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HomeminewsStandard Surgical Masks Recommended for Vic Optometrists

Standard Surgical Masks Recommended for Vic Optometrists

The Federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, has recommended that ALL health professionals in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell shire seeing ANY patient for any reason should wear a standard surgical mask.

Recommended at a meeting of the Primary Care Response Group on 8 July 2020, this represents a significant change in advice from Australian Health Department Officials who have previously not made recommendations on mask use for asymptomatic patients. Further information on this topic can be found in Optometry Australia’s (OA) online resources and section on Should I be wearing a mask?, where the Association recently flagged the updated advice from the WHO and the Lancet supporting mask use in areas with community transmission. Professor Kidd has also reminded allied health professionals that telehealth should be employed where possible during restrictions.

Despite ‘COVID-19 fatigue’, infection control remains a critical and ongoing requirement for safe optometry practise across Australia

Supply of masks has improved significantly over the last two months but for any optometrist unable to access PPE, the Australian government has previously advised it can provide allied health professionals with some access to the government stockpile of masks and an additional 1.5 million masks were added to the stockpile recently. Operating under the assumption that optometrists will triage patients with respiratory and other symptoms, optometry has been classified as moderate priority. Please be aware this is intended as a limited, emergency supply when commercial supply options are exhausted. OA has detailed instructions for applying for an emergency supply of masks through your local Primary Health Network (PHN) at the bottom of its masks and PPE page. You will need to identify which PHN region you belong to then follow the link provided to that PHN’s online (or other) ordering process.

Despite ‘COVID-19 fatigue’, infection control remains a critical and ongoing requirement for safe optometry practise across Australia.

Watch the 25-minute infection control video update from OA Chief Clinical Officer Luke Arundel, presented at Optometry Virtually Connected Friday 26 June.

Mr Arundel will be available during a live Zoom chat for members on Thursday 9 July from 12:00-2:00pm. Please join him if you have any questions on clinical or patient management advice that you need answered. Simply click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser: zoom.us/j/98219881625 and Meeting ID: 982 1988 1625.

In further updates, people living in cross-border communities will be restricted to a 50km radius inside South Australia when the state’s border restrictions with Victoria come into force. Police Commissioner Grant Stevens says maps are being produced to clearly show the entry limits and anyone from Victoria found breaching the rule may face a $1000 fine or further action. People living near the border and needing to enter SA to conduct daily activities, like attending school or work, must have a pre-approved essential traveller exemption.

Published with permission of Optometry Australia.