NSLHD News January 31 2022

Chief Executive Deb Willcox with Virtual Hospital staff Deborah Cage and Julie Aspinall

virtual hospital caring for community Weeks before patients with COVID-19 began to fill hospital beds, Northern Sydney Local Health District’s

Acting general manager Jessica Drysdale (who has since taken up a new role) said every day the team of nurses and doctors were making up to 200 welfare calls to patients who were managing COVID-19 in their homes. “We have over 40,000 active cases in the local health district. Some are moderate to severe cases, others are low risk and able to self- manage at home,” she said. The sheer number of patients it now cares for was unimaginable last year, but the staff at the hospital have been able to scale up their operations and find new

ways to care for the rise. Jessica said an external company assists with some of the welfare checks and a new ambulance pathway has been established, helping people to stay at home rather than come via ambulance to emergency department, if they don’t need to. “The staff have had to adjust to so many changes. Some of those changes have happened at short notice and over New Year’s Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day,” she said. “We are really praying we are at the peak and it will taper off.”

Virtual Hospital was caring for hundreds of people in the community as the Omicron outbreak took hold. Rapidly, the team had thousands of patients under its care, some with severe illness while others were able to self-manage at home. The rise in cases came at a time when the already exhausted team was looking forward to a break, like many healthcare workers, who had been at the forefront of the Delta outbreak last year.

covid-19 vaccination program kicks off for young kids Children as young as five are rolling up their sleeves and putting on a brave face to get vaccinated against their children to be protected when they start school. Eight-year-old Eva (pictured on the front cover) bravely

Brown said staff worked over the Christmas and holiday season to keep up with the

vaccination program. “The five to 11 year old

coronavirus at Hornsby. About 130 children a day are coming to the Hornsby Vaccination Centre to get the jab to help protect them against serious illness from COVID-19. The centre started vaccinating children aged between five and 11 years old on January 10, and has seen bookings fill into the middle of February with demand high from parents wanting

had her vaccination and while it hurt a little, she encouraged her friends not to be scared. “It hurt a little… like a pinch,” she said. Nurses have been handing out stickers and lollipops to the children who have joined their older siblings and parents being vaccinated against the virus. Nurse Unit Manager Alison

bookings opened on the 10th (Jan) and we have been fully booked since,” she said. “Some of the nurses haven’t worked with (vaccinating) kids before but they are really enjoying it.” To book your child in for a vaccination or to book your booster, visit https://covid- vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/ booking/



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