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A controlled operation

Operations Centre coordinates District’s COVID-19 response.

Graphic; COVID-19 Operations Centre text on blue background
SydneyConnect Image: Operations Centre

A coronavirus pandemic wasn’t something anyone could have predicted, but a situation like the one we’re responding to now is something we plan for in Health.

Sydney Local Health District’s Operations Centre was set up on March 10 in response to the increasing spread of COVID-19 in our community.

The Operations Centre is a control point to coordinate all activities in the District to streamline processes, fast-track priority actions and compile information and reports. It acts as a central point for questions from and information going to staff, external agencies and partners, including emergency services and the Minister for Health.

“We work under the Incident Control System (ICS) model. The centre is broken up into five functional groups covering operations, planning, logistics, communications and finance. Our Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson, is the Incident Controller,” said the District’s Disaster Manager, Sven Nilsson.

In just a few weeks since March 10, the District set up nine specialised COVID-19 testing locations, implemented screening of all staff and visitors entering hospitals, redeployed staff to provide additional support in key areas and repurposed wards into additional intensive care units at RPA, Concord and Canterbury.

The Operations Centre has two briefings daily, with the members working virtually wherever possible.

“Our Executive is familiar with the set up because we hold regular training exercises at our hospitals, working with Police and other emergency services to prepare for incidents that require a highly coordinated and rapid response,” Sven said.

“Those exercises have helped prepare us to work in this (ICS) structure which allows us to continue to respond to the changing needs of our hospitals, patients, staff and community in the fight against COVID-19.”