• About novel
    coronavirus
    (COVID-19)

Important information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information on this page


Overview

We are closely monitoring and proactively responding to the developments in Australia associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), in conjunction with both the Australian Government authorities and local public health units.

We are completely committed to providing our customers with high quality, effective services and treatment in a safe and comfortable environment. We have implemented strict infection control and prevention protocols to protect our patients, health care workers and visitors to minimise the risk of any infection, including COVID-19.Please watch this short video which explains some of the changes you may notice when you visit one of our hospitals, clinics, pharmacies or day surgeries, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Please watch this short video which explains some of the changes you may notice when you visit one of our hospitals, clinics, pharmacies or day surgeries, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Transcript:

When you visit one of our hospitals, pharmacies, day surgeries, or clinics, your safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.

The impacts of COVID-19 in Australia have challenged us all to think and act differently, so we’d like to let you know about a few changes we’ve made to protect you, your visitors, and us.

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive are some changes to our entry points. We’ll ask you a series of screening questions, and in some cases take your temperature, to identify anybody who’s at potential risk of having COVID-19.

We recommend you arrive a little earlier than planned in case there is a short queue during this process. This is a really important strategy to help keep you safe, so we thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Once you’re inside, please keep an eye out for additional signage on display which contains important information for our patients and visitors.

During your time here, we ask you to practise good hand hygiene by using the hand gel provided and cough and sneeze etiquette by using your elbow, as well as social distancing – also referred to as physical distancing.

Leaving a space of 1.5 metres between one another is a really important way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You’ll see signs to indicate where you should stand if you’re in a queue, and you may notice some chairs are marked to indicate which ones you can sit on.

To avoid large groups of people gathering together, we’re staggering admission times for patients and temporarily reducing the number of visitors.

Wherever possible, we encourage you to consider keeping in touch with your loved ones via digital devices such as your phone, rather than arranging a face-to-face visit.

We’re constantly monitoring our supplies of personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves, as part of our strict infection control and prevention protocols.

And we’ve also increased our cleaning of high-touch areas, such as door handles, lift buttons and benchtops.

Our focus has been – and will always be – on people caring for people; it’s at the centre of everything we do.

Thank you for making us a part of your health care journey as we continue to navigate through this time together.


Information for patients

If you have travelled to an identified COVID-19 exposure site, please contact the hospital or your doctor before your scheduled appointment or surgery. Please visit the relevant state government website to view the latest list of exposure sites:

If you have been identified as a known or close contact of a confirmed case or you are unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms and are scheduled for a procedure, please contact your doctor before attending the hospital.

If you have any questions about your upcoming procedure or treatment, please contact your doctor or relevant hospital.

Queensland
  • From 6am on Friday, 23 July:
    • Patients should wear masks, if tolerated, when outside their hospital rooms. Patients should also wear masks when staff are in attendance in their room. Patients under the age of 12 years are not required to wear a mask.
    • Patients may have visitors according to the visiting hours at individual hospitals. All visitors must wear a mask at all times while in the hospital.
    • From 1am on Friday, 23 July: A NSW border zone will come into effect. Queensland residents and NSW border zone residents can only cross the border for a limited range of permitted purposes, which includes access to medical care, health care or to get medical supplies if they would normally cross the border to do so.
New South Wales
  • Increased restrictions remain in place for Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas. Increased restrictions also apply to Orange, Blayney and the Cabonne Shire Council in the Central West region. This means:
    • Patients must wear masks when outside their hospital rooms.
    • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors. Exemptions may be granted for end of life visits, a support partner for birth, parents/guardians of children, a carer of a patient with a disability, and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the hospital executive.
    • All patients must undergo routine pre-admission screening for infectious diseases status. During the admission process, all patients must be temperature checked and COVID-19 screened.
  • For hospitals outside Greater Sydney:
    • Patients must wear masks when outside their hospital rooms.
    • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors who have been in a red zone. Exemptions may be granted for end of life visits, a support partner for birth, parents/guardians of children, a carer of a patient with a disability, and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the hospital executive.
    • All patients must undergo routine pre-admission screening for infectious diseases status. During the admission process, all patients must be temperature checked and COVID-19 screened.
  • From 1am on Friday, 23 July:
    • A NSW border zone will come into effect. Queensland residents and NSW border zone residents can only cross the border for a limited range of permitted purposes, which includes access to medical care, health care or to get medical supplies if they would normally cross the border to do so.

