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COVID-19 update – 16 March 2022

20200512 Icon Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 35,120 cases of COVID in the region. 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. Over the last few days there has been an increase in the number of COVID cases in NSW with over 30,000 recorded on Wednesday 16 March. Primary care providers should exercise greater vigilance. 

Management of COVID vaccines

Excess vaccines 

If your practice has an excess of COVID-19 vaccines, please notify CESPHN (coronvirus@cesphn.com.au) as we may be able to help coordinate a transfer of the stock ideally two week prior to thaw use by date.

You should also notify the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) at covid19vaccineoperationscentre@health.gov.au of your excess doses so that they may be able to facilitate transfers outside the CESPHN region. Please note in the email to VOC that you have already contacted CESPHN.

Fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine

GPs are also encouraged to review their patients and consider eligibility for 4th dose for any that are immunocompromised. The definition of booster doses and eligibility for people with severe immunocompromise is this – a primary course is defined as 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, as recommended by ATAGI for people with severe immunocompromise. For more information: ATAGI recommendations on the use of a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Mask wearing in practices

Healthcare practices are considered to be at high risk of transmission of COVID-19. In addition, they are considered different to general workplace settings due to the potential susceptibility of patients. When a person with COVID-19 attends a practice during their infectious period as a staff member, patient or carer, a risk assessment should be undertaken. Exposures can occur during individual clinical consultations, in group scenarios and whilst in non-clinical settings such as a waiting room.

General practices and their staff should continue to wear masks. It’s also recommended that your patients and anyone visiting your practice wear a mask.

See here – Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment Matrix – to assess the level of risk for exposed staff members (clinical and non-clinical) and client/patients and carers exposed in a clinical setting.

Upcoming webinar

COVID-19 live stream update for GPs

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.

When: Thursday, 17 March 11.30 am (AEDT)
Where: Online
Target audience: GPs

Register: Click here to join

New training module for Moderna 6 to 11 years

The COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program has released a new additional module for Moderna (6 to 11 years). All immunisation providers must complete the additional age specific training modules. Many of the existing modules have also been updated with new information to reflect the latest ATAGI recommendations.

COVID-19 vaccination rates for children 5-11 years old by LGA

This report, updated 15 March, lists the percentage of people aged between 5-11 years old who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by local government area. CESPHN is concerned about low vaccination rates in children and general practices are encouraged to identify those families who require vaccination support.

Vaccinationation Rates Chart

Differences between COVID-19 vaccines

This handy table from the Department of Health provides the key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia. It shows vaccine type, approved age, cap colour, dose volume, dilution required, recommended dose interval, approved primary course dose interval, third dose, storage temperature, ATAGI recommended for pre-drawn doses, storage time for open vials and transport limitations.

COVID-19 care in the community

A reminder to check HealthPathways regularly for the latest updates on caring for COVID positive patients in the community. These have been updated to include information on the new oral antiviral treatments.

CESPHN Vax at Home Service 

Some people in our community may not be able to access a GP or vaccination hub to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The CESPHN Vax at Home Service is ONLY for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster (their carers will also be able to be vaccinated). 

The Vax at Home Service will accept referrals for people 16 years and over. For children 12-16 years with special circumstances and may require further support, referrals will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Patient self-referrals will NOT be accepted. Patients should speak with their GP for a referral to this program if appropriate. Referrals will be accepted from general practitioners and from Local Health Districts.

Referrals MUST be sent through this Vax at Home Service Online Form – for people who are housebound and reside in the Sydney Local Health District or South Eastern Sydney Local Health District regions.

For further information on the program, please email vaxathomeservice@cesphn.com.au

PPE and pulse oximeters available

To order PPE for your practice or pharmacy click here. Distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health districts. CESPHN has access to a small supply of pulse oximeters.

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patient

  • Individual patients – distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health CESPHN have access to a small supply. GPs with patients they believe require a pulse oximeter urgently are asked to complete this CESPHN Pulse Oximeter online formwith 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 five pulse oximeters per practice via email to pulseoximeter@cesphn.com.au.