COVID-19: AVA Working Group Update

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Monday, 15 June 2020

 

Easing of Restrictions

Since our last member update, restrictions have begun to ease in most states, and we have had some requests for advice on how to approach this in veterinary practice.

We would like to draw your attention to an article from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), which may be of interest. Though the restriction levels vary between countries, and Ontario has had more severe restrictions in place for veterinary services, the article the OVMA have produced does an excellent job of guiding a return to normal services through a risk-based approach.  You can read the article here.

Safety During Home Visits

Though the restrictions have eased and risks have somewhat reduced, home visits still pose particular challenges. Vets making home visits should use PPE and be prepared for situations which may pose increased risks, eg nursing home visits, or where clients may be infected with coronavirus.   

The COVID-19 Working Group have produced a document to assist you to plan and conduct these visits in a way that minimises the risk of infection.  The principles are also useful in general terms, for example the same could apply when attending any sites where infectious diseases such as feline calicivirus or canine parvovirus may be present.  You can read the document here.

WHO Advice on Masks

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have changed their guidance in relation to the wearing of masks by the public. Veterinary Clinics in areas where community transmission is still considered to be occurring may consider asking clients to wear masks (ideally 3-layered) upon entry to the surgery.  This is a risk-based assessment, so may not be necessary for your clinic - depending on where you are located.  You can read the WHO advice here.

The AVA COVID-19 Working Group includes representatives from AVPH, ASAV, VBG, ACV, EVA, AVBIG, AVAWE, AVCB, APV and VERA. We also have advisors from the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment, Wildlife Health Australia and the Animal Health Committee.

The Working Group has produced numerous resources giving guidance to veterinarians on how to minimise risk of infection and safely manage their businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.  These resources can be accessed on the AVA website at the following link: https://www.ava.com.au/coronavirus/

We are enormously grateful to our volunteer members and advisors for their hard work and expertise.

Melanie Latter
Head of Policy and Advocacy 

Julia Crawford
AVA Board member and Chair, COVID-19 Working Group

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