Important information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Information on this page

Recommencement of Elective Surgery

The Mater Hospital recommenced some elective surgeries, in accordance with the guidance of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and as endorsed by the National Cabinet. Per this government guidance, there are limitations on the number and types of elective surgeries which can proceed. 

Here at the Mater Hospital, as at every hospital, the decision to proceed with surgery will be assessed by the treating specialist and Mater clinical staff on an individual case basis, according to AHPPC guidelines and specific criteria such as the risk of the procedure, the condition of the patient, available stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE), and hospital ICU and bed capacity.

If you are considering or are scheduled for surgery, please discuss your procedure with your treating doctor or specialist.

Please click here to read more important information about this announcement.


Overview

We are closely monitoring, and proactively responding to the developments in Australia associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), in conjunction with both the Australian Government authorities and local public health units. We understand the rapidly evolving and unprecedented and widespread effects of COVID-19 may result in high levels of concern, however we want to reassure you that we are well-prepared and well-resourced to manage the impacts.

We have implemented temperature screening for all persons entering the Mater Hospital and have strict infection control and prevention protocols in place to protect patients, health care workers and visitors to minimise the risk of any infection, including COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are documented on the Australian Government’s Department of Health website. If you are unwell and require urgent medical attention you should contact your GP or call 000 for an ambulance (this will work even without phone credit).


Information for patients

If you have traveled overseas in the past 14 days, please contact the hospital or your doctor before your scheduled appointment or surgery. If you are unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms, and are scheduled for a procedure, please contact your doctor before attending the hospital.

Information for maternity patients

Our maternity staff know that having a baby is one of the most exciting times of your life and we would like to reassure you that during this time of global uncertainty our first priority is for the safety of you and your baby. That’s why we have introduced extra measures to protect you and your baby from COVID-19.

  • No Visitors in Mater Maternity
  • Only partners (or a nominated support person) are permitted to stay with mothers and we recommend partners do not leave the hospital. We understand that this might not always be possible, however it will help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Maternity tours and education classes
For the safety of our patients and staff, we have taken the decision to suspend our group maternity tours and classes. A new maternity video is now available on the matermaternity.com.au website which profiles the Mater’s services and facilities.

  • Our Childbirth Education classes (including Calmbirth®) are now offered in an online format .
  • Our postnatal education classes have also been temporarily suspended – these educational units are now available as videos via our 24 hour maternity education channel. Our experienced midwives are of course available for one to one support throughout the patient’s stay.

We understand the rapidly evolving and widespread effects of COVID-19 may result in high levels of concern, however we want to reassure you that we are well-prepared and well-resourced to manage the impacts. We have strict infection control and prevention protocols in place. If you have any questions please contact our Maternity Booking Office on 9900 7690.

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Information for visitors

Due to the COVID-19 situation Visitor Restrictions are now in place for all wards.

Patients are to nominate one visitor for their stay - only this one person will be permitted to visit with the patient during their entire stay.

All people entering the Mater Hospital will have their temperature checked with our thermal scanner.

Please do not come to the Hospital if you have any acute respiratory symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough) or fever and/or have been overseas in the last 14 days. 

Anyone entering the hospital, must practise the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • Practice social distancing (1.5m)
  • No more than 3 persons per hospital lift
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps. Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

Visiting Maternity

Maternity is now restricted to partner/carer only.

Social distancing

It is important to practice social distancing to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Important tips include:

  • You should aim to remain 1.5 metres apart at all times. If you are required to move closer than 1.5 metres, ensure that the time does not exceed 15 minutes
  • Do not shake hands
  • Do not share food
  • No more than 3 persons per hospital lift

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Have you recently traveled overseas or are you unwell?

If you have traveled overseas within the last 14 days prior to your planned or unplanned admission, or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should advise the hospital and your doctor so appropriate precautions can be in place when you are admitted, protecting you and others in the hospital. If you have had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19, then please alert the hospital so appropriate precautions can be implemented for your admission and follow the instructions from Public Health authorities.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, please alert the hospital and Public Health authorities. You will be able to be admitted but precautions will be put in place for your admission and remain in place until removed by Public Health.

 

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Special events

Keeping in mind the safety of our patients, visitors, and health care workers, based on advice from the Australian Government, we have taken the decision to postpone or cancel large events and gatherings of more than 20 people.

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FAQs

What is this virus?

Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus first seen in Hubei Province, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and there has been a significant increase in new cases across many countries in Europe and around the world. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever OR an acute respiratory infection and include (but are not limited to) cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath with or without a fever.

How is the coronavirus spread?

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person by:

  • Direct close contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables or face masks) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Most infections are transmitted by people when they have symptoms. There is now some evidence that people could be contagious before showing symptoms.

How can I help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps.
  • Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

Where are the COVID-19 clinics and testing centres located?

COVID-19 clinics and assessment centres have been established at various sites across Australia. Please click on the relevant link below to view the services available in your state:

Can I still visit my specialist/doctor even if we are locked down for COVID-19?

Yes, visiting your doctor is considered an essential indoor gathering under current guidelines. That means you must adhere to social distancing measures by keeping a distance of 1.5m between yourself and other people and good hygiene practices including using hand sanitiser before and after your visit with your doctor.

What does isolate in your home mean?

People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home. There is no need to wear masks in the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.

How is the virus treated?

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care. Some people will require hospitalisation.

What are the restrictions on visitors at hospitals and clinics?

Given the evolving situation, we are restricting visitors to facilities. No more than two visitors will be permitted at any one time. Visitors to maternity units will be restricted to close family or carers only, and preapproved by the patient. Prior to your arrival, you should contact the hospital to confirm you can visit the patient. Additional restrictions may be implemented in high risk areas including Intensive Care Units, oncology units, dialysis units, and special care nurseries.

Should I wear a face mask?

A face mask will not protect you against becoming infected. While the use of face masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, face masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like novel coronavirus. If you are unwell with cold and flu-like symptoms, then a mask can be worn when you attend the hospital or GP office for assessment.

Where can I get more information?

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au.

Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.

Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Agency monitoring you.

Contact your state or territory public health agency:

  • ACT call 02 5124 9213
  • NSW call 1300 066 055
  • NT call 08 8922 8044
  • QLD call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
  • SA call 1300 232 272
  • TAS call 1800 671 738
  • VIC call 1300 651 160
  • WA visit www.healthywa.wa.gov.au or call your local public health unit