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COVID-19 weekly update – 9 November 2022

20200512 Icon Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases in the region

Our region is experiencing a significant surge in the number of COVID cases. General practices should take the necessary steps to ensure they are able to respond to this increase.

For further information on the latest number of COVID cases please go to the latest NSW COVID statistics.

Infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients) is critically important. Practices are 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, email coronvirus@cesphn.com.au

Pfizer Bivalent (Grey) 18+ booster – Commences 12 December 2022

ATAGI recommends the Pfizer (Comirnaty) Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1 vaccine for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older. The Pfizer Bivalent (Grey) will commence in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program for boosters in people aged 18 years or older from 12 December 2022.

ATAGI recommendations:

  • Eligibility: Pfizer bivalent vaccine can be used for any booster dose in people aged 18 years or older, according to the current ATAGI booster dose recommendations.
  • Timing & intervals: Booster doses should be given at least 3 months after previous COVID-19 infection or last COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Co-administration: Pfizer bivalent vaccine can be co-administered with other non-COVID vaccines, as per current ATAGI clinical guidance

Information on ordering was sent to all general practices by CESPHN yesterday.

Ordering process for PPE

Please Note: Due to the Christmas holidays and lead time for processing of orders for January stock, CESPHN would like to advise General Practices and Pharmacies within our region to place final PPE orders by COB Wednesday 14 December 2022 to allow sufficient processing and distribution time by the Department.

New changes to the ordering guidelines for supply of PPE to practices under the living with COVID provision PPE bundles:

  • It is no longer necessary for practices to order PPE in complete bundles. Practices are now able to request only the items they require when placing an order.
  • Please use the ‘Living with COVID’ provision to order the required PPE per practitioner
  • Practices will no longer need to use ‘Emergency Provision’ to order specified stock.
  • Emergency Provision Section has been removed from the online order form

Please read the guidance document before placing your order:

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

Living with COVID PPE Bundles are available for:

  • GPs, ACCHS and GPRCs willing to manage COVID positive patients face-to-face.
  • 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
  • GPs and GPRCs willing to support COVID positive people virtually, and respiratory patients face to face

Updated list of symptoms from Taskforce COVID-19 Primary Care Panel

The Taskforce COVID-19 Primary Chronic Care Panel has reviewed and updated the list of symptoms and description of conditions that are observed in patients with symptoms after COVID-19.

This update includes further categorisation of symptoms of post-COVID-19 condition and a description of possible clinical manifestations following COVID-19.

The following categories of symptoms and signs have been described by people after COVID-19 with post-COVID-19 infection (adapted from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Generalised symptoms
  • Cardiovascular symptoms
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
  • Ear, nose and throat symptoms

View the full list of symptoms and conditions on our guidelines platform MAGICapp

Managing patients with COVID-19

The Taskforce has also added two new consensus recommendations and updated existing recommendations for managing patients with continuing symptoms after COVID-19.

Care after COVID-19 Flowchart

All new and updated recommendations above have been reflected in the Care of people after COVID-19 flowchart.

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 also indicate if an influenza vaccine is also required. Please note, a referral will need to be attached to the online form. For further information on the program, please contact us.

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patients

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.