Published on 28 September 2022

With COVID cases continuing to decline, the state government and public health services are shifting to a more ‘business as usual’ COVID response, with vaccination and at-home COVID-19 care to be managed by primary care. In line with these changes, Western Health is in the process of reviewing the COVID response measures in place across the health service with some notable changes outlined below. As always, Western Health will continue to monitor the situation and review protective measures regularly.

Vaccination and testing

As of today (Wednesday 28 September), Western Health’s outreach vaccination program and the Sunbury community COVID testing clinic have closed (other fixed sites closed earlier this month). The closure of Western Health operated testing and vaccination sites comes after two years of sustained effort supporting access to testing and vaccination in the community.

The COVID vaccination in-reach service will continue under our Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) team.  If you have an inpatient requiring a COVID vaccination, referrals can be made via

Visitor and patient testing
The Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s visitor RAT testing marquee will be decommissioned, with Thursday 29 September the final day of operation. Going forward, self-administered RAT testing of visitors and outpatients will be based on clinical risk and managed at a local unit level.

Outpatients and visitors are still required to complete the screening process – including an attestation on entry – and will continue to be provided with a KN94 masks.

Staff testing
There are no changes to staff access to RAT tests. Staff can continue to access RATs via the current collection points at each site.

Following a successful pilot of self-administered PCR testing, symptomatic staff who test negative on RAT testing and wish to access a PCR test will be able to do so, via self-administration. Confirmatory PCR testing following a positive RAT is no longer recommended. From 3 October, access to self-testing PCR will be from Williamstown Emergency Department (preferably between 8am and 11am). PCR testing will no longer be accessible at Sunshine Hospital.

Changes to COVID Positive Pathways program

Western Health’s Chronic and Complex Care COVID-19 Positive Pathway will cease on 30 September, with the Department of Health focusing on strengthening out-of-hospital COVID-19 care through community providers and primary care.

In its 12 months of operation, the program – in collaboration with the division of Women’s and Children’s – monitored more than 9000 medium-risk patients in the community, including 1000 obstetric patients.

As of 19 September, care of at-risk patients with COVID-19 in the community began transitioning to existing care models. Escalations to non-emergency hospital level care is now managed via by CoHealth, using the Western@Home 1300 number.

I would like to thank all of the teams who have provided such high-quality COVID services over this period. More information about the evolution of these services will be provided in future bulletins.


Jason Plant
Acting Chief Operating Officer