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COVID-19: Latest news for general practices

This page is continually being added to and updated. We encourage health professionals to also view COVID-19 for Health Professionals.

COVID-19 Statistics for our region

25 November Update

COVID-19 in Our Region

Local COVID-19 cases in the Nepean Blue Mountains region (as at 8pm 21 Nov)Cases: 157

  • Blue Mountains: Cases 29
  • Hawkesbury: Cases 12
  • Lithgow: Cases 3
  • Penrith: Cases 114

Restrictions for fully vaccinated people have changed, check the NSW Government site for guidanceVaccination rates by suburb are also available.  

TGA-Approved Rapid Antigen Testing

The TGA has a list available on its website of the approved rapid antigen tests available in Australia. The TGA have included a clinical sensitivity rating as well as supplier and manufacturer information.

EOI: Funded COVID-19 Home Visits and After Hours Services

We are looking for clinical service providers who are willing to undertake funded home visits and after hours service to mild-to moderate COVID-19 positive patients when their own GP does not have capacity, or the patient does not have a managing GP. Please note not every patient will require a home visit. Eligible service providers include, but are not limited to: general practices, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and medical deputising services. If your service is interested in managing these patients complete the EOI form on our website by 5pm Wednesday 24 November 2021.

COVID Patients in the Community EOI

GPs will play a critical role in ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively managed in the community. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, facilitated through PHNs, for practices willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community. If you are interested in providing care to patients with mild-moderate COVID symptoms, or would like more information, complete the EOI form on our website.

22 November Update

EOI: Funded COVID-19 Home Visits and After Hours Services

We are looking for clinical service providers who are willing to undertake funded home visits and after hours service to mild-to moderate COVID-19 positive patients when their own GP does not have capacity, or the patient does not have a managing GP. Please note not every patient will require a home visit. Eligible service providers include, but are not limited to: general practices, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and medical deputising services. If your service is interested in managing these patients complete the EOI form on our website by 5pm Wednesday 24 November 2021.

COVID Patients in the Community EOI

GPs will play a critical role in ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively managed in the community. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, facilitated through PHNs, for practices willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community. If you are interested in providing care to patients with mild-moderate COVID symptoms, or would like more information, complete the EOI form on our website.

HealthPathways Update

The Myocarditis and Pericarditis After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Pathway has been updated with additional assessment guidelines for assessing children and adolescents with symptoms. The Key Links tab has been updated with mRNA Chest Pain Guideline for this age group. 

RACGP Home-Care Guidelines 

The RACGP has released COVID-19 Home-care Guidelines for GPs which contains information for GPs providing home-based care for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who are not deemed to be high risk for severe disease or hospitalisation. There is also a guide available for patients who are managing COVID-19 at home with the assistance of their GP. 

No-Referral Mental Health Support

The easing of restrictions is exciting for some, but for others, navigating a new normal could be causing some anxiety or worry.  Head to Health Pop Up is a free, no referral needed, service developed to provide immediate support for individuals. Patients can call 1800 595 212, Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm and a trained mental health professional will discuss their needs and refer them to appropriate local services for further treatment. More information, including posters and a patient flyer, is available on our website.

Latest Vaccination Resources

The Department of Health has recently updated these resources for health professionals and their patients regarding vaccination:

Deputy CMO Primary Care Update

On Thursday 25 November at 11:30am a response update for GPs will be held by Professor Michael Kidd for GPs which will focus on the Australian Government’s Living with COVID initiatives and the implications for primary care. Professor Kidd will be joined by Dr Lucas de Toca and Simon Cotterell from the Department of Health.

18 November Update

Vaccination Roll-Out Update

Almost all LGA's in our region have surpassed the 95% first dose vaccination rate. As of 14 November the fully vaccinated population rates are:

  • Blue Mountains: 94.7% (over 95% first dose)
  • Hawkesbury: 94.1% (over 95% first dose)
  • Lithgow: 88.8% (91.8% first dose)
  • Penrith: 93.1% (over 95% first dose)

From 22 November 23 general practices in our region will be delivering Moderna vaccinations.

Pfizer vaccinations are now available at some community pharmacies in our region.

EOI: Funded COVID-19 Home Visits and After Hours Services

We are looking for clinical service providers who are willing to undertake funded home visits and after hours to mild-to moderate COVID-19 positive patients when their own GP does not have capacity, or the patient does not have a managing GP. Please note not every patient will require a home visit. Eligible service providers include, but are not limited to: general practices, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and medical deputising services.

