COVID-19 Support

PPE and infection control

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PPE and infection control

Page last updated at 11am 24 December 2021

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Infection control

The following resources are available to assist with the management of infection control:

  • A 30-minute Australian Government COVID-19 infection control online training for health care workers in all settings is available here. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

For more information, read the Queensland Government guidelines for the assessment and management of patients with suspected COVID-19, and read the latest CDNA National guidelines.

For the latest clinical practice guidelines in the Brisbane south region, please refer to SpotOnHealth Healthpathways.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Please be advised that the risk of COVID-19 community transmission in primary care settings has recently been updated in the Brisbane south region. From 9 am 24 December 2021, the recommended PPE level for primary health care settings in the PPE protocols has been adjusted to ‘high’ risk for:

  • Metro South Health and Hospital Service
  • Brisbane LGA (southside only)
  • Logan LGA
  • Redland LGA
  • Beaudesert
  • Laravale
  • Kooralbyn
  • Christmas Creek
  • Rathdowney
  • Palen Creek
  • Running Creek

This applies to all clinical settings in the LGAs listed above including residential aged care facilities, residential disability care facilities, and community health care settings (general practice, dentistry).

Refer to the PPE guidance for community health services and in-home care settings. And the PPE guidance for in a residential aged care and disability accommodation settings.

For the latest information about the COVID-19 response in the Brisbane south region, visit the Queensland Health website.

PPE Buyer’s Guide

The Australian Government Department of Industry and Science Energies and Resources (DISER) have collated some helpful information to assist organisations with confidence in buying PPE from new suppliers including:

  • what to look for when buying PPE
  • how PPE is regulated/certified
  • keeping your workplace safe
  • knowing your consumer rights and protecting yourself from fraud
  • links to National and State portals to help connect buyers and sellers of PPE.
Sourcing PPE

The Australian Department of Health has advised of the increased evidence of commercial availability of PPE. Therefore, it is expected that practices seek their own commercial supply of PPE before requesting through the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).

For a comprehensive list of readily available commercial sources of PPE (including surgical face masks, P2/N95 respirators, eye and face protection, gowns and more) refer to the Queensland Government’s What’s on Offer website that has been designed to connect buyers with suppliers.

Where local commercial supply is not available, Brisbane South PHN is distributing limited quantities of surgical and P2/N95 respirators, and eye protection goggles from the NMS on behalf of the Australian Government. We will continue to process all PPE requests as quickly as possible.

Access to a limited PPE supply from the NMS

If you wish to request PPE from the NMS, please follow the process below:

  • Eye protection goggles – available for general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), after-hours GP home visiting services, medical deputising services (MDS), nurse practitioner owned or led primary care practices and allied health professionals. Please note that community pharmacies are not eligible to receive eye protection goggles from the NMS in this release. Eye protection goggles are reusable and are a single allocation of two goggles per eligible staff member.

    To request eye protection goggles, complete this form (eligibility criteria apply).
  • Surgical mask requests – Brisbane South PHN stocks are only available for general practices, ACCHS, community pharmacy, MDS and a limited supply for allied health professionals.

    To request surgical masks, please complete this form.
  • P2/N95 Respirator requests – Brisbane South PHN has a limited supply available only to primary care providers (i.e. General Practitioners or nurses) providing health care where risk assessment determines a P2 / N95 respiratory masks should be used.

    To request access to P2/N95 respirators, please complete this form.
  • Vaccine Consumables – Brisbane South PHN is able to provide primary care providers (i.e. General Practitioners or nurses) with a special order of vaccine consumables to support COVID-19 vaccine efforts until supplies have been exhausted. This includes 3ml Luer-slip sterile syringes, 25 gauge sterile needles 25mm in length and Sharp Collector kits (1.4 litre, 3 litre, 8 litre and 17 litre).

    To request access to a one-off special order of vaccine consumables, please complete this form.

Limited stocks of PPE are available to Brisbane South PHN. For further information about PPE distribution through PHN’s nationwide, click here.

PPE bundles for general practices treating COVID-19 positive patients face-to-face

The Australian Government Department of Health recently released guidance on access to PPE bundles and pulse oximeters for practices willing to treat COVID-19 positive patients face-to-face.

This Distribution of PPE through PHNs communications statement  outlines the PPE available, eligibility criteria and associated obligations of GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs wishing to access the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).

Orders placed with Brisbane South PHN for the new full PPE bundles and pulse oximeters will be processed for delivery as soon as possible, noting that deliveries from the NMS to PHNs are taking up to 2 weeks.

To request the full PPE bundles and pulse oximeters, please complete this form.

Safe PPE use

In addition to the video below, the following resources are available to support safe PPE use:

Video – Correct use of PPE

Fit testing and use of P2 / N95 respiratory masks

The following resources provide guidance on fit testing and use of P2 / N95 respiratory masks:

  • Queensland Health PPE guidance for healthcare delivery (Pandemic Response Guidance) outlining:
    • General Practice PPE recommendations – refer Table 3 Healthcare settings including when P2 / N95 respirators are required.

  • Infection Control Expert Group Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19 with key recommendations below:

    1. All health care workers should follow standard and transmission-based precautions as described in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2021).

    2. Healthcare workers who wear P2/N95 respirators should complete fit testing before first use, and form a fit (seal) check properly each time they are used. In situations where fit testing has not yet been carried out, and a P2/N95 respirator is recommended for use, a fit-checked P2/N95 respirator is preferred to a surgical mask.

    3. All healthcare workers providing direct patient care or working within the patient/client/resident zone for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should have access to P2/N95 respirators.

    4. For healthcare workers providing direct patient care or working within the patient/client/resident zone for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the choice between P2/N95 respirator or surgical mask should be based on an assessment of risk of transmission.

    5. Assessment of risk of transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare workers should include consideration of:
      • the individual patient/client/resident’s pre-existing likelihood of COVID-19
      • patient/client/resident factors
      • physical location of care.

  • Queensland Health Guidance document for Fit testing of P2/N95 masks in respiratory protection programs outlining:

    • Difference between fit Checking and fit testing
    • Qualitative Fit Testing (a facial fit testing giving pass or fail results that relies on the wearer’s subjective response to aerosolised test agent)
    • Quantitative Fit Testing (objective numerical fit testing results through the use of special particle counting breathing zone, which does not rely on the subject’s response to a test agent)
    • Fit Test Program Administrator functions
    • Fit Test Operator/ Assessor ‘competent person model’
    • Recording of fit testing

  • Fit testing resources – note these are from 3M, however are applicable to other brands

Useful resources

Brisbane South PHN hosted a webinar on Preparation for Living with COVID-19: Infection control update and mask fit testing on Monday 13 December 2021. Speakers included Margaret Jennings, Microbiologist and Infection Prevention & Control Consultant/Educator and Mark Reggers, Occupational Hygienist and Fit Testing Subject Matter Expert, 3M Australia Personal Safety Division. 

Click here to view the recorded webinar
click here to view the presentation slides