Coronavirus Update: Including Distribution of Surgical Masks to Primary Care Providers and Links to Reliable Information
Friday, January 31 2020
This page was updated: 4:00PM 13 February 2020
As many local Adelaide health professionals will be aware, there has been an outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originating in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in mainland China. COVID-19 is an evolving international health concern; the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency on the 30 January 2020.
As of 13 February 2020:
- Across Australia, there were 15 cases of confirmed COVID-19.
- Across South Australia, there were two (2) cases of confirmed COVID-19.
Distribution of masks to primary health care providers: general practices, pharmacies and Aboriginal health services in need across the Adelaide metropolitan region
In keeping with current management advice for health professionals providing initial care to those with suspected COVID-19, and in recognition that availability of masks has been impacted by recent bushfires, the Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) has been distributing surgical masks to primary health care providers with a demonstrated need via PHNs across Australia.
On 31 January, Adelaide PHN received a very limited delivery of Proshield Surgical Face Mask Soft for distribution to general practices in need across the Adelaide region.
On 12 February, the DoH indicated that an additional supply of surgical masks would be distributed to pharmacies and Aboriginal health clinics.
General practice mask distribution
- ALLOCATION OF MASKS
To comply with DoH requirements and ensure equitable access across our region, Adelaide PHN has allocated one (1) box of surgical masks (50 masks) to every general practice within the metropolitan region. Where available, additional boxes will be provided to practices who can demonstrate need. Demonstration of need, as indicated via the EOI, is to be determined by the confirmation the following criteria:
The general practice:
>> provides care to patient groups more likely to have been exposed to the COVID-19 and/or has an unusual number of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms
>> has no or low existing stock of masks and have no access to local stock
- USE OF SURGICAL MASKS IN GENERAL PRACTICE & ALTERNATIVE TESTING PATHWAYS
SA Health updated case definition and recommendations on 12 Feb. Infection control advice now indicates:
Surgical masks are suitable for use on general practice staff and patients during both:
>> examination of patients with suspected COVID-2019 AND
>> during collection of specimens where respiratory symptoms are absent or mild (note: patients must meet the suspected case definition)
P2/N95 mask are required to be worn by general practice staff when collecting specimens from patients with severe respiratory symptoms.
Where P2/N95 masks are unavailable at your practice, staff can discuss alternative testing options with CDCB medical officer (SA Pathology has established a domiciliary service OR a collection centre is available in Adelaide). Do not send patients to pathology collection centres. These need to be pre-approved by CDCB (ph:1300 232 272). Both alternative testing options are by appointment only; doctors must ring 8222 3000 to arrange this service.
DoH Factsheets to support you:
>> For providers: Information about the use of PPE during clinical care
>> For patients: Information on the use of surgical masks
- INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESSING YOUR GENERAL PRACTICE’S ALLOCATION OF MASKS
Adelaide metropolitan general practices seeking mask distribution should download and complete the attached ‘general practice EOI’ and return by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Adelaide PHN has received your completed EOI, your practice facilitator will contact you. Allocation and distribution of masks commenced from Monday 3 February 2020. Practices can opt to collect their allocated quota of masks from Adelaide PHN offices during business hours - please contact Adelaide PHN on 8219 5900.
Pharmacy and Aboriginal Health Services mask distribution
- ALLOCATION OF MASKS
To comply with DoH requirements and ensure equitable access across our region, Adelaide PHN will be allocating one (1) box of surgical masks (50 masks) to every pharmacy and Aboriginal Health Service within the metropolitan region. Where available, additional boxes will be provided to pharmacies/Aboriginal Health Services who can demonstrate need. Demonstration of need will be established via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form.
- USE OF SURGICAL MASKS IN PHARMACY
Surgical masks supplied via DoH are not for on-selling or general distribution to community members.
Surgical masks can be used as PPE for pharmacy staff and provided to community members if they confirm that they have been to the Hubei province of China (including the City of Wuhan) or have been in contact with person(s) with COVID-19. Pharmacists are advised to ask the community member to put on a single use surgical mask, go home immediately, and to call their GP to make an appointment. Community members should not go to their GP without calling ahead and advising of recent travel history or contact with people with COVID-19 infection. If the community member is very sick, they should be directed to a local hospital, making sure to call ahead so they can prepare for their arrival.
Resources to support you:
>> SA Health COVID-19 Pharmacy Advice
- USE OF SURGICAL MASKS IN ABORIGINAL HEALTH SERVICES
Where Aboriginal Health Service have a GP, please see the ‘Use of surgical masks in general practice' section of this update.
Where Aboriginal Health Services do not have a GP, please follow the 'Use of surgical masks in pharmacy' section of this update.
- INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESSING YOUR PHARMACY’S OR ABORIGINAL HEALTH SERVICE’S ALLOCATION OF MASKS
Adelaide metropolitan pharmacies and Aboriginal Health Services seeking mask distribution are asked to download and complete the attached ‘Pharmacy and Aboriginal Health Service Mask EOI’ and return by email to email@example.com
Upon receival of your EOI (and delivery of masks from DoH to our offices), Adelaide PHN will contact you to arrange collection and/or delivery of your surgical mask allocation.
Information regarding COVID-19 and the South Australian response can be found via the following reliable sources:
Australian Department of Health
- Department of Health’s Coronavirus Landing Page and At a Glance Summary
Includes links to latest updates, overarching information about coronavirus and the Australian response
- Department of Health’s Coronavirus Resource Page –
Including these key resources: Advice on the use of PPE when providing clinical care to suspected or confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV and Information Summaries for: Primary Health Care Workers, Emergency Departments, Paramedics and First Responders, Residential Care Workers
- Coronavirus Health Information Line - 1800 020 080
Community members can call this line if seeking information oabout coronavirus. The line operates Monday–Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Saturdays from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and Sundays from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
- SA Health's Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Infection Information for Health Professionals
Including current advice for medical professionals
- SA Health’s Public Health Alerts Page
- SA Health Resources for General Practice
Practice Reception Script and messages for practice website; Cover Your Cough poster in English or simplified Chinese; Coronavirus posters for practice exteriors
- SA Health’s General Information & Coronavirus Links Page
Links to coronavirus information, national and state resources and guidelines
- RACGP’s Coronavirus Page
Includes summaries of coronavirus health information, general practice advice and a patient alert poster for practices display on the outside of their premise
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
- PGA's Coronavirus Information Page and Mask Distribution Update
Information and resources for pharmacy about COVID-19 and information following the Cheif Medical Officer's announcement regarding mask distribution to pharmacy.
- Healthdirect's Coronavirus Information Page
Suitable resource for community members seeking information about coronavirus including symptoms, spread, rate of infection, diagnosis and treatment. A FAQ is regarding coronavirus is linked as is the symptom checker tool which has been updated to include information regarding coronavirus.
- Healthdirect Helpline - 1800 022 222
Community members can call this helpline to speak to a registered nurse who can provide advice when they're not sure what to do — whether they should see a local GP, manage the condition at home, or go to an emergency department. The healthdirect helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Adelaide PHN will continue to work with the Commonwealth Department of Health and SA Health to monitor the situation closely, relay relevant information to primary health care providers and provide support as required.
All media enquiries should be directed to Deb Lee, CEO Adelaide PHN - 8219 5900, firstname.lastname@example.org