Update to Visitor Restrictions – 29 September 2020

As a result of new directions issued on 27 September 2020 by the Chief Health Officer Victoria  in accordance with emergency powers arising from the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) and declared State of Emergency in Victoria which has now been extended to 11:59pm on 11 October 2020, there is an update to visitor restrictions at GV Health.
The key message to note is that due to COVID-19, all non-essential visits to Goulburn Valley Health are not permitted.

These restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and your loved ones.  GV Health appreciates they may cause anxiety and challenges in some circumstances and we apologise in advance should this be the case.

Other directions as previously provided related to the wearing of face masks by staff, visitors and patients/residents/clients/consumers still apply.

Restrictions to Visitors at GV Health 
A person must not enter, or remain at a GV Health facility unless they are a: 

  • Patient 
  • Worker/staff member
  • Visitor subject to conditions below

Prohibition on Entry

Workers/staff members, disability workers or visitors are prohibited from entering a GV Health hospital, building and/or care facility if: 

  • The person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not yet, or taken to have been given clearance from self-isolation under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions; or 
  • During the 14 days immediately preceding the requested entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or 
  • During the 14 days immediately preceding the requested entry, the person had known contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or 
  • The person has had known contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is required to self-quarantine under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions;
  • The person has a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection;
  • The person is aged under 16 years, other than circumstances where the child’s presence is for end-of life-care and support or that the person is a child, grandchild or sibling of a patient in the hospital.
  • In the case of a visitor the person has been tested for COVID-19 and has not yet received the results of that test.

Restrictions on Visiting Hospital and Care Facilities

Visiting hours are from 2:00pm to 7:00pm

  • There are new restrictions on visiting which must be adhered to and are different from previous directions. These restrictions place new time limits and outline the number of people who can visit patients in GV Health facilities each 24-hour period beginning at midnight as detailed below:
  • Children in hospital may have their parent(s)/carer(s)/guardian(s) with a maximum of two people who meet these definitions at any one time with no time limit.
  • Patients over the age of 18 may have one visitor for a maximum of two hours as long as the person’s presence at the hospital is for emotional, spiritual, cultural and social support that cannot be provided by non-contact means.
  • Patients may receive visitors for the purposes of providing essential care to support the patient’s immediate wellbeing that optimises the care and support delivered by the hospital, this is restricted to one visitor at any one time for as short a duration as possible.
  • Patients requiring interpreter support are limited to one visitor at any one time to support them with this function for as short a duration as possible.
  • Pregnant patients in the maternity ward in labour may have one visitor at any one time this being the patient’s partner or support person only and this person may stay as long as required on the day of the birth.
  • Patients in the maternity ward are restricted to one visitor per day for a maximum duration of two hours this being the patient’s partner or support person only.
  • Patients attending the emergency department are allowed to be accompanied by one person for a maximum of two hours. Where the patient is under 18 years, they may have up to two parents, carers or guardians accompany the patient in the emergency department with no time limit.
  • Patients attending outpatient appointments are allowed to be accompanied by one person for as short a duration as possible.
  • Patients who require end-of life-support may have two visitors at any one time.
  • Patients whose medical condition is life threatening may have two visitors at any one time as long as they are an immediate family member of the patient.
  • Mental Health clients/consumers may have a nominated person visit them but are restricted to one visitor at any one time for a maximum duration of two hours.
  • For patients who are being discharged that require further care, a care and support person may visit with the objective of learning support techniques with the restriction of one visitor, for a maximum of two hours.

As outlined above, except in situations such as end of life care or life-threatening situations patients are generally allowed no more than one visitor at any one time.

Exemptions to Prohibition on Entry
Exemptions are in place which allows GV Health to determine circumstances in which certain visitors who would normally be classed as “excluded persons” can enter the hospital if the following definition(s) applies to a person: 

  • During the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or 
  • During the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or 
  • Note: a person who has had known contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 may also be required to self-quarantine under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions.   
  • In the case of a visitor—the person has been tested for COVID-19, and has not yet received the result of that test.

An exemption(s) will only be granted for parent/carers, pregnancy related visits, end of life care and life threatening situations.  These will be authorised during business hours by the Executive Director of Medical Services & Chief Medical Officer or the Executive Director Clinical Operations, and after hours by the Executive On Call through the After Hours Manager at Graham Street Shepparton.

If a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and has not yet been given, or taken to have been given clearance from self-isolation under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions they may be granted an exemption to visit the hospital, but, only if this is authorised by the Victorian Chief Health Officer or the Deputy Chief Health Officer.  This will only be granted in such cases where it is for the purpose of breastfeeding, end of life care and life threatening situations.

A person permitted to enter or remain at a hospital under these conditions must comply with any direction in relation to their visit given to them by a GV Health staff member and the Victorian Chief Health Officer or the Deputy Chief Health Officer as required.

Records will be kept for at least 28 days from the day the exemption is given in relation to each person to whom authorisation is given under this exemption, this includes the contact details of the person, the date and time at which that person entered and left the GV Health facility.

Residential Aged Care Visitors
In addition to the restrictions above in the section Restricitions on Visiting Hospital and Care Facilities which still apply, there are further restrictions in GV Health’s aged care facilities of Grutzner House, Waranga Health and Parkvilla Aged Care Facility at Tatura as summarised below: 

  • Persons under the age of 16 years are not able to visit other than for the purpose of end-of-life support for a resident of the facility or if they are the child, grandchild or sibling of the resident. 
  • A prospective resident of the facility is permitted to visit subject to meeting the requirements detailed in this memorandum. 
  • As per the hospital restrictions above, time limits and visitor restrictions are as described above.

    Please note that the exemptions outlined in the Exemptions to Prohibition on Entry section above do not pertain to aged care facilities.  That is, there are no exemptions permitted.

Temperature Checking
All visitors and staff entering any GV Health building must have their temperature taken before entering.  If a visitor or staff member’s temperature is higher than 37.5 degrees or showing symptoms of acute respiratory infection visitors or staff members will not be permitted to enter a GV Health facility.

All persons entering will also be asked screening questions related to recent overseas travel and if they have been in contact with a person that has been diagnosed with COVID-19.  All staff are required to certify through the QR Code process an attestation on arrival to a GV Health facility.

Strict Visiting Hours are now in place as detailed below
Please note that visitor times are still 2:00pm – 7:00pm.

These restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of GV Health patients, staff and your loved ones.
Thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding.

Further details are available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/state-emergency.