• 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
  • There are continuing requirements for hospitals located in the local government areas of: Brisbane City, Gold Coast City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Region, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, Noosa Shire, Redland City, Scenic Rim Region, Somerset Region and Sunshine Coast region:
    • 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.

  • Border restrictions remain in place; please check the Queensland and New South Wales government websites for the latest information.
New South Wales
  • The NSW Government has suspended some non-urgent elective surgeries at certain private hospitals to help reduce the risk of community transmission and to free up our health care workers to support the state-wide pandemic response. From Monday 23 August, only urgent elective procedures (Category 1 and urgent Category 2) will be allowed to proceed at the following Ramsay hospitals:
    • Castlecrag Private Hospital
    • Hunters Hill Private Hospital
    • Kareena Private Hospital
    • North Shore Private Hospital
    • St George Private Hospital
    • Strathfield Private Hospital
    • Westmead Private Hospital

  • Anyone affected by this announcement is encouraged to seek medical attention if their condition changes to they can be reassessed and reprioritised as required. All urgent elective and emergency surgery will continue to be performed. Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate through these changes. We have comprehensive pandemic management plans in place at all our hospitals to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our patients and health care workers.
  • All patients will be screened for COVID-19 risks prior to their admission. If you have been identified as attending an exposure venue or a close contact, please contacting your treating doctor as soon as possible to discuss your options.
  • Patients must wear masks when outside their hospital rooms and when staff are in attendance in their room.
Victoria
  • The following restrictions are in place for Metropolitan Melbourne, City of Greater Geelong (includes Little River, excludes Point Lonsdale), Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire:
    • 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 are currently not allowed visitors. Exceptions to this rule apply 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.
    • Support persons for maternity patients are encouraged to stay at the facility for the duration of the visit and not leave to attend a retail outlet and return to the facility.
    • Approved visitors must wear masks at all times and sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.

  • Border restrictions remain in place; please check the NSW and Victorian government websites for the latest information.
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.
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 permitted to have two visitors per day. Exemptions apply for end-of-life situations 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
  • There are continuing requirements for hospitals located in the local government areas of: Brisbane City, Gold Coast City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Region, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, Noosa Shire, Redland City, Scenic Rim Region, Somerset Region and Sunshine Coast region:
    • Patients may have visitors according to the visiting hours at individual hospitals. All visitors over the age of 12 must wear a mask at all times while in the hospital.

  • For the remaining local government areas in Queensland, patients may have visitors according to the visiting hours at individual hospitals.
  • 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.
  • Border restrictions remain in place; please check the Queensland and New South Wales government websites for the latest information.
New South Wales
  • Patients may each have two fully-vaccinated visitors. Children under the age of 12 should not attend except on a case-by-case basis with approval of the hospital executive. Visitors who are unvaccinated, or have only one dose, will not be able to visit. Exceptions can be made on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis with approval of the hospital executive.
  • All permitted visitors must wear surgical masks and must sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.
  • Border restrictions remain in place; please check the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian government websites for the latest information.
Victoria
  • The following restrictions are in place for Metropolitan Melbourne, City of Greater Geelong (includes Little River, excludes Point Lonsdale), Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire:
    • Patients are currently not allowed visitors. Exceptions to this rule apply 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.
    • Support persons for maternity patients are encouraged to stay at the facility for the duration of the visit and not leave to attend a retail outlet and return to the facility.
    • Approved visitors must wear masks at all times and sign in via the QR code check-in app before entering the hospital.

  • Border restrictions remain in place; please check the NSW and Victorian government websites for the latest information.
South Australia
  • Patients are permitted to have two visitors per day. Exemptions apply for end-of-life situations 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.
  • No person should be visiting if they feel unwell.

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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