2019 Novel Coronavirus

Update - 17 February 2020

St Vincent’s is maintaining its vigilance with respect to Coronavirus disease 2019 (now known as COVID-19). CEOs from all Divisions and facilities, along with key members of their leadership teams, are meeting regularly, ensuring that all St Vincent’s health and aged care facilities are well prepared and acting on the latest Australian Department of Health advice and monitoring availability of supplies such as PPE.

While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia stands at 15 – with eight of the earlier cases reported to have recovered and the remaining seven in a stable condition – it remains a rapidly evolving situation globally. Being attentive to the latest developments and advice helps us all protect the people in our care, our staff, and the community more broadly. 

The case definition and advice for health professionals are being regularly updated by the Commonwealth and state public health units and their recommendations implemented at each of our facilities. This means we are:

  • screening patients who have visited or travelled through mainland China in the preceding 14 days
  • postponing elective surgery for anyone who has visited or travelled through mainland China in the preceding 14 days
  • clinically assessing anyone who has visited or travelled through areas adjacent to mainland China, including Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

If patients present with suspected COVID-19, give them a surgical mask to wear and place them in a separate room. Use standard contact and droplet transmission precautions when managing mild to moderately unwell suspected cases. SVHA has quarantined supplies of personal protective equipment to ensure adequate supply if required. 

With possible community transmission now reported in territories beyond mainland China, the case definition now allows for COVID-19 testing for a patient who has an illness compatible with COVID-19 and who has travelled overseas. Any decision to test a patient for the virus should be made in consultation with your facility and state public health unit.

Any member of staff returning from mainland China needs to isolate at home for 14 days. Sharing a home with someone in isolation does not require a person to have time off work, unless you also meet the home isolation criteria. 

For more details about the Australian response visit the Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

Situation update - 30 January 2020

  • The majority of 2019-nCoV cases have been detected in mainland China, mainly in Hubei Province. Small numbers of cases have also been confirmed in several countries, and four in NSW.
  • Infection can cause severe acute respiratory illness, but there is a spectrum of disease. Some confirmed cases have no history of fever and no fever at presentation, but there is no information about how commonly this occurs.
  • The current strategy in NSW is to broaden the testing criteria to include people who have been in Hubei Province with mild symptoms.
  • While the large majority of patients are likely to be infectious after onset of illness, there is preliminary evidence of a very small number of people being infectious before their symptoms developed. There is no information about how commonly this occurs. Therefore, contacts of confirmed cases and people who have travelled to Hubei Province must isolate themselves at home for 14 days following last possible exposure.

Read updates from NSW Health  (PDF 565.2KB)

Read Hospital Managers updates - SVPHS (PDF 1.2MB)

Read management guidelines (PDF 400.1KB)

Update - 28 January 2020

Read Staff communique (PDF 461.5KB)