Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child has praised staff at the Wonthaggi Hospital for their response to the latest COVID threat however the health service is also developing plans to expand to meet any increased demand as the pandemic reaches its expected peak in Victoria.


BASS Coast Health has so comprehensively handled the attendance by a COVID-positive patient to the Wonthaggi Hospital on Thursday this week that the facility will not even be declared an ‘Exposure Site’.

But, “out of an abundance of caution” the health service is encouraging “anyone who was in the front reception or ED at Wonthaggi Hospital between 7.30am and 10am on Thursday, September 30, to be vigilant and look out for any symptoms, and get tested and isolate as required.”

But it doesn’t mean the health service won’t be reassessing its policies and protocols.

Next week, the health service is likely to set up a “hot reception” area for people presenting with respiratory complaints and other possible COVID symptoms, to eliminate the need to walk down the corridor to Emergency Department. More of that later.

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child was pleased with the response by staff.

“Yesterday, Bass Coast Health’s COVID safe plans were put to the test when a patient attended the Wonthaggi Emergency Department and was subsequently identified as COVID positive. The patient was at the Hospital between 7.30am and 10am. The patient is now isolating at home and is being supported and monitored by the Gippsland Regional Public Health Unit,” Ms Child said today.

“Huge praise to the ED team who quickly triaged the symptomatic patient, isolated them in our low-pressure room, organised treatment, and then organised a terminal clean of the area as soon as the patient left. This was excellent execution of the ED Covid safe pathway.

“We have communicated with all staff who had direct contact with this patient, including staff from the front entrance, right through to the ED.

“With an abundance of caution, we are furloughing some staff in line with the DH furloughing guidance. I am really pleased that staff use of PPE was good, and that most staff had been fit tested, and were fully vaccinated.

“This is a great reminder that Vaccination, Fit Testing, and proper use of PPE are the key things that will keep our staff and our workplace safe.

“In addition, communication is occurring with all patients that were in ED at the time, noting this is an extremely low risk situation because the Covid safe plan was fully activated by successfully by our staff.

“Appropriate cleaning has been undertaken and the Hospital and ED continues to provide a safe environment for care – there is no risk to public safety and at this time, there are no further exposure sites related to this case.

“In the interests of being abundantly cautious, we encourage anyone who was in the front reception or ED at Wonthaggi Hospital between 7.30am and 10am, to be vigilant and look out for any symptoms, and get tested and isolate as required.

“It’s a great time to remember the importance of the directives of the Chief Health Officer, all of which are in place to keep us safe.

“Please also adhere to physical distancing, in this time of increasing community transmission, avoid crowds, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and sanitise regularly, and get tested if you have even the mildest of symptoms.  Most importantly, be smart and get vaccinated,” Ms Child said.