An Australian Study of Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19) in Elective Surgery

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected all parts of our society, including elective surgery. The Australian government and health experts believe it is now safe to resume elective surgery. We will collect some of your health information as part of a quality and safety monitoring project, and this will guide future policy decisions and help to improve the care of patients who undergo surgery in the future. This project does NOT involve any changes to your treatment.

What is the project?

We are testing 3,000 people for Coronavirus infection on the day of surgery, during June/July. This project is being done in collaboration with Monash University, Australian National University, and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Clinical Trial Network. This project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

Why are we doing the project?

As Australia relaxes the coronavirus restrictions, elective surgery will resume. It is important for hospitals, healthcare workers and patients to understand the number of patients that may be without fever or respiratory symptoms, but do have coronavirus. We expect that knowledge of coronavirus infection status would provide reassurance to nearly all participants, and healthcare workers. We do not expect many tests to be positive, because the rate of COVID-19 in the community is very low.

We also plan to check accuracy of swab and blood testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

What does participation involve?

Once you are under anaesthetic (“asleep”) we will take a nasal swab and a blood sample. We will then test these for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Your results will be kept confidential at all times, and you will be notified of your results. As you are currently well, you or the staff caring for you do not need to undertake any additional measures. When you return home you should follow the current advice for social distancing.

However, if your swab result is positive, we are required to notify this result to the local public health unit, and you may be placed in isolation during your hospital stay and at home.

For up to date information, refer to your local state government for the latest responses to the coronavirus pandemic.