To enhance the operation of Victoria’s COVID-19 case, contact tracing and outbreak management, a Regional Response known as the Barwon South West (BSW) Public Health Unit (PHU) evolved; a collaboration between Barwon Health and the Victorian Department of Health.
Enabling early detection of cases through rapid testing supports a rapid and successful outbreak response.
Collaboration and support of all regional Health Services and private pathology providers, engaging our local government and communities has enabled mass testing which has been pivotal in preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the BSW region (population 448,997).
- To suppress the transmission of COVID-19 in the BSW region community by rapid detection of infections and identify their source and chains of transmission
- Make testing accessible and a positive experience to all members of the community, particularly the vulnerable
- Evaluate past performances and implement effective change
For information on where to get tested, click here.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself and others.
For more informmation on COVID-19 Vaccinations or to make a booking, click here.
Barwon Health Immunisation Service, working under contract for the City of Greater Geelong, provides immunisation services to all residents in the Greater Geelong region. The service provides all vaccines on the National Immunisation Program Schedule including infant, pre-schooler, secondary students and adult vaccines.
Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the need to keep our community safe, there have been changes to our normal sessions and venues. Please do not attend the sessions if you or your child is unwell, has been overseas in the last 14 days or has a temperature. Only one caregiver should attend with a client and no extra siblings if possible.
For more information on the Barwon Health Immunisation service, click here.
In response to the second Victorian wave of COVID-19 in June 2020, Barwon Health (BH) established a regional contact tracing hub including a team of interdisciplinary clinicians. To enhance the operation of Victoria’s COVID-19 case, contact tracing and outbreak management, through a collaboration with the Victorian Department of Health, the previous regional contact tracing hub at BH has transitioned into a Regional Response Unit for the Barwon South West region (BSW). The BSW Public Health Unit (PHU) is responsible for the provision of end-to-end care and clinical oversight for COVID-19 positive patients and contacts in the Barwon South West Region with a population of 448,997.
- To provide end-to-end care and clinical oversight for COVID-19 Positive patients and contacts in the BSWR
- To limit the transmission of COVID-19 in the BSWR community
- Support people isolating or quarantining and escalating care as required
- Lead the way for a decentralised contact tracing model in regional Victoria
Antivirals - changing the way we treat COVID-19
As the fight against COVID-19 continues, public health clinicians in the Barwon South West have a new treatment for COVID patients to prevent serious illness and hospitalisation.
While vaccination and particularly booster doses are still the best way to prevent severe COVID-19, oral antiviral treatments can be used as another tool to help particularly vulnerable adults.
Paxlovid® and Lagevrio® are oral antiviral agents meaning that they can be taken in tablet or capsule form.
Both of these medications have recently been provisionally approved for the treatment of COVID-19 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia and are already being used in other countries around the world including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Japan.
These antivirals may be offered to COVID-19 positive people at risk of severe disease but who are early in their illness and well enough to be treated in the community to prevent them from needing hospitalisation.
For more information, speak to your doctor to find out whether you qualify.
Respiratory Protection Program (Staff Fit-testing)
A Respiratory Protection Program has been established at Barwon Health to minimise your exposure to infectious respiratory diseases and respiratory hazards. Part of this program includes fit-testing of respiratory protection equipment (for example P2 or N95 respirator). Fit testing checks that a respirator provides an adequate seal on the wearer's face, thereby providing adequate protection against infectious and hazardous airborne particles.
All clinical staff and staff working in high-risk public facing areas (ED, ICU, mental health, cleaning) need to book a fit test.
Booking a fit test
Book your fit test online, using the online booking calendar here (Please open the link in Google Chrome).
The Fit Testing team are located on Level 3 at University Hospital Geelong. Near Bellerine St main entrance, behind ‘Hospital in the Home’. There will be signs pointing to the waiting area.
*Please wait for your appointment in the waiting area and you will be collected for your fit test.
For further information or if you are running late for your appointment please call 4215 2571.
What happens at my fit-testing appointment?
You will be sent a pre-test questionnaire when your appointment is made or you can download it here. This questionnaire provides your fit tester with important information that will assist in identifying any potential issues prior to your appointment and will assist in enabling an effective fit-test. Please complete this questionnaire and return it prior to your appointment.
Reminders before your Fit Test
You must not smoke, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes before your appointment as this can affect the results of your fit-test. Your fit testing appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. During this time you will sample a variety of respirators while connected to an instrument that measures leakage around the face seal. You will be provided with advice on what respirator is most suitable for your use, and will be shown how to fit check yourself.
It is advised that facial hair is shaved before your fit test as this interferes with the seal of close-fitting respiratory protective equipment. Fit testing is not able to occur if you have facial hair.
Here is an infographic on approved facial hairstyles: Facial Hairstyles and Filtering Facepiece Respirators (cdc.gov)
What happens if I fail a fit test?
If you are not able to reach the required fit factor for a disposable respirator that is in Barwon Health’s available stock, the Respiratory Protection Program will notify your manager who will then be advised of alternative options to ensure you remain safe.
How often do I need to be fit tested?
Staff in high-priority areas will need to be re-tested on an annual basis to ensure the fit remains secure. Testing will also need to be redone in case of:
• Significant weight loss
• Facial surgery (i.e. cosmetic surgery)
• Dental changes
• Facial trauma or scarring.
Last Modified: Monday, 04 April 2022