Melbourne Health has extensive processes in place to safely assess and manage any patients with viral infections, including the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
This information is correct as of 1 April 2020. As the situation around COVID-19 is rapidly changing, this article will be regularly updated to ensure our community is receiving the most up-to-date advice.
- Screening clinic
- Changes to outpatients appointments
- The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation Emergency Appeal
- Fake email circulating
Frequently asked questions:
- COVID-19 video series
- I think I have coronavirus, should I come to the hospital?
- What is coronavirus
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- How does COVID-19 spread?
- How do I reduce my risk of contracting COVID-19?
- I want to visit my friend or relative at the Royal Melbourne Hospital or Melbourne Health-related sites and they do not have COVID-19. Is it safe to do so?
- I have been told to self-isolate for 14 days. Should I attend the hospital?
- A close contact of mine is self isolating. Should I be tested for COVID-19? Do I have to self-isolate?
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has a screening clinic set up specifically to test for COVID-19.
The Screening Clinic is open from 0700-2100hrs 7 days a week.
We will only test people that meet this criteria:
- Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation
- Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
Note: In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19* AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
*headache, myalgia, runny or stuffy nose, anosmia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
Note: Healthcare workers and emergency workers remain a high priority for testing.
All patients will be monitored in hospital if clinical deterioration occurs while at the Screening Clinic.
The Screening Clinic can be accessed directly from our City Campus at 300 Grattan Street, between the entrances to the hospital and emergency department.
As part of our response to managing the coronavirus outbreak, we have reduced our visiting hours and introduced a daily limit on visitors.
- Visitors are now limited to close family members and significant others
- Only one visitor per patient per day
- Visits will be limited to a maximum of one hour
- Visiting hours are now between 4pm and 8pm
- You must not visit if you are feeling unwell
- Do not visit if you've been in contact with a person who has COVID-19
- Please observe social distancing guidelines of 1.5 metres when visiting
We know this restriction can be challenging and we understand each family’s situation is different. For exceptional circumstances we encourage families to speak to the Nurse in Charge before arriving for further advice.
All visitors will be screened prior to entry at the Royal Melbourne Hospital City Campus. This includes outpatients and patients arriving for surgery. Visitors will be asked a series of health questions, and receive a temperature check. This will also be rolled out over the week at other Melbourne Health sites.
COVID-19 and coming to hospital: what to expect
Are you coming to hospital for elective surgery? You may notice things are a little bit different around the City Campus. Watch this short video with anaesthetists Jai and Kate who explain some of the extra precautions we've put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Changes to outpatient appointments
As part of our response to COVID-19 we have made some changes to our outpatient appointments. We are reducing the number of face-to-face consultations and replacing them with video or telephone call. If your appointment changes, you will be contacted via text message with further instructions. Thank you for your understanding.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital Emergency Appeal
The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation is raising urgent funds to help our doctors and nurses who are at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. Our ICU is pandemic ready, but we have never faced a challenge on this scale before. You can help us by donating on our GiveEasy page.
Fake email circulating
We are aware of a message circulating across email and social media containing incorrect information.
This is not from the Royal Melbourne Hospital or the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and the details are untrue.
Please make sure you only share from legitimate sources, such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital's website and Facebook page, the Australian Government Department of Health and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Frequently asked questions
COVID-19 video series
We have produced a series of videos on COVID-19, which contains frequently asked questions and information for people living with comorbidities such as diabetes, asthma, lung disease, mental health conditions and more. There are also videos made for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You can view the entire COVID-19 playlist on YouTube.
I think I have coronavirus, should I come to the hospital?
You should only come to the hospital if you meet the criteria above.
If you are still unsure of whether you should get tested for COVID-19, please contact the Department of Health and Human Services hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness in animals or humans. These coronaviruses include the common cold and more severe diseases like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
COVID-19 is a new form of coronavirus, which causes respiratory symptoms, similar to the flu.
Most people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have only experienced a mild illness and recovered, however the illness can be more severe for others, including vulnerable populations such as the elderly.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 can be reduced through proper hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Those with symptoms of COVID-19 are most likely to have a fever (above 37.5 degrees Celsius) and may have respiratory symptoms like a sore throat, cough or shortness of breath. Of those who are admitted to hospital, some do develop serious illness.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Health authorities around the world are working hard to figure out how the COVID-19 virus spreads. It is suspected that spread is most likely to occur when people cough or sneeze and respiratory droplets are produced or it can be transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces.
How do I reduce my risk of contracting COVID-19?
Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are two terms that you may have heard of when you have heard about how to reduce your risk of COVID-19. This refers to washing your hands properly and often, and using proper sneezing and coughing practices (covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or coughing or sneezing into your upper sleeve and elbow).
Here are someways you can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol based hand rub
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth
- Avoid being around other people who you know are unwell
- Practice and encourage others to practice respiratory etiquette; that is,cover your mouth and nose with your elbow while coughing or sneezing, or use a tissue and dispose of it, and wash your hands after
- Try to stay 1.5 metres apart from other people when you are sharing the same confined space
- Avoid attending public gatherings or crowded places
Watch our video with RMH ICU Clinical Nurse Manager Dan on how you can protect yourself and others from the novel coronavirus:
I want to visit my friend or relative at the Royal Melbourne Hospital or Melbourne Health-related sites and they do not have COVID-19. Is it safe to do so?
We kindly ask all visitors to perform proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette as an extra precautionary measure to protect yourself and our patients.
We ask you limit visits to one person only for a maximum of one hour per day. This is to protect our patients and staff. We remind the community you should not visit if you are not well.
We know this restriction can be challenging and we understand each family’s situation is different. For exceptional circumstances we encourage families to speak their family member's nursing team for further advice.
Please do not visit if you have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
I have been told to self-isolate for 14 days. Should I attend the hospital?
No, you should not attend the hospital.
You can read more about COVID-19 isolation on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
A close contact of mine is self-isolating. Should I be tested for COVID-19? Do I have to self-isolate?
If anyone, including RMH staff members, has been in contact with someone who is in self-isolation (eg household member) due to overseas travel or being a contact of a known COVID-19 case and the household member has not been diagnosed with COVID-19, the person is not required to remain off work or to be tested.
If this contact develops COVID-19 , then the person in contact with the diagnosed is required to self-isolate for 14 days. The person does not require testing unless they become symptomatic (see Screening Clinic criteria above). Anyone who is required to self-isolate because of close contact with a COVID19 case will be informed by the Department of Health and Human Services that they are a contact. Otherwise, self-isolation is only required for people who have returned from anywhere overseas since 16th March or from high risk countries (China, South Korea, Italy or Iran) in the past 14 days.