Visitor restrictions update:
As required by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, we have restrictions in place at our hospitals to limit the number of people that enter our hospitals to ensure our patients and workforce stay safe. These rules allow for visitors when there are exceptional circumstances, refer to full list of exemptions below.
Visitors who fit these exemption categories will also need to show their vaccination status upon entry to our hospitals and to wear a hospital-supplied mask. Guidance on how to obtain your vaccination certificate can be found here - https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/get-your-covid-19-digital-certificate
Those who are not vaccinated will be asked to show proof (via a date stamped photo of result) of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result, that was undertaken on the day of their visit.
Exceptional circumstances (subject to approval at each site)
Exceptions apply for:
- those visiting critical or palliative patients. In these cases, two visitors are permitted at a time. They do not have to be from the same household and there are no time limits.
- in our maternity units:
- One person is allowed in our birth suites (a support person or partner). Support people cannot be swapped and this designated person must have undertaken a COVID-19 test and isolate as directed.
- One partner/support person is allowed in the postnatal ward for the duration of the patient's stay.
- Two parents are permitted in the special care nursery.
- those supporting patients with cognitive impairment.
- providing support necessary for a patient's emotional or physical wellbeing.
- if they are the parent or carer of a paediatric patient.
- a nominated person under the Mental Health Act, interpreter or carer of a patient with a disability.
- if necessary, visitors are also permitted to accompany a patient attending Emergency or outpatient clinic.
- those in a group visiting in exceptional circumstances may exceed the 'two visitors at a time' rule if they are dependants of a visitor (or hospital patient) who are unable to be cared for elsewhere.
We kindly request that you adhere to all instructions provided by our entry staff. Thank you for your understanding.
Elective surgery update
The Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that elective surgery restrictions will be implemented across Victoria, effective Thursday, 6 January 2022. Elective surgery is restricted to urgent elective surgery procedures, including Category 1 admissions.
Cases already booked until, and including, Sunday, 9 January 2022 may proceed. All other existing cases booked from Monday, 10 January 2022 onwards must be reviewed in line with the new surgery restrictions. Please contact your treating doctor.
Protocols for pre-admission/surgery testing remain unchanged. Testing requirements ahead of your surgery remain in place. If you have any questions about your care, please contact your treating doctor.
In case of emergency, please call 000.
Pre-admission COVID-19 testing update
There is no longer a requirement to get a weekly PCR from 37 weeks onwards for patients and their partner or support person. We do however, encourage patients and their partner or support person to consider testing in the latter stages of pregnancy.
If you arrive at hospital in labour, you and your partner or support person will be given a Rapid Antigen Test by Epworth, on arrival, if you don’t have a test result within the last 72 hours.
All patients and their partner or support person being admitted for a booked elective caesarean, or an induced birth, are required to take a PCR or a Rapid Antigen Test, no more than 72 hours before admission and preferably on day of admission.
Please speak with your doctor or hospital care team for further information.
Epworth Freemasons Maternity patients and their support person can attend the Epworth Richmond Staff and VMO Clinic for a COVID-19 PCR swab test. This is open 7 days, 8am to 4pm. Our maternity patients are fast-tracked through the queue, with minimal wait time at the clinic. Epworth Geelong Maternity patients and their support person can have their COVID-19 PCR test onsite at Melbourne Pathology, Epworth Geelong, open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8.30am – 1pm.
On admission, any maternity patients who have not had a negative PCR within 72 hours can bring in a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result obtained in the last 72 hours (screenshot/image of the negative RAT must be date stamped). If patients are unable to access a RAT or PCR, then a point of care RAT is undertaken on admission, with the result guiding the patient’s management.
Please contact your care team at Epworth Freemasons or Epworth Geelong if you have any questions.
Getting your pre-operative COVID-19 test
A negative result is required for all admissions from Monday, 30 August 2021 onwards, with COVID-19 testing to occur 48 - 72 hours prior to the planned procedure. Patients will need to isolate from the time of testing until they are admitted for their procedure.
All patients are strongly encouraged to attend a testing centre closest to them to have their test.
Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has several available collection sites for pre-operative (ASYMPTOMATIC) patients. Please see the following link: MPS: Testing of asymptomatic pre-operative patients
In addition, Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has three dedicated ‘drive-through’ testing sites that patients can attend with the complete request form: MPS COVID-19 dedicated collection sites
If it is not possible to attend your local testing centre, patients can attend Epworth Testing Clinics located at:
- Epworth Richmond:
- Epworth Eastern:
Patient Swabbing Clinic
34 Erin St – entrance is 10 metres from Emergency Department entry
Open 8am to 4pm, 7 days a week
Last booking appointment is 3.45pm daily
Bookings required phone: 03 9426 0666
Drive through pre-operative COVID-19 Testing Clinic
Main carpark of Salvation Army building, access via 17 Bank St Box Hill
Open 8am to 6pm, Monday - Saturday
Bookings required phone: 03 8807 7811
Isolating after testing
It is important that patients self-isolate after their test, until the time of their admission to hospital (no matter what the test results are).
Please don’t put yourself and others at risk by going to work, school or public places, unless you need medical help or in an emergency.
If you are unable to self-isolate prior to your admission to hospital, please discuss your situation immediately with your specialist.
If you are dependent on a carer, your carer should also get tested and then isolate with you, prior to your admission to hospital.
We advise against using public transport, taxis or Ubers during your isolation. If you have no alternative transport options, please wear a mask.
You can find more details about isolating at: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 50KB)
Outpatient appointments for rehabilitation and mental health services are being held via telehealth. Some of our acute clinics will also hold telehealth appointments, where possible.
- Anyone entering our sites will need to wear a mask upon arrival, register their attendance and complete an attestation.
- Patients who are already in our hospitals will wear masks, based on clinical circumstances.
- Patients and visitors must change into a hospital provided mask when entering the hospital.
- Anyone who may have a mask exemption is advised to bring their exemption to show entry staff. We ask for your cooperation with any requests made by our entry staff.
To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe, regularly wash your hands, keep at least 1.5 metres from other people, and stay home if you feel unwell.
If you have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties or wheezing or any other signs of respiratory infection, however mild, seek advice and get tested.
For more information about COVID-19 go to the Victorian Department of Health.
Daily Attestations and QR Codes
Upon entering our sites, patients, visitors and contractors will be required to scan both the Service Victoria QR code and Epworth attestation QR code, on the designated poster at entry points.
It is important that Epworth is able to retain a connection to the Victorian Department of Health QR code system to ensure we will be contacted if any of our patients, visitors or contractors have been to a Tier 1 exposure site, prior to visiting Epworth.
If you are unable to register with a mobile device, please ensure you complete a manual check in. Our staff at any of our entry points will assist you.
We appreciate your understanding, as we continue to ensure we keep our patients, employees and doctors safe.
Epworth Freemasons and Epworth Geelong Maternity Units
We continue to do everything possible to minimise potential exposure to COVID-19 in our hospitals and need you and your family’s help for us all to stay safe.
Things may look different in areas of our maternity hospital at the moment, but rest assured that the same excellence in care remains. We will continue to do all we can to support you before, during and after your baby’s birth.
For the latest restrictions, please click on the relevant link:
- COVID-19 Maternity FAQs for Epworth Freemasons (PDF, 273KB, 21 January 2022)
- COVID-19 Maternity FAQs for Epworth Geelong (PDF, 267KB, 21 January 2022)
If you have any further questions, or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please speak with your doctor.
We continue to monitor changes, so please keep an eye out for the latest information on our website and social media.
We look forward to welcoming you and your family to Epworth!