Latrobe Regional Hospital is gearing up manage Gippsland’s COVID-19 patients, with modelling suggesting there could be demand for 50 inpatient beds and 15 intensive care unit beds at the peak of this wave.LRH chief executive Don McRae said there would initially be nine inpatient beds and two intensive care unit beds — with the capacity to scale up to 64 inpatient beds and 30 ICU beds. He said there would be a ventilator available for each ICU bed. LRH is the designated ‘streaming’ hospital for Gippsland, taking in COVID-19 patients, including those from Sale, Bairnsdale and further east. Mr McRae said if there was spare capacity, the hospital may also be expected to help out with any overflow from the metropolitan area, given the challenges already being faced by Melbourne hospitals. A birthing room has also been created for COVID-positive women who need to have their baby delivered “in an emergency”. But LRH is not a streaming hospital for birthing women who are COVID-19 positive — they will continue to be supported by Monash Health. Women who do not have COVID-19 will still be able to have their baby at LRH. Mr McRae said the planning to make LRH a streaming hospital had been underway for the past month, and would “build upon the processes that were established in 2020-21”. “Planning, however, has shifted towards better managing the Delta variant, which is airborne” he said. “While our systems were robust to handle last year’s variant, Delta is much more infectious and able to be transmitted more freely. As a result, changes have been made to the layout of the LRH’s emergency department to enable COVID patients to be more efficiently separated from non-COVID patients. In addition, a marquee has been set up near the main emergency department entrance specifically for COVID patients to be triaged before they enter the hospital. Mr McRae said COVID patients receiving medical care in the hospital’s inpatient units would be “sealed off” in a negative pressure zone to reduce the risk of the virus escaping. “Portable HEPA Filters are being introduced to clean the air in some areas of the hospital,” he added. The hospital has also bought Medihoods, which are almost like plastic pram covers. “They go over a patient’s bed and have a fan-filter exhaust unit, creating a mini negative pressure room over the patient,” Mr McRae explained. “These are being used in metro hospitals and are able to draw out 99.1 per cent of aerosols.” There are currently 239 active COVID-19 cases in Gippsland — 121 in Latrobe, 101 in Baw Baw, 10 in South Gippsland, three in Bass Coast, three in Wellington Shire, and one in East Gippsland. There are currently eight tier one exposure sites in Latrobe, seven in Baw Baw and no public exposure sites in the other local government areas. A total 1612 news cases were announced in Victoria this morning, bringing the total active cases to 19,012 statewide. There were eight deaths from COVID-19 recorded across Victoria on Sunday. On Saturday, Victoria broke its daily new cases record, with 1965 cases reported.
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The community vaccination clinic in Sale will relocate from the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex to the Catholic College Sale's former Sion campus from Wednesday.Vaccinations will take place in the Marcellin Room from Wednesday, December 7.The centre will be open Wednesdays from noon to 7pm, except for a short break from December 23 for two weeks.Public parking will be available in the former staff carpark off Raglan St, all three COVID vaccines will be available by appointment or walk-in.At the weekend, premier Daniel Andrews announced five to 11-year-olds would now be able to be vaccinated, after the The Therapeutic Goods Administration provisionally approved the Comirnaty Paediatric (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds.It is expected that children will be able to access the Pfizer for children COVID-19 vaccine from January 10, with bookings will be available through https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/booking/?lang=enIn a statement, the TGA said as for other age groups, the use of this vaccine in children aged five to 11 should be given in two doses at least three weeks apart.However, a lower dose would be given to children aged five to 11, compared to that used for those aged 12 years and older, with an orange-capped vial to clearly differentiate it.In making its decision, the TGA said it had carefully considered data from clinical trials conducted in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, which included participants aged five to 11."The study demonstrated effectiveness by showing that the immune response to the vaccine in children was similar to that seen in older age groups," it said."Clinical trials also showed that the safety profile in children is similar to that seen in adults with the observed side effects being mild."The most frequent adverse events seen in clinical trials in children aged 5-11 years were injection site pain, fatigue, headache, injection site redness and swelling, muscle pain and chills."Mr Andrews said while he awaited advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation , the TGA’s provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 was "very welcome news for Victoria"."This is an effective vaccine that has been safely administered to millions of young children around the world," he said."Vaccinations are already a part of life for families with young children - and now we’ll have another one to help keep them as safe as possible at school and home.”While Wellington Shire has had more than 95 per cent of its population now double vaccinated against COVID for a couple of weeks, the remainder of the state is catching up, with 94.0 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 91.5 per cent having had two doses, as of Saturday.There are currently 297 COVID-19 cases in hospital in Victoria, with 47 of those in intensive care units.As of Monday, Latrobe Regional Hospital, the designated hospital caring for COVID-19 patients from across Gippsland, reported there were 249 known cases of COVID in Gippsland.By municipality, there were 33 cases in Wellington, 36 in Latrobe City, 55 in East Gippsland, 14 in South Gippsland, 94 in Baw Baw and 17 in Bass Coast.Three people were in hospital, and none were in intensive care.The drive-through testing site at the former Sion campus of Catholic College continues to operate 9am to 11 am weekdays.People getting tested should pre-fill their details using the testing registration form testtracker.covid19.dhhs.vic.gov.au/citizen-prefillPeople can also get tested atSale Respiratory Clinic, 9am to 5pm weekdays. Appointments are required, and can be made by phoning 5143 7900.The Yarram and District Health Service drive-through testing site is also continuing, open 10.30am to 11.30am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.No appointments are required, but people should pre-fill their details using the Testing Registration form testtracker.covid19.dhhs.vic.gov.au/ci