COVID-19 - Information for health professionals

Key reminders for general practice 

COVID-19 case numbers

Please note, DHHS data is updated at the end of each day. SEMPHN endeavours to provide general practices with the latest COVID-19 updates as soon as it becomes available.

21 January 2021:

  • Victoria has recorded one new case of coronavirus (COVID-19) since yesterday, in hotel quarantine.
  • This is the 15th consecutive day where Victoria has recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus.
  • The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported in Victoria is now 20,433 including those in hotel quarantine.
  • There were no new deaths and the state’s death toll stands at 820.
  • The number of active cases in Victoria is 34, made up of one locally acquired case linked to the Black Rock restaurant cluster, which is a decrease of one since yesterday, and 33 cases in travellers in hotel quarantine, an increase of one since yesterday.
  • A total of  4,321,565 test results have been received. This is an increase of  20,070 since yesterday.
  • The DHHS website has full details in the interactive daily report.
  • For comprehensive updates on case numbers, restrictions and clinical guidance, please refer to the DHHS website. 
  • COVIDSafe Summer restrictions have come into effect. Read the COVIDSafe Summer restrictions summary.
  • Read the full health alert

Advice for clinicians

  • Clinicians should be asking patients if they are from or if they have been in New South Wales or Queensland and if so, to check the areas of risk defined by the NSW Government and QLD Government and recommended actions.
  • Clinical guidelines are found on the COVID-19 evidence website.
  • Statement on Rapid Antigen Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) diagnosis in symptomatic persons.
  • Notifications to the department of a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) can be done online. You can submit an online form to the DHHS public health team, rather than calling, saving you time and resolving your case load more efficiently.
  • The department is continuing to ask commercial passenger vehicle drivers and food delivery drivers to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). If commercial passenger vehicle drivers and food delivery drivers do not have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will not have to stay home to wait for their test results. Commercial passenger vehicle drivers and food delivery drivers will need to tell staff at the testing centre/site that they work in the industry.
  • Visit DHHS' Information for health services and professionals page to read more on COVID-19 and which resources are available
  • A list of current locations with an interactive map is available on the where to get tested website page

COVID-19 vaccine updates

Australian Government EOI for COVID-19 Vaccine

Expressions Of Interest (EOI) will be open for accredited general practices to take part in the planned delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine from 9am, Saturday 23 January, via www.health.gov.au.

It’s anticipated that the EOI will have a short timeframe for responses, so we recommend your urgent attention to this opportunity.

  • For more information, read Minister Hunt’s Media Release.
  • Please ensure you subscribe to our COVID-19 updates as this is SEMPHN’s key communication channel for updates in this space.
  • SEMPHN will be hosting a webinar on 5 February at 12pm to discuss the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Register here.

A staged rollout of the vaccine is expected to commence in February 2021.

Healthcare professionals have an important role in discussing and delivering vaccination against COVID-19 with their patients.

The vaccine rollout roadmap has determined the phases of vaccination for priority groups.

The vaccine rollout roadmap has determined the phases of vaccination for priority groups. Frontline health care workers identified in phase 1 of the rollout are those at the greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.

This includes people working in GP Respiratory Clinics, COVID-19 testing facilities, ambulance staff, paramedics, ICU and emergency department staff and clinical and ancillary support staff. These frontline health care workers will be vaccinated first in phase 1a. All other health care workers will be vaccinated as soon as additional doses are available in phase 1b.

Learn more at the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccines website and subscribe to the COVID-19 Vaccines Update.


Businesses must have a COVID Safe Plan in place


COVID-19 Clinical Guidance and Pathway


You can also access recordings of our two webinars about the COVID Positive Patients Pathway:

1. Alfred Hospital: Managing COVID Positive Patients Within the Pathway Model, 30 September, 2020

Meeting Recording: Access Passcode: T#5cH@$x

2. Monash Hospital: Managing COVID Positive Patients Within the Pathway Model, 11 November, 2020

Meeting Recording: Access Passcode: VIY0xuR=


COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics

SEMPHN is working with health services across south eastern Melbourne to provide access to Commonwealth-funded COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics. 

Pathway

  • Victorians are encouraged to use Health Direct’s symptom checker if they are feeling unwell. If patients are experiencing difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000).
  • After identifying symptoms, Victorians should get tested at a nearby testing location (this may include a COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinic).
  • After testing, they must stay home and isolate until they receive test results. If they test negative they can continue their regular activity following the local restrictions in place. If they test positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate until they receive clearance from the DHHS. 

COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics available in south eastern Melbourne

ClinicAddressContact details

Star Health

Prahran Town Hall, 255A Chapel St, Prahran

Contact: 03 9525 1300
Website: https://www.starhealth.org.au/ 

Carrum Downs Medical Centre 113b Hall Road, Carrum Downs 

Contact: 03 9782 6088
Website: https://carrumdownsmedicalcentre.com 

Rosebud Skin Cancer Centre 1079 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud Contact: 0436 033 507
Website: https://www.rosebudskincancercentre.com.au/
Port Melbourne Medical Centre  Shop 1/405 Bay St, Port Melbourne 

Contact: 8686 0500
Website: https://portmelbournemedical.com.au/

Appointments

  • Patients should book ahead for an appointment at the COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics. This helps the clinics maintain the standards for physical distancing.
  • Patients do not need a referral from their GP to book an appointment at one of these clinics.
  • Appointments are available on weekends. 
  • Appointments are booked here.

