Mildura Base Hospital steps up safety measures

MILDURA Base Hospital has implemented strict new measures to further bolster its safety and infection control protocols to continue protecting patients, health care workers and visitors during the COVID-19 situation.

Mildura Base Hospital cheif executive officer Adam Stevenson said efforts during the emergency planning stage were now being realised with the implementation of stage 2 of the hospital's emergency plan coming into effect on Tuesday, including hospital visiting directions handed down from the Deputy Chief Health Officer.

"The situation is changing across Australia but we're well-prepared to manage the impacts of COVID-19 and it's now more important than ever that our staff and health care providers work together to navigate the community through this crisis," Mr Stephenson said.

As the number of confirmed cases in Australia continues to increase, and with a recent confirmed case in the local community, Mildura Base Hospital has taken precautions to limit the number of visitors entering the site and other measure to ensure patient and staff safety.

A maximum of one nominated visitor per patient admission who can visit between 10am and 11am, and 5pm and 6pm.

Access to the building will also be limited to main entrance, and ward 2/3 entrance.

Anyone wishing to visit the hospital will need to be assessed against a set of criteria by staff before they are allowed to enter.

They will be able to visit only if they are well, have not travelled overseas in the past two weeks, have not been identified as a close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, have not been in contact with a suspected case, and are aged 16 years or over (exceptional circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis).

Mr Stevenson said reducing the number of people entering the facility better allowed for creating safe distances between people to minimise the COVID-19 infection risk to our staff, patients and visitors.

"Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through direct close contact with an infectious person, or through touching objects or surfaces such as door handles and tables and then touching your mouth or face," he said.

"We are asking everyone on site maintain good hygiene by washing and sanitising hands regularly, and remaining 1.5 metres apart because the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

"Where possible, we are also conducting meetings of frontline and specialty staff via video and teleconferencing."

The hospital is also working to ensure ongoing supply levels of personal protective equipment by educating staff on how to wear and remove the equipment appropriately, particularly in critical care areas.

The hospital is also liaising closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and Ramsay Health Care's COVID-19 response team which continues to closely monitor and respond to updates.