Isolating before your surgery

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have imposed guidelines for pre-operative CoVID-19 testing for all elective surgical patients from Wednesday, 15 July 2020. We recommend the test be performed 3 – 5 days prior to admission to hospital for your surgery. Following testing, patients are advised to self-isolate until their admission to hospital.

Epworth is working with surgeons to facilitate a smooth process for COVID-19 tests, screening to be undertaken and for the completion of required admission paperwork.

Isolation before surgery involves the following for patients/carers:

  • It is important you remain at your place of residence/home.
  • DO NOT leave except to seek medical help or in an emergency. DO NOT go to work, school or public areas and DO NOT use public transport/taxi/Uber.
  • DO NOT allow other people into your place of residence if they do not live there.
  • Avoid sharing household items - Please DO NOT share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, bedding or other items with any people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available and your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • STAY 1.5m from others in the home.

Members of the household MUST follow Stage 3 guidelines.

You WILL need to isolate until you come in for your surgery.

If you become unwell, with a fever OR respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath), please visit your GP or Emergency Department, and notify the hospital.

If you have your swab taken at a non-Epworth facility, please call us to inform us of the result and bring validation of your swab result when you present for admission. This is a mandatory requirement and the admission cannot proceed without the COVID screening result.

Any questions or advice on where Epworth patients can get tested, please contact 03 9426 6001. For patients coming to Epworth Geelong, please call 03 5271 7125.

Elective surgery update

Further to the Federal government’s announcement, Epworth is pleased to confirm a staged return of elective surgery in Victoria from Monday, 27 April 2020.

In addition to urgent activity currently underway, we may also now undertake procedures in the following areas:

  • IVF
  • screening programs (cancer and other diseases)
  • post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)
  • procedures for children under 18 years of age
  • joint replacements (including knees, hips, shoulders)
  • cataracts and eye procedures
  • endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

Where capacity allows, we may also do some other specialist procedures to address significant medical conditions, including critical dental procedures.

Cosmetic or other procedures not addressing significant medical conditions cannot be undertaken.


Bookings will require consultation with your specialist doctor, who will provide our hospital detailed notes around the clinical need/priority. Due to numbers being capped by government, case selection will be based on clinical priority. Please speak to your specialist if you have any questions.


To ensure the safety of our patients, doctors and staff, screening processes for patients will continue, including screening 48 hours prior to admission.

It is every patient’s responsibility to respond to screening questions and disclose symptoms, travel history and proximity to confirmed COVID-19 people honestly and accurately. Failure to do so puts patients, staff and yourself at significant risk.

Patients presenting to Epworth sites for any elective/planned booking and are required to be screened prior to their booking by phone, and re-screened on presentation for their booking.

Questions you may be asked include the following:

Do you have any of these symptoms:

  • fever or history of fever ≥ 37.5C (e.g. night sweats, chills)?
  • breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, wheezing or other signs or symptoms of respiratory infection?
  • cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose?
  • headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea?
  • any loss of sense of smell?

Have you been tested for COVID-19?

Have you had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive person?

Have you been in close contact with someone who:

  • Has travelled/transited overseas in the past 14 days?
  • Is awaiting a COVID-19 test result?
  • Is under self-isolation as per commonwealth guidelines?
  • Is symptomatic with undiagnosed respiratory symptoms?

Have you been contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services (or anyone else) and told:

  • that you have been in contact with a confirmed case?
  • to self-isolate for ANY reason?
  • to avoid hospitals / healthcare facilities?

If you answer yes to the above questions, we might ask for a few more details.

To further assist us to ensure your safety, we may also ask questions to establish if you are pregnant, immunosuppressed or over a certain age.

If you are concerned you have COVID-19

  • If you have mild symptoms, call your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
  • You may wish to attend our emergency departments at Epworth Geelong and Epworth Richmond if:
    1. You are experiencing symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties or wheezing, headache or any other signs or symptoms of respiratory infection AND
    2. You have travelled overseas in the past two weeks OR
    3. You have been in contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19

Please note: COVID-19 testing will be conducted in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines.

Low risk patients and those with mild-medium symptoms may be sent home with instructions, without testing. You may be asked to self-isolate and provided with information and advice to help manage your symptoms.

Please note: stricter restrictions in place for visitors