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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

24 May Update

Recording of Previous COVID-19 Infections

As we continue to see a significant presence of mild COVID-19 in the community, it is likely that not all patients will notify their GP if they become infected with COVID-19. GPs should consider asking patients if they have had a previous COVID-19 infection as part of their standard consultation process, and then recording any positive result on the patient's file. Recording a previous infection could be important for future medical diagnoses and vaccination timing.

Deputy CMO Primary Care Update

On Thursday 26 May at 11:30am a response update for GPs will be held by Professor Michael Kidd for GPs regarding the latest information on COVID-19. Professor Kidd will be joined by Dr Lucas de Toca and Professor Nigel Crawford from ATAGI.

Recently Updated Resources

16 May Update

Nepean Blue Mountains Winter Strategy

Our Winter Strategy for 2022 has a three pronged approach which includes:

  • Our Winter Strategy QI Collaborative Program General Practice Winter Strategy QI Program, which supports general practice in improving the management of patients by implementing important preventative care measures to minimise their risk of hospitalisation.
  • Our RACF Immunisation Winter Strategy which focuses on immunisation capability and uptake for local Residential Aged Care Facilities.
  • Our communications strategy which incorporates the 'Be your own Health Hero' community campaign, and the refocusing of this newsletter for health professionals to include information relevant for managing other areas of concern this winter and the latest on COVID-19.

healthdirect COVID-19 Notification Model 

The healthdirect secure messaging notification model has now replaced the NSW Health notification process. Practices are reminded to check their unallocated secure messaging inbox. healthdirect's NSW Connected Care Model webpage outlines the new notification process and includes implementation guidance, and support for GPs. GPs can also watch the latest RACGP webinar for more information on the healthdirect model.

COVID-19 HealthPathways Updates

HealthPathways has recently updated the COVID-19 Active Case management pathway with the latest from ATAGI and healthdirect. The most recent information can be found under the New and Important Changes drop-down at the top of the pathway. Recent updates to the COVID-19 Self-care Patient Triage and Support pathway outline Managing Symptoms when responding to concerns about the illness and symptoms in adults or children and de-isolation planning.

Deputy CMO Primary Care Update

On Thursday 19 May at 11:30am a response update for GPs will be held by Professor Michael Kidd for GPs regarding the latest information on COVID-19. Professor Kidd will be joined by Dr Lucas de Toca.

Recently Updated Resources

12 May Update

healthdirect COVID-19 Notification Model Commences TODAY

From TODAY healthdirect is implementing the secure messaging notification model which will replace the current NSW Health notification process. healthdirect's NSW Connected Care Model webpage outlines this process and includes implementation guidance, and support for GPs. GPs can also watch the latest RACGP webinar for further information.

9 May Update

RACGP COVID-19 Update Recording

Last week the NSW Faculty of the RACGP was joined by a panel of experts to discuss the move to healthdirect commencing on 12 May 2022. This webinar includes information on what happens with patients who are identified as at risk and may need antivirals, and how contact is made with general practice. The session is now available online.

healthdirect COVID-19 Notification Model 

From 12 May healthdirect will be implementing a secure messaging notification model which will replace the current NSW Health notification process. healthdirect's Antiviral Connected Care Model outlines this process in further detail. Our Practice Support Team are contacting practices to confirm secure messaging addresses and providers. Your practice will also be asked to whether they can provide telehealth to COVID-19 patients who require assessment for antivirals, who do not have a usual GP.

ATAGI Advice on mRNA Vaccine Intervals

ATAGI recently updated their dose interval recommendations for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. ATAGI recommends the dose interval between primary doses should be extended to 8 weeks. It is also now recommended that people receive their next scheduled dose 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. ATAGI has updated the factsheet which outlines recommended doses and vaccines for each age and vulnerability group.

