Five Western Australian nurses are headed to Melbourne to support Victoria in its COVID-19 response.
This initial group will join a small Western Australian forward command team that left Perth on Wednesday.
The Western Australian deployment is responding to Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services urgent request for healthcare workers.
Since the call went out last week, WA Health has received expressions of interest from dozens of nurses willing to travel to Victoria to help.
A register of interested nurses has been set up and additional staff are expected to be deployed in coming days and weeks. The register remains open for expressions of interest and we would encourage interested WA Health nurses to sign up.
The initial deployment of nurses will be focused on providing support to residential aged care facilities in Victoria which have been severely affected by COVID-19.
The safety of all staff remains a priority and all WA Health staff will be provided with all necessary support on the ground in Victoria, including regular wellbeing checks.
WA’s low numbers of COVID-19 patients and lack of community transmission has made it possible for the State to provide additional support to Victoria, without compromising WA’s preparedness.
As well as providing vital on the ground assistance, the deployment will provide unique learning opportunities for local healthcare workers – further strengthening WA’s ability to respond to a local outbreak.
All staff will be required to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks on their return to Perth.
The deployment of staff to Victoria is a cross agency effort supported by both the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Australian Defence Force. Both agencies have provided forward planning support, with staff travelling to Victoria on Wednesday as part of the initial deployment.
WA Health has been providing assistance to the Victorian COVID-19 response for a number of weeks. This has included remote contact tracing through the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre as well as supporting the deployment of an Australian Medical Assistance Team in early August.
WA’s former Chief Health Officer, Dr Tarun Weeramanthri, was also seconded to Victoria for two months to provide specialist advice to the State’s public health response.