NALHN Staff information during COVID-19


Important updates for all HCWs (15/11/2022)

This information:

  • is current and will be updated whenever there are changes to obligations and procedures.
  • has been authorised and approved by Andrew McGill, NALHN COVID-19 Program Lead
  • last updated 15 Nov 2022

PLEASE NOTE: All staff must wear a D95 /N95 mask whilst working in a clinical area. All staff are to wear enhanced PPE (D95/N95 and protective eyewear) when entering a room of a patient in transmission-based precautions.  PPE must be changed after leaving a room of a patient in transmission-based precautions.

COVID Vaccination for NALHN employees, contractors, students, and volunteers:

NALHN Staff Health is now offering the new Moderna Spikevax Bivalent vaccination as a booster or winter dose. This is available at LMH and ModH Staff Health during business hours Monday to Friday. Pfizer and Novavax are also still available if preferred.

RAT and PCR testing 

ALL NALHN employees, contractors, students, and volunteers MUST report COVID positive results to Staff Health for furlough risk assessment and contact tracing. The NALHN COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 is available 7 days a week, between the hours of 0830 -1600.

Staff MUST undertake a RAT at the commencement of any symptoms

  • (Symptoms include runny or blocked nose, sore throat, aches and pains, cough, feeling more tired than usual, headache, loss of or change in taste and smell, loss of appetite or nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, (less than 4 times per day), fever or temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius, shakes or shivers, dizziness or light-headedness, mild shortness of breath when walking briskly, upstairs or coughing)

If the RAT is positive, you are deemed to be COVID-positive.

  • You will no longer require a follow-up PCR.
  • Call the Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600) for risk assessment and RTW date.
  • If you can’t get through to the COVID phone during office hours or you get notified of positive results after hours please complete the online COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire. Staff Health will contact you within 24 hours to undertake your risk assessment.

 If the RAT is negative (and you have symptoms)

  • You must undertake a PCR test within 24 hours
  • If the PCR is positive, call the Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600) for risk assessment and RTW date.
  • If the PCR is negative and you still have symptoms, call the Staff Health hotline for further advice.

Accessing tests and contacts 

  • Staff will have access to a box of RATs, to be used only as outlined above.
  • The NALHN Staff Health COVID hotline 0466 429 359 is open between 0830-1600 every day for you to for all COVID-related questions, to report close contacts and discuss testing requirements
  • RAT/PCR testing will continue to be utilised for wards/units in response to a localised internal COVID outbreak

Testing Positive

All employees, contractors, students on placement and volunteers who test positive to COVID-19 are directed to:

  • Notify their manager and discuss work arrangements.
  • Not attend the workplace for 7 days for the purpose of undertaking employment-related duties
  • Follow local workplace policies and protocols – call the NALHN Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600) to report and undertake risk assessment. RTW details will be provided during the call. Contact tracing may be required.
  • If you can't get through to the COVID phone during office hours or you get notified of positive results after hours please complete the online COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire. Staff Health will contact you within 24 hours to undertake your risk assessment.

Close Contacts

All employees, contractors, students on placement and volunteers who are close contacts are directed to notify their manager and seek permission to return to the workplace from NALHN Staff Health 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600).

It is also recommended close contacts:

  • Follow testing policies and protocols as listed and as instructed by Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600)

Wear a fit-tested D95 mask in the workplace always noting that close contacts are required to follow enhanced PPE and testing regimes.

  • Stay home and get tested if symptoms develop (as per RAT/PCR testing protocol above)
  • Self-PCR test kits are available via Staff Health (LMH and ModH)
  • While awaiting the result of your PCR, you must remain in isolation until the PCR results are back.
  • Contact Staff Health COVID Hotline to discuss 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600)

At work

COVID-19/COLD and Flu symptoms - Staff must not attend work whilst symptomatic at any time.

Q. When working across different networks, which rules do I follow?
A. Staff will need to adhere to the rules of the site where they are working (except for SA Pathology, which has overarching rules for their workforce).

Some Networks will have different rules for different situations, please call the Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 at each site to discuss specifics.

Any staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 that has worked at a NALHN site within the preceding 48 hours must call the NALHN COVID-19 hotline to report so that contact tracing can occur.

Hand hygiene

All staff must use the hand sanitiser that is available at all NALHN entry points. Hand Hygiene must also be performed as per the 5 moments for hand hygiene in the clinical area.

