NSLHD News April 23 COVID-19 edition

Reminder to get your flu jab While COVID-19 occupies the mind of many of us, everyone is being reminded to get their flu vaccination as soon as possible. Members of the general public can get their flu jab at their GP and participating pharmacies. People in a number of categories are eligible for free vaccination, including: • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over • All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and medically at risk people) • All individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, namely: • Cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure • Chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma • Other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies • Chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders • Impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use • Children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy • Pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy) • People aged 65 years and over (a vaccine that is specifically designed to

NUM Laura Brain and her team

produce a higher immune response is available for this group) Each year the strains of the influenza virus which are predicted to affect Australians are reviewed and the available vaccines may be changed according to the strains. While the general public campaign is ramping up, Staff health has already vaccinated more than 6000 NSLHD staff. Nursing Unit Manager Laura Brain said it was important to flatten the curve for Influenza as well as COVID-19. “Every flu season, there are different flu viruses circulating, so it’s important to be vaccinated and have protection against as many strains as possible,” she said. “We are really pleased to see so many staff protect themselves by getting vaccinated, especially those working in areas with patients who are more at risk.” Flu vaccination is mandatory for staff working in cancer services, neonatal and maternity services, transplant services and ICU, but all other staff are also encouraged to get vaccinated. For staff, getting a flu vaccine is easy with the online FluPortal on the intranet.

covid-19 recovery ward under construction at RNS A COVID-19 recovery ward is one of a number of changes being made at Royal North Shore Hospital to prepare for the anticipated increase in COVID-19 positive patients requiring respiratory

support over the coming weeks and months. The Royal North Shore Hospital COVID-19 recovery ward will have more than 40 beds to cater to patients recovering from COVID-19 and require ongoing care before they are able to return home. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said the new ward, which will sit across two levels of the Douglas Building, will greatly support the hospital’s response to COVID-19. “The COVID-19 recovery ward will be for those patients who don’t need to be in the ICU, freeing

The COVID-19 recovery ward is under construction

up those beds for critically ill patients,” she said. “It means as soon as COVID-19 positive patients are stable they can be safely discharged to the recovery ward to fully recuperate before going home.”



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