COVID-19 preparedness in country LHNs 

18 November 2021

Given the imminent opening of the borders next Tuesday, ANMF (SA Branch) Officers this week met with executive managers from across the country Local Health Networks to discuss the planning, preparedness and coordination for COVID-19. Information shared with us was to the effect that:

Furloughing of staff is to be in line with the National Guidelines. 

People who test positive in the community will be managed in line with existing protocols in South Australia, for example, directed to either home quarantine, medi-hotel or hospital depending on the need and risk.

Where members have identified questions regarding the care and treatment of people presenting with/the potential risk of COVID infections and the site practice is unclear, ANMF (SA Branch) officers have been asked to contact the LHN or site EDON/DON for resolution.

Country LHNs expect the rate of home quarantine to be lower than 85%. So as long as the individual doesn’t need a hospital, they can be directed to one of four community-based locations: Pt Augusta, Mt Gambier, Berri and Port Lincoln.

If someone needs a hospital, they will be directed to one of 10 dedicated COVID-receiving hospitals in the first instance: Ceduna, Pt Lincoln, Whyalla, Pt Augusta, Pt Pirie, Wallaroo, Berri, Mt Gambier, Coober Pedy and Kangaroo Island. They will be assessed, stabilised and then transferred to Adelaide.

All country LHNs are planning for outbreaks and staff redeployment may be considered if necessary. A number of LHNs are already seeking expressions of interest from staff who are able to volunteer to relocate to other sites experiencing local outbreaks or who are unable to manage the workloads.

Alternative workforce arrangements are being investigated to undertake COVID testing (e.g., AINs, students and Allied Health), which would release more qualified and experienced staff to work in areas of higher clinical need.
There are six Respiratory Clinics in the country which form part of South Australia’s COVID management: Kadina, Pt Augusta, Clare, Angaston, Murray Bridge and Naracoorte. A map will be produced showing these locations, as well as identifying which hospitals have what services.

COVID care centres will be established, potentially including a mobile service, for low-level treatment.

There is a single contact person for all patient transfers from the country into Adelaide metropolitan hospitals, and the Metropolitan Peri-Urban Coordination Centre, which is managed by the Barossa Hills Fleurieu LHN, will be the control for all patient transfers from Adelaide metropolitan hospitals into the country.

A more detailed plan for country LHNs is expected to be shared with us at a meeting scheduled for Thursday 25 November 2021. We will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.