Updated: 10 July 2020
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The COVID‐19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2, has emerged as a public health emergency and challenged healthcare systems globally. In a minority of patients SARS‐CoV‐2 manifests with a severe acute respiratory illness and currently there is insufficient data regarding the virulence of COVID‐19 in inflammatory bowel disease patients taking immunosuppressive therapy. This review aims to summarise the current literature and provide guidance on the management of inflammatory bowel disease patients in the context of the COVID‐19 pandemic in the Australasian setting.
Access the article in the Wiley Online Library here.
As is being demonstrated in Melbourne, we remain in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is highly probable there will be an increase in cases in other locations following opening of State borders. Infection control and health authorities will provide updated advice on local population prevalence and risk profiles. At this time, it is particularly important that we do not become complacent in respect of the use of appropriate PPE. Whereas our focus is heightened in areas of high population prevalence and significant community spread, guideline compliance is just as important in low prevalence regions due to potential transmission of SARS CoV-2 from asymptomatic carriers. Endoscopists and endoscopy units are referred to the GESA guidelines.
Download the update and PPE Advice here.
The public health measures instituted by the Australian and New Zealand governments have been very successful in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Currently, there are very low numbers of new cases being diagnosed each day despite one of the highest per capita testing rates in the world. This suggests that there are very low rates of community transmission currently. This means that we are in the fortunate position where plans are being or already have been made in most jurisdictions to re-open schools. As schools are being re-opened our recommendation now is that it is safe for all siblings and the vast majority of paediatric IBD patients to return to school.
Download the GESA statement of advice here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a disruption of medical care for patients with chronic diseases. Patients with chronic liver diseases represent a particularly vulnerable population and their care can be negatively impacted during this pandemic, both directly and indirectly. Several international societies including AASLD and EASL have issued guidelines on how to manage patients with chronic liver diseases during the different phases of this pandemic. The broad principles for the management of liver diseases in the Australian context moving forwards from May 2020 are summarised in this statement.
Download the GESA statement of considerations here.
On April 29, 2020, the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) of the Australian Department of Health published guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak, providing nationally-consistent advice on the appropriate use of PPE. GESA has now released an updated statement regarding PPE use during endoscopic procedures and SARS-CoV-19 transmission.
Download the GESA statement here.
GESA’s Infection Control in Endoscopy (ICE) Committee has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICE Committee is a multi-society, multi-disciplinary Committee with expertise in GI Endoscopy, GI Endoscopy Nursing, Infection Prevention and Control, Infectious Diseases and Sterile Processing. Endoscopic reprocessing is at the core of safe and efficient endoscopy practice. The ICE Committee considers the safety of all patients in endoscopy units and personnel involved in instrument reprocessing a priority.
Download the GESA recommendation statement here.
After a meeting of the National Cabinet on 21 April 2020 the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison, announced a relaxation of restrictions on elective endoscopic and surgical procedures. As of Monday 27 April all category 1, 2 and “some important Category 3” procedures can be considered for triaging onto a procedure list. Therefore the GESA Endoscopic Procedure Triage Guide, which was released on 26 March, will not need to be adhered to from Monday 27 April. Endoscopists and endoscopy units throughout the country should adhere to existing protocols in defining category 1, 2 and 3 procedures and surgeries. It is essential to note that restrictions on case numbers remain.
Download the updated GESA recommendation statement here.
GESA Research and Grants Committee Chair, Nina Tirnitz-Parker, and GESA President, Simone Strasser, have prepared a statement regarding the severe impact on all research activity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download the statement here
GESA Paediatric Network Chair, Edward Giles, and GESA President, Simone Strasser, have prepared a statement of principles for clinicians caring for paediatric gastroenterology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download the statement of principles here
In light of the disruptive times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the GESA Board and the Colonoscopy Recertification Committee have resolved to suspend the Colonoscopy Recertification Program until at least 30 September 2020.
Read the statement here
The GESA IBD Faculty, in collaboration with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), has developed this guidance for Clinicians caring for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations are developed according to feedback and advice from expert committees and consumer organisations.
Download the GESA statement Principles for Clinicians caring for Patients with IBD during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GESA IBD Faculty, in collaboration with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), has developed this guidance for people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support endoscopists and health systems in appropriately restricting endoscopic procedures, GESA provides the following triage guide.
This guide considers the probably of detection of clinically significant pathology necessary to inform patient management in the short term, the potential role of endoscopic procedures causing staff and/or other patient exposure and resource utilisation, particularly of PPE.
The COVID-19 pandemic has particular implications for the safety and wellbeing of staff and patients involved in endoscopic procedures. Recommendations are emerging from multiple organisations, including the US Joint GI Societies (AGA, AASLD, ACG and ASGE) and the Australian Society of Anaesthetists, among others. In addition, various public and private facilities in Australia are starting to restrict access to elective endoscopic procedures to avoid unnecessary exposure of staff and patients to the novel coronavirus.
Download the GESA statement of recommendations for all medical and nursing staff involved in endoscopic practice Considerations for Australian Endoscopy Units During the COVID-19 Pandemic - updated 20 March 2020.
Cases of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) are rapidly increasing in the Australian community as they are in most countries around the world. Information about this new viral infection is rapidly changing and it is important to stay up to date with advice from federal and state-based departments of health.
Download the GESA statement Impact of COVID-19 for GI and Liver patients - updated 19 March 2020.
https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus (Western Australia)
https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/tasmanian_infection_prevention_and_control_unit/healthcare_worker_education/proper_use_of_personal_protective_equipment (includes videos for donning and doffing PPE)
http://cec.health.nsw.gov.au/keep-patients-safe/infection-prevention-and-control/Coronavirus-COVID-19/standard-and-transmission-based-precautions-including-ppe (includes videos for donning and doffing PPE)