From Monday 13 July, all hospitals and community health centres across the ACT are returning to tighter visitor restrictions.
This is in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria and recent positive cases in the ACT.
The visitor policy includes:
- One visitor per patient, per day.
- Admitted babies, children and young people (0 -17 years) may have one parent/carer present at all times, with an additional visitor up to one hour each day.
- Women who are admitted for care related to birthing may have up to two support persons present. This needs to be pre-planned with the relevant midwifery and obstetric staff during antenatal care.
- If you are attending an outpatient and/or a community health clinic you should, wherever possible, attend alone. If you require a support person, please limit this to one person.
Social distancing principles will continue to apply to all carers and visitors, while children and young people (0-17 years) should avoid visiting health facilities wherever possible.
The decision to restrict visitors to our health services is always a difficult one, but it ensures we can protect the health and safety of patients, staff and their loved ones. This is especially necessary for our most vulnerable, particularly patients whose health is already compromised.
Staff have been asked to use compassion and common sense to ensure you receive the support you need.
New digital screening tool now available
Our health services in the ACT are enhancing screening processes to keep staff, patients and their loved ones safe from COVID-19.
A new digital screening tool is now available to make it easier to determine if it is safe for someone to enter a health facility.
How does it work?
The screening tool must be filled in before entering a health facility in the ACT. It involves answering a series of simple questions. A green tick or red cross will indicate whether or not it is safe to enter. You will need to show screening staff what is displayed on your phone/device.
If you do not have a mobile phone or do not wish to complete the form online, you will need to answer the same questions at the security desk before being allowed to enter a facility.
To access the online screening, simply:
- Scan the QR code on the health screening posters as you enter the health facility
- Fill in a form at the screening desk.
The screening tool will also be available on the ACT Health App soon.
Why are we screening at entrances?
To keep people safe from COVID-19. This process also allows for a coordinated and uniform approach across the Territory and is in line with the tightening of visitor restrictions as of Monday 13 July 2020.
Why aren’t we including temperature checks as part of the screening?
Unlike Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the presence of a fever is not an early symptom in COVID-19.
Will screening create delays and ‘bottle necks’ at entrance points?
If you fill out the digital form and have a green tick, you will need to show it to the staff at the screening desk and you will be allowed straight in. For those filling out a paper form,
appropriate physical distancing must be maintained. Staff at entrance screening will have hand sanitiser and wipes for cleaning surfaces and equipment.
I have been denied entry into a health facility following screening. What happens now?
If you have been denied entry into a health facility (red cross appears on the digital screening tool) then you have indicated that you may have COVID-19 symptoms and/or you have (in the last 14 days) been to a high-risk COVID area (visit the COVID-19 website for the current list).
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, you should get tested and isolate at home until you get your result.
If you work at a health care facility (as a staff member, a contractor or volunteer) and you are feeling unwell please stay home rather than come to work. This is to protect our patients and your colleagues.
For more information on COVID-19, testing and symptoms, visit the ACT COVID-19 website.
I have an appointment at the hospital – can I proceed to the clinic if I have symptoms?
If you have not called ahead to the clinic before coming to the hospital, the screening staff will notify the clinic/appointment that you are attending that you are waiting at the front entrance and have presented with symptoms. Clinical staff from this area will need to come to the hospital entrance to determine if you can enter the facility.
How do I know the information is safely stored and remains confidential?
Your privacy is important to us. The screening tool and associated data will only be used for contract tracing, and de-identified data may be used for reporting purposes only.
All data collected by the screening tool will be stored as per ACT Health privacy laws.