PPE Reminder

Given the steady development of COVID-19 case numbers in NSW, health professionals should maintain assessment protocols for COVID-19 exposure for both patients and staff. Ensure all staff are using P2/N95 masks and goggles or face shields during any face-to-face consultations, and contact with patients. The Clinical Excellence Commission has released an updated COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Manual which can be used for guidance.

Deputy CMO Primary Care Update

On Thursday 12 May at 11:30am a response update for GPs will be held by Professor Michael Kidd for GPs regarding the latest information on COVID-19. Professor Kidd will be joined by Dr Lucas de Toca and Dr Nick Simpson from the Technology Assessment and Access Division at the Department of Health

 

5 May Update

ATAGI Advice on mRNA Vaccine Intervals

ATAGI recently updated their dose interval recommendations for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. ATAGI recommends the dose interval between primary doses should be extended to 8 weeks. It is also now recommended that people receive their next scheduled dose 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. ATAGI has developed a factsheet which outlines recommended doses and vaccines for each age and vulnerability group.

healthdirect COVID-19 Notification Model 

From 12 May healthdirect will be implementing a secure messaging notification model which will replace the current NSW Health email being sent to GPs. healthdirect have released an Antiviral Connected Care Model which outlines this process in further detail. Our Practice Support Team will be contacting practices to confirm secure messaging addresses and providers. As part of this process, your practice will be asked to confirm your preferences regarding providing telehealth to COVID-19 patients who require assessment for antivirals, including patients from other practices if their GP is not available.

COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Availability

Given that COVID-19 Oral Antivirals must be administered within five days of symptom onset, it's important that practices understand the stock availability of these products at local pharmacies. Some pharmacies may need to order stock in, which could take additional time. We recommend communicating with your local pharmacies to understand their stock on hand to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

2 May Update

New COVID-19 Notification Model with healthdirect

From 12 May healthdirect will be implementing a secure messaging notification model which will replace the current NSW Health email being sent to GPs. This model will be for COVID-19 patients who have been identified as requiring assessment for eligibility for antiviral treatment. healthdirect will send this notification to the patient’s nominated GP via secure messaging. healthdirect have released an Antiviral Connected Care Model document which outlines this process in further detail.

Required action from practices:

Our Practice Support Team will be contacting practices later this week to confirm secure messaging addresses and providers. As part of this process, your practice will be asked to confirm your preferences regarding providing telehealth to COVID-19 patients who require assessment for antivirals, including patients from other practices if their GP is not available.

We encourage you to attend the RACGP education event tonight which will outline the changes to this notification system and provide context to the conversations you will have with your Practice Support Officer over the coming days.

Winter Preparedness Update TODAY 3PM

Today at 3:00pm the Department of Health will be hosting a Winter Preparedness Webinar for GPs featuring discussion on vaccination and treatments for COVID-19 and influenza. Register online.

RACGP COVID-19 Update TONIGHT

Tonight at 7:00pm the NSW Faculty of the RACGP will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the move to healthdirect commencing on 12 May 2022. Specialists will be providing an introduction to the transition from the current system to the new healthdirect notification system. The session will be recorded and made available online the following day. Register online now.

Newsletter Update: Winter Strategy 2022

Since February 2020 we have sent 200 COVID-19 Updates to general practices, keeping you informed of the latest changes and information as the pandemic has continued to evolve. As we move forward, we will continue to send weekly updates on the latest regarding COVID-19, however we will move to a format that includes information relevant to managing other areas of concern this winter season. These newsletters will be now called Winter Strategy Updates

COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Prescribing

Paxlovid is now available on the PBS. Like molnupiravir (Lagevrio®), Paxlovid can be prescribed within five days of symptom onset. Further information is available on the PBS website. The RACGP have also released a guide on Oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 which includes detailed treatment and usage information on Paxlovid and Lagevrio.

Deputy CMO Primary Care Update

On Thursday 5 May at 11:30am a response update for GPs will be held by Professor Michael Kidd for GPs regarding the latest information on COVID-19. Professor Kidd will be joined by Dr Lucas de Toca.

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