject line write: “Yes I would like infection control advice”.

Additional PPE available 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packages including surgical and N95/P2 masks, is available for community pharmacies and those GPs who continue to see their patients within their practices. PPE guidelines can be found here. CESPHN will continue to distribute these supplies. To order PPE for your practice or pharmacy click here.