PPE

  • Level 3 Surgical masks are permitted for all non-COVID and non-infectious patients across the board. Level 3 surgical masks are mandated on site at all times in all areas (clinical, training areas and non-clinical)
  • Particulate filter respirators (PFR) and protective eyewear must be worn when caring for patients with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Discharge cleaning may now occur immediately after COVID-19 patient departure.
  • At a minimum, staff must adhere to airborne and standard precautions when indicated for known infectious patients.

N95/D95 Masks:

  • Staff must wear a D95 /N95 mask whilst working in a clinical area. All staff are to wear enhanced PPE (D95/N95 and protective eyewear) when entering a room of a patient in transmission-based precautions,

  • Staff deemed as close contacts will be required to wear fit-tested D95 masks whilst on-site at all times for the duration of the close contact period. Call the Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 for further close contact information and enhanced PPE/Testing regimes.

Staff can choose to wear PPE at higher levels than mandated.

  • please do not remove the mask in the presence of others at all during shift (including in break rooms)
  • PPE, including N95/D95 and eye protection, must be changed after being in transmission-based precautions rooms, if moist or contaminated, if the front of the mask has been touched, after breaks, if removed at any point, after attending the bathroom and at minimum every 4 hours
  • staff who wear N95/D95 masks MUST be fit tested. This will ensure you wear the correct size mask and know how to don it in the most effective manner. You can call 0435 443 253 to make a booking at either LMH or Modbury. *Please note, when entering a patient’s room/-zone where airborne TBP is required, staff must be fit tested
  • staff must be cleanly shaved every day when wearing a D95 or N95 mask
  • D95 masks must not be worn around the ears. They must be worn as instructed during your fit test
  • All NALHN employees must be fit tested (even non-clinical staff). This is to ensure that close contacts can still work with the mandated enhanced PPE.

 Surgical Masks:

  • All Staff and Visitors must continue to wear a surgical mask whenever on a Health site – this is a mandatory requirement and there are no mask exemptions accepted for HCWs.

Protective Eyewear\Goggles:

  • Staff directly caring for or entering the room of a COVID+ patient, suspected COVID-19 patient or known COVID-19 close contact must wear Protective Eyewear*

* Transmission Based Precautions (TBP) are to be used in addition to standard precautions for all recognised and unrecognised sources of infection, as per current IPCS procedures and practices.

Please remember: When caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, wear a PFR and protective eyewear. Standard precautions continue to be required for all patients, regardless of infectious status.

Staff to contact IPCS for clarification as required.

  • PPE Oracle codes for PPE can be obtained from Staff Health.

Physical distancing

  • all staff should maintain physical distancing where and when possible and this includes offices, hot desks, and workstations.
  • please do not gather in staff kitchens or form large groups in lunch areas.

You’ve had COVID-19 before and are exposed again to someone with COVID-19

If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you will not be considered a close contact for 28 days after your release from isolation.  After 28 days, you will be considered a close contact if you are re-exposed to COVID-19 and meet the close contact definition. You will need to quarantine and get tested. Call the Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600) for advice, if required.

Patients and colleagues with COVID-19

When you have worked alongside someone who is COVID-19 positive

  • staff contact tracing will be completed by Staff Health and anyone identified who meets the close contact exposure rules will be contacted as part of this process
  • Infection Prevention &Control Service (IPCS ) will undertake contact tracing for patients. Please notify IPCS if any patients return a positive PCR or RAT to allow contact tracing
  • please ask the identified COVID-19+ colleague to notify Staff Health via either 0466 429 359 (7 days, 0830-1600) if they are positive to ensure contact tracing is completed in a timely manner or staff may complete the  COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire. For those completing the questionnaire, Staff Health will contact you.
  • if you were wearing the correct PPE at all times (mask and goggles) and there were no breaches, no further action is required however staff are invited to call the COVID Hotline for clarification.

International travel

Back from overseas:

NALHN Staff returning from overseas travel can return to work following a negative PCR test, but must adhere to the following:

  • have a PCR test immediately upon return to South Australia – results must be negative prior to your first shift.
  • repeat PCR tests on day 6 and 13
  • take a daily RAT up to and including day 13.
  • wear a fit-tested N95/D95 mask whilst on site at all times.
  • must be asymptomatic and if symptoms present at any time, do not attend work, and have a PCR test. Notify Staff Health hotline.
  • staff who test positive to COVID-19 while overseas must notify Staff Health immediately on return to SA and provide evidence of positive test. Details will be collected for reporting purposes and safe RTW dates will be discussed during the risk assessment. PCR upon return will not be required if evidence of COVID-19 is produced.