If your service is interested in managing these patients complete the EOI form on our website by 5pm Wednesday 24 November 2021.

COVID Patients in the Community EOI

GPs will play a critical role in ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively managed in the community. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, facilitated through PHNs, for practices willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community. If you are interested in providing care to patients with mild-moderate COVID symptoms, or would like more information, complete the EOI form on our website.

Webinar: COVID-19 in the Community

On Tuesday 23 November at 6:30pm North West Melbourne PHN will be hosting a webinar about managing COVID-19 in the community presented by two local GPs who will share their experiences and management of common presentations by COVID-19 positive patients. Registration is available online.

No-Referral Mental Health Support 

Do you have patients whose mental health has been affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak who would benefit from additional mental health support? Head to Health Pop Up is a free, no referral needed, service developed to provide immediate support for individuals. Patients can call 1800 595 212, Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm and a trained mental health professional will discuss their needs and refer them to appropriate local services for further treatment. More information, including posters and a patient flyer, is available on our website.

15 November Update

EOI: Funded COVID-19 Home Visits and After Hours Services

We are looking for clinical service providers who are willing to undertake funded home visits and after hours to mild-to moderate COVID-19 positive patients when their own GP does not have capacity, or the patient does not have a managing GP. Please note not every patient will require a home visit. Eligible service providers include, but are not limited to: general practices, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and medical deputising services.

If your service is interested in managing these patients complete the EOI form on our website by 5pm Wednesday 24 November 2021.

COVID Patients in the Community EOI

GPs will play a critical role in ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively managed in the community. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, facilitated through PHNs, for practices willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community. If you are interested in providing care to patients with mild-moderate COVID symptoms, or would like more information, complete the EOI form on our website.

Vaccination Home Visit Program

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available in the home for patients who are unable to visit a vaccination hub, GP or pharmacist. We have a list of participating GPs available on our website which is updated as more practices enter the program. 

Booster and Third Dose Vaccinations

Patients aged 12 years and older who are severely immunocompromised are eligible for their third vaccine dose two to six months after their second dose. Booster vaccinations are available to patients aged 18 years and older who received their second vaccination dose more than six months ago. ATAGI recommended priority booster vaccination for  patients with risk factors for severe COVID-19 and those at increased occupational risk of COVID-19. ATAGI has provided guidance on both third dose and booster vaccinations.

Latest Resources for Healthcare Workers

The Department of Health has recently updated these resources for health professionals:

Latest Resources for Patients

The Department of Health has updated vaccination resources for patients:

11 November Update

COVID Patients in the Community EOI

GPs will play a critical role in ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively managed in the community. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, facilitated through PHNs, for practices willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community. If you are interested in providing care to patients with mild-moderate COVID symptoms, or would like more information, complete the EOI form on our website.

Updating Overseas Vaccinations on AIR

HealthPathways has updated the COVID-19 Vaccination Procedure Pathway to include the latest information on reporting overseas administered COVID-19 vaccines to the AIR. The COVID-19 vaccines which are recognised by the TGA, and the procedure for verifying patient details, are available on the Procedure Pathway under the heading Post Vaccination Issues> Report overseas-administered COVID-19 vaccinations to the AIR. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption

A reminder that COVID-19 vaccination exemptions may only be granted if they meet the criteria outlined by ATAGI in their guidelines. There are penalties involved for exemptions that do not meet this criteria. The exemption form is available online and provides further details. It should also be noted that ATAGI recommends that these exemptions should be granted for a maximum for six months after which point it should be reviewed. 

8 November Update

As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and restrictions are eased, we expect there will be more but milder COVID-19 cases in the community. Hospital care for these cases may not be appropriate. The Australian Government is providing a number of supports, including several being coordinated through Primary Health Networks. If your practice is interested in managing these patients, please complete the online EOI Form on our website.

Please note at this stage you are expressing interest and not being committed to participate. Further information will be provided.

1 November Update

Commonwealth Support for Primary Care 

On Friday 29 October the Commonwealth Government announced funding to support the management of mild – moderate COVID-19 positive people in the community. This includes the development of localised HealthPathways for the management of people with COVID-19 in the community supported by the enhancement of healthdirect, additional MBS items for GPs, and the commissioning of primary care services to deliver home-visits. We have commenced work on the development of localised HealthPathways with the Local Health District and will communicate progress as this work continues.  

ATAGI Clinical Guidelines Update

ATAGI has updated the Clinical Guidelines document (29 Oct) to include the most recent guidance on booster vaccination recommendations, and third dose vaccinations for immunocompromised patients.

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