President’s message on COVID-19 situation in Victoria
9 July 2020
I hope you are coping well during these difficult and rapidly changing times.
The ASA has been closely monitoring the situation in Victoria with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases. The Board and Clinical Committee remain in frequent communication with a broad range of senior sleep clinicians, including physicians and scientists who operate sleep services in the public and private sector in Victoria. Maintaining a balance between staff and patient safety, providing optimal clinical care and minimising economic hardship is paramount.
With the reintroduction of stage 3 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne (and Mitchell Shire) from 9 July, and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommendations for hospital staff in patient or public facing areas, or where physical distancing cannot be maintained, to wear a surgical mask, the ASA is recommending at this time:
- A surgical mask should be worn for all staff-patient interactions
- Postponement of non-urgent CPAP or NIV studies for the lockdown period
- These recommendations apply to the areas covered by the Victorian State Government restrictions
- Local hospital and institutional policies may also be applicable.
The ASA will continue to monitor closely for any changes in Victorian DHHS policy (e.g. in relation to elective surgery/procedures, additional screening and PPE recommendations) and adjust our position quickly to align with this advice. We will look to organise another online forum to discuss the effects of these changes in the near future.
Please take care during these difficult times, the ASA will continue to offer support and guidance as we work our way through these unprecedented challenges. As always, if you have any comments or input, please contact our CEO, Marcia Balzer.