Contacting Staff Health – COVID-19 Hotline 0466 429 359

  • the NALHN Staff Health COVID Hotline 0466 429 359 is available from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, seven days per week
  • Please leave a message with mobile number if you wish to have your call returned.
  • if you are in urgent need of COVID-19 related advice or support (e.g., if you are unwell and need urgent advice), please follow the testing and isolation advice provided here until you have spoken to Staff Health
  • for urgent support outside of these hours and up until 8:00 pm, please contact the Duty Coordinator, who can determine if Staff Health assistance is required and can contact them on your behalf

Patient and Visitor related information:

COVID-19 & SCOVID patient management resources

  • NALHN PPG for COVID-19 policies and procedures – search COVID-19
  • NALHN IPCS intranet page
  • all patients to have the MR314 completed on admission
  • for close contacts please use symptom checker form MR314.1 twice a day
  • OWI 5220 Criteria to release Inpatients with Confirmed COVID-19 from Isolation
  • OWI 5235 COVID-19 Pathway for Patients with Recent COVID-19
  • OWI 5221 Suspected COVID-19 Management including positive Rapid Antigen Test pathway

COVID-19 &SCOVID-19 patient management resources can be accessed on the Inside Northern intranet and PPG. You need to be signed into the SA Health Network to access Inside Northern.

Information about visitors

  • There is no restriction on the number of visitors to general inpatient areas
  • Limits may apply to specialty areas across the Hospital.

At the Lyell McEwin and Modbury Hospitals, volunteers will assist with wayfinding, encourage mask wearing and hand hygiene on Monday to Friday between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm.

There will be a security concierge at the entrances to both hospitals between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm Monday to Friday and between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm on weekends.

All visitors to our sites are required to wear a face mask in a high-risk setting (Hospital).

Surgical masks and hand gel will be readily available near these signs and throughout both sites with our wonderful volunteers assisting with access to a mask for our visitors.

Please refer to the Inside Northern intranet for information sheets pertaining to:

  • new Conditions of entry across NALHN acute care sites
  • (OWI05199) COVID-19 Management of Visitors / Consumers (including exemption process)

All staff should be familiar with the contents of these documents and follow the procedures explained therein.

COVID-19 signs and symptoms

The following are all symptoms of COVID-19. Any patients with any of the below symptoms must be placed in a single room (door closed) with ensuite/dedicated bathroom and have appropriate COVID-19 testing:

  • fever (a temperature of 37.5˚C or higher) or chills
  • cough
  • loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • runny or blocked nose
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain
  • loss of appetite

Patient management

  • patient to be managed under airborne transmission-based precautions (single room with the door closed)
  • PCR testing is required (Respiratory Pathogens NAT test if respiratory symptoms, COVID-19 only screening PCR if other symptoms)
  • transmission-based precautions (TBP) cannot be lifted based on RAT results

Contacting IPCS – 0478 402 036

  • NALHN IPCS is available during standard business hours (8.00 am – 4.30 pm) Monday – Friday

Staff well-being and contacts

Employee Assistance Program

Your wellbeing is important to us, and we want to reassure you that our Employee Assistance Providers, Access Programs, Human Psychology and Australian Institute for Loss and Grief are available to support you through this uncertain time.

Access Programs, Human Psychology and Australian Institute for Loss and Grief have transitioned to a telephone counselling model. Staff will be able to access telephone appointments in lieu of all face-to-face counselling appointments.

To make an appointment you may call them directly on the following numbers:

The 24/7 after-hours on-call crisis counselling via the above phone numbers will continue as normal.

Culturally sensitive counsellors are available for Aboriginal employees and their families.  Please make this request upon making a booking.

NALHN staff support

In addition to EAP support, assistance is available for the following:

Telephone and online support services

For people under 25 years of age

For pregnancy and new parenthood information

Pandemic Kindness Movement

The Pandemic Kindness Movement was created by clinicians across Australia, working together to support all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have curated respected, evidence-informed resources and links to valuable services to support the wellbeing of the health workforce.

Find all the resources at Pandemic Kindness Movement website.

Accessing information from home

Staff who have a valid HAD login (email address and password) can access their work emails through an internet browser via the Outlook Web Access (OWA) email interface.

Visitor guidelines

See the current visitor guidelines.