Victoria
  • Where tolerated, patients should wear a level one surgical mask when outside their room and when staff are in the patient’s room.
  • Face masks must be worn indoors for anyone aged 12 years and over.
  • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors. Exemptions apply for end-of-life visitors (maximum of two visitors at a time), a support partner for birth, parents/guardians of children, a carer of a patient with a disability, and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the hospital executive.
Western Australia
  • Visitors are required to register their visit via the SafeWA app/QR code or manual registers.
  • Please maintain hand hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
  • No person should be visiting if they feel unwell.
South Australia
  • All patients will be screened for COVID risks prior to admission
  • Where tolerated, patients should wear a surgical mask when outside their room.
  • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors. Exemptions apply for a carer of a patient with a disability and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the facility executive.

 

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Information for visitors

The requirement for social distancing, as well as local legislation implemented by each state government, means we have had to temporarily change our visitor policies. We are asking for your understanding that you consider not visiting our site unless you are an immediate family member or carer of the patient. Please do not visit the hospital if you are unwell. To aid record keeping for contact tracing, you may be required to scan a QR code on arrival. Thank you for your support as we work through this time together. The following table outlines the current information for visitors in each state:

Queensland
  • From 6am on Friday, 23 July:
    • Patients may have visitors according to the visiting hours at individual hospitals.
    • Visitors must wear masks at all times and sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.
    • Anyone who has COVID symptoms, is a close contact of a confirmed case, or has been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days cannot enter a Queensland hospital, even if they have received a negative COVID-19 test. Exemptions may be granted for end of life visits.
  • From 1am on Friday, 23 July:

A NSW border zone will come into effect. Queensland residents and NSW border zone residents can only cross the border for a limited range of permitted purposes, which includes providing assistance, care or support to a family member.

New South Wales
  • Increased restrictions remain in place for Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas. Increased restrictions also apply to Orange, Blayney and the Cabonne Shire Council in the Central West region.
  • Visitors must not enter any NSW hospital if they live or work in an identified COVID-19 hot spot or if they have been in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas in the past 14 days. Exemptions may be granted for:
    • end of life visits
    • a support partner for birth (we encourage support persons for maternity patients to stay in the hospital for the duration of the visit, rather than leaving to attend a retail outlet and returning)
    • parents/guardians of children
    • a carer of a patient with a disability
    • other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the hospital executive.
  • All permitted visitors (see above exemption criteria) must wear masks when attending hospitals
  • Visitors must sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.
  • From 1am on Friday, 23 July:
    • NSW border zone will come into effect. Queensland residents and NSW border zone residents can only cross the border for a limited range of permitted purposes, which includes access to medical care, health care or to get medical supplies if they would normally cross the border to do so.
Victoria
  • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors. Exemptions apply for end-of-life visitors (maximum of two visitors at a time), a support partner for birth, parents/guardians of children, a carer of a patient with a disability, and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the hospital executive. All permitted visitors must wear masks at all times and sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.
  • You must not enter any hospital if you are waiting on a COVID-19 test result, if you are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, if you have had known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or are self-isolating and have not yet been given clearance to exit.
South Australia
  • Patients are currently not permitted to have visitors. Exemptions apply for a carer of a patient with a disability and other scenarios on a case-by-case basis with approval from the facility executive.
  • Approved visitors (see above criteria) must wear masks. Children under the age of 12 are not required to wear masks.
Western Australia
  • Visitors are required to register their visit via the SafeWA app/QR code or manual registers.

Screening process for visitors

Screening requirements vary across Australia depending on the level of community transmission of COVID-19 in each particular area. Ramsay hospitals have introduced a smartphone tool to streamline the COVID-19 screening process for visitors, patients and health care workers. This system is designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, minimise disruptions, and facilitate contact tracing should it be required. This system is separate to the state governments’ QR code check-in apps, which only collect the contact details and date and time an individual attends a venue, while the Ramsay QR code check-in app allows us to gather the additional information required by the health departments for individuals entering a hospital. Anyone entering is asked to answer important risk screening questions to confirm that they don’t have any symptoms of COVID, have not been in close contact with a confirmed case, and have not attended an identified exposure site.

