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COVID-19 update – 30 June 2021

30 June 2021

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NSW COVID-19 outbreak 

There are now 171 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in NSW reported since 16 June 2021. Click here for all the latest information relating to the NSW outbreak including case locations and alerts.

See here or check our website for information on the latest testing locations within the region. Numerous new pop-up clinics have been established and anyone with symptoms or who has been to identified case locations should get tested.

PPE guidelines can be found here. To order masks for your practice click here.

CESPHN webinar tonight

Join us for a one-hour webinar tonight, Wednesday 30 June, at 7.00 pm on the COVID-19 outbreak and key challenges. Speakers will include Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Acting Director South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit, providing the latest information on the current outbreak, and Dr Brendan Goodger from CESPHN providing an update on the vaccine rollout in this region. See here for more information and to register.

Testing clinics

Many new COVID-19 testing clinics have opened or extended their hours in response to the current delta variant outbreak. We are making regular opening hours updates to our website listings of COVID-19 Pathology Collection CentresGP Respiratory Clinics and COVID-19 Testing Clinics.

Please promote testing and vaccination among older people

A number of new COVID-19 cases have recently been identified in older members of the community. Please encourage your older patients to get tested promptly if they have symptoms or have visited identified COVID case locations. Older people are prioritised at testing clinics, so they should be reassured that they will not be left waiting for long periods of time. Please remind older patients about the benefits of vaccination and encourage them to book in for their vaccination as soon as possible.

5 July: Infection prevention and control webinar

We invite health professionals to join us for an urgent pandemic infection prevention and control update in response to the delta variant outbreak on Monday, 5 July at 7.00pm, presented by Margaret Jennings, infection preventation and sterilisation educator. Topics will include how to improve the triage process and still see patients while reducing contact and risk. Please see here to register. 

COVID safe check-in

NSW Chief Health Officer, Kerry Chant, is urging all general practices to set up QR code check-ins at the entry of their practice. This ensures all patients and companions visiting your practice are recorded and is a crucial part of our contract tracing process to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Click here for information on setting this up.

AstraZeneca interval between doses

The recommended interval between two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is 12 weeks. Shortening the interval from 12 weeks to no less than 4 weeks between doses is acceptable and may be appropriate in certain circumstances, for example, imminent travel or anticipated risk of COVID-19 exposure.

AstraZeneca vaccine – expanded access to people aged 18 to 39  

Anyone 18 years and over is now eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This means people aged 18 to 39 – who are not otherwise eligible – can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine after the appropriate individual risk-benefit analysis and consent process. Health providers should only vaccinate patients with AstraZeneca without a contraindication and if the person gives fully informed consent, noting they will be able to access Pfizer later in the year.

The medical advice on which vaccine to get – Pfizer or AstraZeneca – has not changed. The Pfizer vaccine remains the preferred vaccine for people under 60. However, under new arrangements, access to the AstraZeneca vaccine is being expanded to adults under 40 – provided they give informed consent.

The eligibility checker will be updated to reflect these changes. Guidance on weighing up the potential benefits can be used to aid conversations with patients.

Resources

New indemnity provisions 

The Prime Minister this week announced an indemnity scheme for practitioners who administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The scheme will cover all approved COVID-19 vaccines administered by all privately practicing health practitioners administering doses on behalf of the Commonwealth. This includes the expanded availability of AstraZeneca to people aged 18 to 39, if they so choose.

The scheme’s design includes a proposal to provide an administrative claims process which would avoid the need for patients to enter into litigation against a practitioner where there is clear evidence of a significant vaccine related injury.

Residential aged care vaccine update

Roving vaccination clinics are underway for any residents and staff of 94 residential aged care facilities in the LGAs of Bayside, Canada Bay, City of Sydney, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra who are yet to be vaccinated. These Pfizer vaccinations are being conducted by Health Care Australia.

Temporary MBS telehealth items extended until 31 December 2021

We have included links to the latest factsheets and updates on MBS telehealth items.
The temporary MBS telehealth items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. (http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Factsheet-TempBB)

MBS changes factsheet: COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services

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