MILDURA Base Hospital is moving to repurpose a number of areas of the hospital to allow the safest and most streamlined response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the changes during the stage two rollout of the COVID-19 response plan will include the repurposing of a number of wards at MBH and the movement of some services to Mildura Health Private Hospital to deal with the expected growing number of COVID-19 patients.
MBH intensive care director Dr Alison Walker said the goal was to make Sunraysia as self-sufficient as possible.
"Because of our isolation and the reality that resources will be in short supply across the state and country, we need to work together as a community to be as self-sufficient as we can be," Dr Walker said.
"We have assessed the safest and most appropriate changes to our ward operations and structure to provide COVID-19 specific areas in the hospital..
"These changes came into effect on Tuesday this week and will increase the hospital's capacity to deal with the varying acuity patients who may be presenting at the hospital.
"Access to the COVID-19 wards is restricted only to appropriately assigned staff."
Dr Walker said a second phase of the repurposing of available hospital beds would occur over the next week.
"We have had amazing support from all our partners, Mildura Health Private Hospital, Monash University and Sunraysia Community Health that has allowed us to be flexible in maximising the use of all of our local resources," Dr Walker said.
"We will also be continuing to work with other health providers to enact a combined Mallee pandemic response plan, which is critical to our success given the rapidly changing landscape," she said.
"Readying ourselves for what is ahead is a mammoth task, and this will be a marathon, not a sprint, so we have a whole range of strategies now being implemented that I am certain none of us would have envisaged just a few months ago."
Dr Walker said the whole community would be part of the solution to the challenges ahead.
"Whether that is by simply self-isolating and social distancing, or by putting your hand up if you have some expertise we may need to call on through the journey," she said.
"As a community member and as someone who has been working on this since the beginning of the year, I'm really proud of how people are taking that on board and stepping up in support."