The COVID-19 screening tool involves scanning a unique QR code – using the camera function on their smart phone – before entering the facility. If you do not own a smart phone, a staff member will be able to assist you with the screening process manually.

Visitors are asked a series of questions before entering the hospital. They will not be able to visit if they:

  • Are unwell with any cold or flu like symptoms, even a runny nose.
  • Have travelled to an identified hotspot, or returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
  • Have been identified as close personal contact with a confirmed case.
  • Have been in close contact with a suspected case.
  • Have not been cleared following a positive COVID-19 test.

Each Ramsay facility has its own unique QR scan code and patient and visitor data will be stored safely and securely. The QR code will be displayed on signage outside the entry points of all Ramsay facilities.

We also encourage visitors to download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app, which is designed to provide early notification of possible exposure.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps.
  • Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

It is important to practise social distancing to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Important tips include:

  • You should aim to remain 1.5 metres apart at all times. If you are required to move closer than 1.5 metres, ensure that the time does not exceed 15 minutes
  • Do not shake hands
  • Do not share food
Visitor Information: Social Distancing

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Food Delivery Services

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we request that patients and their visitors do not use food delivery services – such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats – while at our hospitals. During the pandemic, it is important that we restrict non-essential individuals from entering our hospitals and these deliveries can sometimes cause logistical issues for our nurses and other staff on duty. Our food services teams are very experienced in catering to the dietary requirements of our patients based on their individual circumstances.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Program

The safety of our patients, staff, doctors and broader community remain our number one priority during the pandemic. An effective vaccination program will significantly reduce the seriousness of illness if COVID-19 is contracted, and early studies demonstrate it may also reduce transmission of the virus.

Ramsay Health Care has been working with the federal and state governments regarding the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in Australia. Ramsay Health Care strongly encourages its staff and doctors to get immunised when the vaccine becomes available to them throughout 2021. A safe and effective vaccine will dramatically improve health outcomes and societal wellbeing and facilitate economic recovery.

Our pharmacies are also proud to support the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia and have responded to the Australian Government’s request for assistance in administering the vaccines. Ramsay Pharmacy has extensive experience in this field. In 2020 alone, our pharmacists administered almost 17,000 doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine across Australia.

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FAQs

Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus first seen in Hubei Province, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and there has been a significant increase in new cases across many countries in Europe and around the world. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.

Symptoms include fever OR an acute respiratory infection and include (but are not limited to) cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath with or without a fever.

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person by:

  • Direct close contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables or face masks) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Most infections are transmitted by people when they have symptoms. There is now some evidence that people could be contagious before showing symptoms.

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • If you are asked to wear a surgical face mask, after putting it on to cover your nose and mouth, do not touch the front of the mask and remove it using the ear loops or head straps.
  • Dispose of the used mask into a waste bin and perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.
How can i help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Yes, visiting your doctor is considered an essential indoor gathering under current guidelines. That means you must adhere to social distancing measures by keeping a distance of 1.5m between yourself and other people and good hygiene practices including using hand sanitiser before and after your visit with your doctor.

People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home. There is no need to wear masks in the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care. Some people will require hospitalisation.

Wearing a face mask or covering provides an additional physical barrier and helps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 community transmission. Face masks or coverings have been recommended around the world for use by the community to reduce transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Your best protection is still to keep 1.5m apart from other people, to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Face masks or coverings are helpful in containing droplets when people cough, reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus. Visitors and patients will be required to wear masks where there is evidence of community transmission of COVID-19; advice will be provided by the facility.

Health care workers are required to wear masks when at work and especially when 1.5m distance cannot be maintained in our health care facilities to help reduce the risk of transmission.

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au.

Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.

Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Agency monitoring you.

Contact your state or territory public health agency:

  • ACT call 02 5124 9213
  • NSW call 1300 066 055
  • NT call 08 8922 8044
  • QLD call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
  • SA call 1300 232 272
  • TAS call 1800 671 738
  • VIC call 1300 651 160
  • WA visit www.healthywa.wa.gov.au or call your local public health unit

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