CALHN’s response to the Parafield cluster

When news of a community COVID-19 case broke, CALHN quickly responded.

As we did in the first wave, we quickly re-established our Command Centre and Incident Management Team to regularly meet to monitor the evolving situation and prepare for actions we needed to take,” Dr Kathryn Zeitz, CALHN COVID-19 Commander, said.

“Protecting the health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and visitors is always our priority.”

The immediate focus was to decompress the Royal Adelaide Hospital, as the designated COVID-19 receiving hospital, to ensure resources were available should there be an increase in cases. We admitted 5 positive patients.

The network also actively worked to assess the outpatients and elective surgery position. Where possible, outpatient appointments were moved to telehealth. Non-essential elective surgeries were put on-hold across the state as part of the lockdown restrictions.

“We appreciate your understanding and support for our collective patients when surgeries and procedures need to be delayed,” Dr Zeitz said.

“We have been gradually recommencing of some elective surgery and are endeavouring to reschedule those impacted as soon as practical.”

CALHN’s COVID-19 clinics, like others across the metro area, were inundated with people wanting to be tested. In one day 17,000 swabs were taken, compared to an average of 3000-4000 a day before the Parafield cluster. We tested 3,441 at the RAH and TQEH and opened up a larger more sustainable clinic on the TQEH campus. Our SA Pathology service processed 109,304 COVID samples.

Visitors were limited on site and for a time were only able to attend on compassionate grounds only. We implemented a Virtual Visitor model that allowed patients to connected with family through iPads. As visitors have been allowed back, masks became mandatory, as is now the case for everyone on a healthcare site.

“Fortunately the situation is looking much more positive,” Dr Zeitz said.

“While we are continuing to work through rescheduling those patients impacted by the elective surgery pause, we are looking to slowdown some services as we head into the holiday period.

“Our goal always remains to deliver safe and appropriate care to our patients, while we support to the wider system.”

*Pictured are some of our nurses screening at the main entrance.