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COVID-19 update – 1 June 2022

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COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 45 959 cases of COVID in the region, a reduction of 483 7cases over the last week. 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. The number of influenza cases continues to increase significantly over the last week. 

Infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients) remains important. 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.

COVID home visiting service

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN has recently launched a COVID home visiting service. The COVID@Home Service provides an in-home assessment service delivered by a Registered Nurse with the support of a GP. We are encouraging GPs to refer to this service

This service is aimed at COVID positive patients whose regular GP is not able to undertake home visits but where such a visit is required for medical and other support reasons while the patient is isolating. Referrals will only be accepted from GPs. Click here to find out more about the service and how to refer. If you have any enquiries please contact coronavirus@cesphn.com.au.

New Practice Resources: Winter Planning Toolkit

This winter, we are managing COVID-19 and an influenza season. As we move into the winter 2022 season it is increasingly important that people protect themselves from both COVID-19 and influenza.

As we enter the cooler months, your practice should consider winter preparedness activities to ensure the health and safety of your patients and practice team. We are pleased to support the Winter Planning Toolkit developed by the RACGP that highlights key issues such as:

  • infection prevention and control
  • workforce protection and planning
  • processes for patient management
  • managing the risk of cross infection
  • health and wellbeing of staff.

Visit our website to find out more. If your practice requires further support with these activities please email us at coronavirus@cesphn.com.au

Free flu shots for all in June

A free flu jab will be available to all NSW residents in a month-long blitz from 1 June to 30 June 2022 to combat this year’s expected severe influenza season. With a sharp increase in flu cases already, the NSW Government will fund flu vaccinations at general practice and pharmacies for those who are not otherwise eligible for free flu vaccinations under the NIP.

COVID-19 winter boosters are also recommended for specific population groups (see expanded ATAGI recommendations), and providers are reminded that both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time.

General practice

The NSW flu program will complement the current National Immunisation Program (NIP), funded by the Commonwealth, which provides free flu vaccine for those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from the flu.

GPs can also use private stock and seek remuneration for the purchase cost via a declaration.

See further information and FAQs on our Influenza webpage.

Pharmacies

NSW Health has lowered the minimum age permitted for children to receive flu vaccines in pharmacies to 5 years old (previously 10 years old) making it easier for families to be vaccinated together.

Pharmacies are encouraged to use existing private supply or obtain vaccine supply through usual wholesale supply distributers for under 65s. During the month of June pharmacies will be remunerated for vaccines administered.

See further information and FAQs on our Influenza webpage.

New ATAGI guidance on boosters

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recently issued new guidance on additional (booster) doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.

In this updated advice, an additional winter booster is now also recommended for other people at increased risk, to be given 4 months after their first booster dose. This applies to people aged 16-64 who have:

  • A medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness (see Table 1 in the link for expanded groups).
  • People with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increase risk of poor outcome from COVID-19.

CESPHN Vax at Home service

The CESPHN Vax at Home Service is for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster. The service will accept referrals for people 16 years and over. Referrals will be accepted from GPs and from Local Health Districts. Patient self-referrals will not be accepted. All referrals must be sent through this Vax at Home Service Online Form. Please indicate if an influenza vaccine is also required. For further information on the program, please contact us.

New ordering process for PPE

Access to PPE is now via Living with COVID PPE Bundles ordered nationally through PHNs using an online order form and delivered directly by a national distributor (rather than via PHNs).

Access to PPE from the National Medical Stockpile is dependent on eligibility, and PPE volumes will be monitored by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

General Practice, ACCHS and GPRCs ordering information

Living with COVID PPE Bundles are available for:

  • GP, ACCHS and GPRCs willing to manage COVID positive patients face-to-face, until 30 September 2022.
  • ACCHSs and rural and remote GPs willing to treat COVID positive patients virtually and respiratory patients face-to-face, where workforce capacity is limited AND the GP is serving the community for most of all health needs, until 30 September 2022.
  • GPs and GPRCs willing to support COVID positive people virtually, and respiratory patients face to face, until 30 September 2022.

Orders can only be placed once per month and be submitted to the PHN via the online form.

Please read the guidance document before placing your first order:

PPE for the health workforce during COVID-19

PPE for COVID-19 includes surgical masks, particulate filter respirators (such as P2 or N95), gloves, goggles, glasses, face shields, gowns and aprons. For more information go to COVID PPE Information for Health Professionals.

Upcoming webinars

COVID-19 live stream update for GPs: COVID-19 vaccine live stream for GPs – key updates and live Q&A

When: Thursday 2 June 2022 at 11.30 am

Where: Online

Target audience: GPs

RegisterClick link to join

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patient

  • Individual patients  we have access to a small supply of oximeters. GPs with patients they believe require a pulse oximeter urgently are asked to complete this CESPHN Pulse Oximeter online form with 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 10 pulse oximeters per practice via the new PPE online ordering form. If your practice has already received 10 pulse oximeters via the previous process, you will need to access future stock through your local suppliers.