October 14th, 2021News from Ballarat Health
As part of the state-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballarat Base Hospital is now a designated streaming hospital for adult COVID-19 patients, as required. Ballarat Health Services will continue to provide the best possible care for our community and broader Victoria.
Ballarat Health Services CEO Dale Fraser said that under directive from the Department of Health, Ballarat Base Hospital would accept adults who need high-acuity treatment for COVID-19, with COVID-positive children streamed to Melbourne at this stage.
“We have undertaken extensive planning in preparation for our COVID-19 response since the pandemic began, and caring for COVID-19 positive patients is the next step for us,” Mr Fraser said.
“This will not impact our ability to provide care to non-COVID patients; the Base Hospital will continue to provide a high level of safe care to the community.
“However, we remind the community to please consider whether their injury or illness is an emergency before presenting to Emergency, and of the alternatives that are available to provide non-emergency care including their GP, medical clinic or pharmacist.”
A number of beds have been allocated to COVID positive patients and suspected COVID-19 patients at the Base Hospital on a dedicated ward and in the ICU. As a streaming hospital, the available dedicated beds are included on a state-wide dashboard, and patients are allocated based on availability.
Ballarat Health Services is also monitoring and providing care for COVID-19 positive people in their homes, when clinically appropriate to do so. Due largely to strong vaccination rates in our community, this is the case for the majority of Covid-19 positive cases.
“Home monitoring of COVID-19 positive patients is our biggest strength as a health service facing COVID, particularly as we know we will be living with COVID across Australia and locally into the future.
“Now is the time for the community to act responsibly and get vaccinated if they are eligible, as we know vaccines are the most reliable means to avoid serious illness from COVID-19.”
Readiness for COVID patients
Ballarat Health Services’ planning and preparation for a higher volume of COVID-19 patients has been underway since the pandemic began. More recently, plans have been put in to action, including fit-testing high-level Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff on high-risk wards, the purchase and installation of a number of air purification devices for the COVID ward and other areas of the hospital.
Additionally, a temporary marquee has been erected on Mair Street between the Emergency Department ambulance off-load bays and the BHS car park. This marquee will be used as an Emergency Department triage space for people who require emergency care and are:
- COVID positive
- Potentially COVID positive (ie are experiencing COVID symptoms such as difficulty breathing)
Over the coming weeks and months, when arriving at the BHS Emergency Department, the community is asked to read the signage at the Emergency entrance.
When the marquee is ready for use, there will be signage instructing people with COVID, or COVID symptoms on what they need to do, to ensure other people seeking emergency care are not exposed to the virus.
Executive Director Acute Operations at Ballarat Health Services, Ben Kelly, said he expected to see an increase in cases in Ballarat.
“While the first-dose vaccination rates are great, we are only at 63.5% for second doses, which means we can expect to see very unwell people from our community over the coming weeks and months,” Mr Kelly said.
“One dose is good, but two doses are what we need everyone over the age of 12 years to get.”
The Moderna vaccine is now widely available in Pharmacies and at the BHS clinic at the Mercure. Moderna and Pfizer work in the same way, and everyone over the age of 12 years can get vaccinated quickly if they choose to.
In the majority of cases, those hospitalised and dying of COVID-19 have not been fully vaccinated.
The dose intervals for each vaccine is as follows:
- Moderna – four weeks apart
- Pfizer – three weeks apart
- AstraZeneca – six weeks apart
For more information go to bhs.org.au/covid