PPE requests 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be requested when a practice, pharmacy or clinic is unable to secure commercial supply for their team and are delivering face to face care. 

Please refer to the DOH guidance on supply of PPE:

  • PHN distributed PPE for health professionals here
  • Addendum relating to PHN distributed eye protection here
  • Addendum relating to PHN distributed gowns here
  • Cleaning and disinfecting reusable eye protection here.
  • Please utilise in line with current DHHS guidance found here 

General Practices and ACCHOs which are NOT testing for COVID-19 

Please use this link: General Practice/ACCHO PPE

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members
  • P2/N95 masks are now in stock. PHNs are asked to conserve stocks of P2/N95 respirators as far as possible. They are only required for aerosol-generating procedures. 
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 30 depending on the size of your practice. 

General Practices and ACCHOs which are TESTING for COVID-19

Please use this link: COVID-19 testing General Practice/ACCHO

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members
  • Level 2/3 surgical masks for COVID-19 testing. 
  • P2/N95 masks. PHNs are asked to conserve stocks of P2/N95 respirators as far as possible. They are only required for aerosol-generating procedures and respiratory assessments. 
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 30 depending on the size of your practice. 
  • Gowns are currently available (only to be used when COVID testing)

Community pharmacies

Please use this link: Pharmacy masks requests

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members (NOT for commercial resale).

Nurse Practitioner Practices and Allied Health

Please use this link: Nurse Practitioner Allied Health PPE request

  • Level 1 Surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members.
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 20 depending on the size of your practice

Residential Aged Care Facilities

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) requiring PPE can request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Department of Health will give priority where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.

NDIS providers

NDIS and disability support providers who are unable to obtain masks can submit a request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more detail on how to apply and COVID-19 training see Department of Health advice here

Community services

Organisations in need of face masks to continue providing vital community services, please complete the State Government's request for PPE form online


PPE suppliers

Find local suppliers of PPE who can meet your business needs.

Disclaimer:

These businesses are not affiliated with South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN). Please contact these businesses directly for more information. SEMPHN cannot answer any questions related to these suppliers. SEMPHN cannot guarantee the quality of the PPE supplied by these vendors. SEMPHN is not obligated to include any businesses in this list. 


Access & Referral arrangements during COVID-19

As our Access & Referral team and providers adjust to new working environments, some organisations have advised they are experiencing issues with faxing referrals to A&R.  A new process has therefore been established that will facilitate a secure upload of referrals online. 

Ways you can refer to SEMPHN services:

  • Telephone: 1800 862 363 (8.30am-4.30pm weekdays)
  • Fax: 1300 354 053
  • Upload: Securely upload a referral form online

Visit our Access and Referral page for more information.


MBS COVID-19 Telehealth items 

Visit mbsonline.gov.au for a summary of the changes and a list of item numbers. 

Our telehealth HealthVitalIT article lists the items and requirements  (see the COVID19 section).  We are continually updating this article to add practical advice for remote consultations,  so it's a good idea to bookmark the page and check for updates every now and then. There are lots of useful tips in here. 

If you're using the bulk billed MBS telehealth items you can access HealthDirect's VideoCall platform for free via SEMPHN. For more information, see our Telehealth page.


Infection control training

COVID-19 infection control online training is available for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

Modules available include:

  • infection prevention and control for COVID-19
  • training for aged care workers
  • training focused on rural and remote communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Read more.

Register here


National COVID-19 MATOD guidance now available

Interim Guidance for the delivery of medication assisted treatment of opioid dependence in response to COVID-19: a national response is now available to assist clinicians in ensuring continuity of medication assisted treatment of opioid dependence (also known as MATOD, or opioid pharmacotherapy) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance demonstrates how clinicians can adapt treatment during this time and is intended to be read alongside state and territory guidance issued in response to COVID-19.

It recognises that many jurisdictions are at different stages of response, and also that many of the communications from government authorities relate to regulatory or guideline changes, rather than focussing on aspects of clinical care. Victorian guidance is available here.


Aged care sector and COVID-19

Visit the DHHS’ page on Coronavirus and Residential Aged Care Facilities Plan for Victoria to read the latest guidelines for this sector.

The page includes: 

  • Guidelines
  • Training on PPE and infection control for aged care workers
  • Resources

Resources 

Children (2-12 years)

If you are a health professional or service provider who works with children or young people, a number of resources on COVID-19 are now available. These resources help explain what children need to know and how to have that conversation with them. 

  • For service providers, GPs and other health organisations Emerging Minds has developed resources here
  • For younger children, a booklet has been developed for practitioners. Download the booklet here

Young people (12-24 years)

ReachOut and headspace have digital support forums (peer-based and moderated) with spaces specific to the pandemic. Additionally, online support for parents is available through ReachOut Parents (Parent Coaching online) and eheadspace (Family and Friends support). 

For access to youth mental health support visit our youth mental health page

Other resources

Plain English

Other languages 


We're still here to help

At SEMPHN, we are committed to keeping our people healthy so that they can continue to support the health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As such, our employees are now taking the responsible step of working remotely to limit the spread of the virus.  We are limiting contact, looking at alternative ways of working with stakeholders, reducing or cancelling face to face meetings and protecting our people, families and service providers to continue to conduct our business.  

Thank you for your understanding as we change our business model in the short term, in an effort to better contain the virus.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Health professionals can also sign-up to receive our COVID-19 email here


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