Update on 08.09.2020

Information regarding face masks for general consulting in non-COVID suspicious patients has been conflicting, confusing and changes frequently. Following is some of the most recent information to be used as a guide for you to make decisions in your practice. Depending on your practice location, your operating state and your personal circumstances this should be considered on a case-by-case basis. For the most up to date Australian information look at the Department of Health website.

Optometry Practices are medical practices and are not required to have a COVID safe plan.

What PPE do I wear and when? 

  • The Interim Infection Control Guidelines were updated on 23 August 2020 to include PPE escalation for Healthcare Facilities. This document outlines the recommended PPE escalation according to risk of unexpected COVID-19 infections in patients or healthcare workers.
  • As the current risk of unexpected COVID-19 infections in hospital patients or healthcare workers in the Greater Brisbane Area has been assessed to be low-moderate, universal masking (with flat surgical mask) is recommended for all patients, visitors and staff in the Greater Brisbane Area.
  • This advice applies to all Queensland Health facilities and is also strongly recommended for all other healthcare providers in the Greater Brisbane Area (e.g. general practice, private hospitals, community care etc.).
  • The PPE advice for Queensland Ambulance Service follows this guidance and paramedics will continue to wear appropriate PPE for all patient interactions in the Greater Brisbane Area.
  • PPE escalation for Healthcare Facilities outlines additional PPE requirements when caring for suspected / probable / confirmed COVID-19 patients as defined in the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) Series of National Guidelines (SoNG).
  • Practically these will be patients who meet the current clinical criteria of COVID-19 (i.e. fever (≥37.5°C) or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) OR loss of smell or loss of taste).
  • Please note that contact precautions (gown or apron and gloves) are no longer required for care of non-COVID patients (patients who don’t meet the CDNA criteria) in emergency departments in Greater Brisbane.
  • The PPE escalation for Healthcare Facilities also provides advice to healthcare workers and patients outside the Greater Brisbane Area. Currently the risk of unexpected COVID-19 infections in hospital patients or healthcare workers in these regions is considered to be low

Need more information?
If you require further COVID-19 clarification or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact the Optometry Australia Optometry Advisor Helpdesk on 03 9668 8500 or at national@optometry.org.au

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