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COVID-19 update – 16 June 2022

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COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 36,118 cases of COVID in the region, a reduction of 4,596 cases 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.  We would like to highlight that the number of influenza cases continues to increase significantly over the last week particularly amongst children. 

Infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients) remains important. Practices are also asked to ensure that their most vulnerable populations are fully vaccinated and where possible to ensure children with respiratory illnesses get access to care. If you would like an infectious control consultation or any other support, please email

coronavirus@cesphn.com.au.

Update on influenza

Currently influenza is mainly impacting children but is expected to spread to older adults in the coming weeks, with several aged care facilities in our area already experiencing influenza outbreaks. 

As of June 12, only 54% of residents in our region aged 65 years and over had a 2022 influenza vaccine. Fewer than 27% of children under 5 years of age had at least one 2022 influenza vaccine dose reported

The 2022 influenza vaccine is a good match to circulating strains and GPs/pharmacists/aged care facilities are urged to take every opportunity to maximise flu vaccine uptake particularly in the very young and those 65 years and over.

Please help our Emergency Departments

A growing number of patients with respiratory illnesses are presenting to EDs in our region. We are encouraging patients with respiratory symptoms to be seen by a GP when required, especially the elderly and children.

To try and reduce unnecessary burden on our EDs, GPs should facilitate either telehealth or in person consultation for patients with respiratory symptoms. When in person consultation is indicated, the patient should be given a surgical mask and hand sanitiser and practice staff should wear eye protection and a mask.

Minimum recommended testing for RAT negative symptomatic patients is COVID-19/influenza A/respiratory syncytial virus. Please consider early antiviral treatment for high risk patients with confirmed influenza or COVID-19.

GPs should consider winter preparedness activities to ensure the health and safety of your patients and practice team. The Winter Planning Toolkit developed by the RACGP is a great resource and we encourage its use: winter-planning-toolkit.


Free infection control advice

We are also offering specialised one-on-one consultation with an experienced primary care infection control educator. This consult via Zoom will enable your practice to ensure the highest level of infection control procedures can be implemented to provide protection from circulating viral infections such as COVID-19 and Influenza.

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of your practice and staff, as well as seeking that patients’ are seen when required to reduce unnecessary ED presentations is of utmost importance during this difficult time.

To book a session email your interest to coronavirus@cesphn.com.au with the subject line: “Yes I would like infection control advice”. 

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.

Boosters for at-risk 12-15 year olds

From 14 June 2022, adolescents aged 12 to 15 who are at most at risk of severe disease are recommended to receive a Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 booster vaccination. Currently, Spikevax (Moderna) and Nuvaxovid (Novavax) are not licensed for use as a first booster dose in this age group.

ATAGI is not recommending a booster dose for all adolescents aged 12-15 years at this stage. Evidence shows otherwise healthy adolescents who have received two primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine remain well protected against severe disease. To be eligible for a booster dose, the children must have completed a primary course of vaccination 3 or more months ago, and meet one or more of these criteria:

  • be severely immunocompromised
  • have a disability with significant or complex health needs
  • have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase risk of severe COVID-19.

ATAGI continues to recommend a 3-month interval between a recent confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection and a scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

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 16 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.
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