Expanding our SCOVID Wards and testing emergency surgery patients prior to their procedure

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to let you know that we have further increased our capacity to support the number of patients being admitted who are either suspected (SCOVID) or confirmed (COVID) cases of COVID-19.

Ward 7 East has been isolated for confirmed COVID patients and 7 West continues to accommodate SCOVID patients.

To continue to meet demand, wards 8 East and 8 North will also become SCOVID wards. Ward 8 East transitioned to a SCOVID ward yesterday, while 8 North is being transitioned today.

We have robust processes and procedures in place to ensure that staff are safe while caring for patients in these wards.

In line with Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, we have also commenced testing emergency surgery patients who are asymptomatic as part of their pre-operative planning.  These patients are not suspected COVID (SCOVID) patients.

Medical and nursing staff who are caring for these patients will be required to perform this swab as part of the patient’s pre-operative work-up and send it immediately to the lab on an orange paper request. Processing of these tests will be prioritised.

Importantly, there should be no delay to emergency procedures or surgery. Any surgery that is required prior to the test result being available should proceed. If this occurs Theatre staff should wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), in line with current PPE policy for suspected COVID patients.

Any patients who test positive will be managed by the COVID team using our standard process.

Questions regarding the process for testing emergency patients can be discussed with Surgery Anaesthesia and Procedural Medicine Divisional Medical Director,
Dr Rhys Vaughan, or Divisional Director, Melodie Heland.

Remember, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 please ensure that you:

  • practice physical distancing by maintaining more than 1.5 metres between yourself and others wherever possible
  • practice good hand hygiene
  • use appropriate PPE, including surgical masks in all clinical areas and non-clinical areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • stay home if you’re unwell.

Once again, thank you for your ongoing commitment to providing the highest standard of care to our patients.


John Ferraro
Chief Operating Officer