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COVID-19 update – 4 May 2022

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COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 67,523 cases of COVID in the region – a decrease of 15,02 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. 

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.

New 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. 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

Important: New ordering process for PPE

We have supplied PPE to general practices, community pharmacies and allied health via the Commonwealth’s National Medical Stockpile over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, such supply was in response to normal PPE supply lines being disrupted by the pandemic.

The Commonwealth is commencing a more streamlined approach to PPE and pulse oximeter ordering, distribution and delivery. 

The new ordering process will commence over the next week:

PPE deliveries will be delivered directly from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) to general practitioners and immunising pharmacists (rather than via PHN). Orders will still occur via CESPHN through an updated online order form that will be sent to practices and pharmacies.

The Living with COVID PPE Bundle will supply each practitioner with a 1-month supply of PPE (equivalent to 40 patient visits). If practitioners have a higher case load (i.e., over 40 patients), bundles can be ordered more frequently.

Eligibility criteria:

§  PPE Bundle: GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs willing to manage COVID positive patients face-to-face, until 30 September 2022.

§  Access to P2/N95 masks and eye protection: GPs and GPRCs willing to support COVID positive people virtually, and respiratory patients face-to-face, until 30 September 2022.

There will be a transition phase over the next 2 weeks while CESPHN manages final orders through the current ordering system. The current request for PPE form on the CESPHN website will be updated to reflect the new process.

Requirements needed for new orders:

There will be some further requirements needed for ordering through this new process – please note so you can prepare:

  • Provider numbers for GPs ordering will be required
  • Sizes will be required for masks and gloves ordered for each practitioner
  • You must agree that the details provided in the order form are true and accurate, and all eligible requirements have been met
  • Ensure that consent has been obtained from each eligible practitioner for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information to the PHN, Logistics and Distribution Partners, and to Australian Department of Health for ordering, auditing and delivery purposes.

Please note: General practices, Pharmacies and Allied Health should only order through the new PPE ordering system if their option for usual supply orders is not available. 

See here further information – Factsheet – Guide for completing new PPE and pulse oximeter order form – GP, ACCHS and GPRCs.

mRNA vaccine dose interval extended

ATAGI recommends an 8-week interval between dose one and dose two for Pfizer and Moderna for people aged 5 years and older, particularly for males aged 12 to 39 years. The extended dose interval has been shown to improve the immune response to vaccination, may improve effectiveness, and may also reduce the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. The dose interval can be reduced (to a minimum of 3 weeks for Pfizer or 4 weeks for Moderna) for people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions), in an outbreak setting, or prior to international travel.

Vaccine recommendation by age and population group

This flowchart (updated 2 May 2022) summarises the ATAGI recommendations relating to COVID-19 vaccines. It outlines the appropriate vaccine brand and doses that are recommended for each age and population group.

Defer vaccination for 3 months after COVID-19 infection

Vaccination is recommended to be deferred for at least 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection for all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster doses. This updated advice reflects the lower risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection, particularly if prior COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received. 

This recommendation does not apply to other vaccines (for example, influenza vaccinations) which can continue to be administered as soon as a person recovers from acute infection.

Upcoming webinars

Healthed webcast

COVID expert update – Ba5 update, New post-infection vax guidelines, Hepatitis-vax link? Antivirals, Influenza update

When: Tuesday 10 May, 7.00 pm – 9/00 pm
Where: Online
Target audience: Health professionals
Register: Click here to register.

 

COVID-19 live stream update for GPs

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

When: Thursday 5 May 2022, 11.30 am
Where: Online
Target audience: GPs
Register: Click link to join

Free fit testing for GPs and practice nurses

 CESPHN is offering free fit testing for all GPs and practice nurses in our region. Bookings are now open

Individual appointments 

GPs and practice nurses can use the existing Sydney Local Health District mask fit testing booking system to book individual appointments at either Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital or Canterbury Hospital for mask fit testing services.

For bookings please go to https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/covid-mask-testing/. The online booking system will be updated to include a check box to identify as a GP or practice nurse; this question will also be asked by the mask fit tester.  For the next month a special three hour evening slot will be available once per week for GPs and practice nurses to access.

  • RPA and Concord Hospital are open from 8.00am – 4.00pm Monday to Friday.
  • Canterbury is open from 8.00am – 4.00pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Group appointments 

Fit testing services can be provided in the GP practice for group appointments provided there is a minimum of 20 people requiring mask fit testing. This may require practices to collaborate to ensure they meet minimum numbers.

This can be arranged by contacting:  

Phone: 95625 5900 or

Email: matt.barker@health.nsw.gov.au

Current locations 

  • Royal Prince Alfred Room 6.1 Level 6 Kerry Packer Education Centre
  • Concord Hospital Centre for Education Workforce and Development Building 20A
  • Canterbury Hospital Level 4 (next to computer room)

Ordering of masks 

Masks will be supplied for fit testing however the GP practice will then need to purchase masks.  Further information on purchasing masks will be provided on the day. 

Excess COVID 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 weeks 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. 

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

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. 

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. Patient self-referrals will NOT be accepted. All 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. Please indicate if an influenza vaccine is also required.  

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 districts. 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 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 five pulse oximeters per practice via email to pulseoximeter@cesphn.com.au.
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