Vic COVID-19 update: Advice for workforce close contacts
What you need to know
- New disability worker guidance has been released, detailing definitions of contacts and guidelines for providers
- Following exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, disability workers who are asymptotic and return a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for five days can return to work under specific guidelines
- Third vaccinations have been mandated for disability workers. Workers eligible for a third dose on or before 12 January have until 12 February to get vaccinated. Other disability workers will have until 12 March to receive their third dose
All staff demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms, or who have tested positive (either on a RAT or PCR test), should immediately isolate for seven days from the date of the positive test result.
All confirmed cases are automatically released from isolation on day seven after returning a positive test result, irrespective of symptoms and vaccination status.
Workplaces should discourage staff from returning to work, however, if they continue to have symptoms after seven days.
Staff who have tested positive are still required to receive their third vaccination once they are well enough to do so.
Returning to work as a close contact
The Victorian Government has announced limited exemptions from isolation requirements for disability workers who are COVID-19 close contacts. This is to assist with mitigating staffing shortages and has several requirements.
Asymptomatic close contacts who return a negative rapid antigen or PCR test may return to work if they choose, subject to the service provider's consideration of the risks in the service context.
If workers meet the definition of close contact, and it is agreed with their employer that they are to return to work, the following guidelines must be followed:
- Worker must travel directly to and from the premises where they are self-quarantining to the workplace, minimising contact with other persons
- When travelling to the workplace, they must not car-pool and where possible avoid public transport
- Must undertake daily COVID-19 rapid antigen testing and return a negative result prior to attending the workplace for five days following notification
- Must always wear a N95/P2 respirator when required to wear a face mask
- While in the workplace, they must not enter shared break areas (staff room or tearoom, where a mask is removed)
- Where practicable to do so, work in single location of facility