What am required to do if one of my employees tests positive to COVID-19?
As an employer you have an obligation to the industry and your staff to ensure that you act swiftly and appropriately if you or a staff member tests positive to COVID-19. Under Government regulations, you also have an obligation to report the matter to WorkSafe.
For the avoidance of doubt, a number of industry participants are employers including Racing Victoria, Racing Clubs, Trainers, Jockeys and Other Service Providers.
Following are the various documents that an employer needs to complete in these circumstances. These must be completed as soon as possible after becoming aware of the positive case – moving quickly and accurately is absolutely critical.
EMPLOYER TO COMPLETE AND SEND TO DHHS:
For further information on DHHS requirements visit - https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/confirmed-case-workplace
EMPLOYER TO COMPLETE AND SEND TO WORKSAFE:
For further information on WorkSafe requirements visit - https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19
All people who arrive in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020 or think may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
You must also self-isolate if you have been in a COVID Hotspot – please refer to the “What do I do if I have attended or spent time in a COVID Hotspot?” section below.
What do I do if I have attended or spent time in a COVID hotspot?
If you have attended or spent time in any COVID Hotspot in the past 14 days, you are not permitted to attend any Victorian racecourse or licensed premises unless and until you have completed 14 days self-isolation upon arrival in Victoria AND you have obtained permission from the Stewards (the COVID Hotspot Protocol).
COVID Hotspot means any location (including a particular local government area, region, city or venue) identified by Racing Victoria (having regard to Federal and State Government advice) from time to time as a “COVID hotspot” due to the existence of community transmission or active COVID-19 cases (or both).
Please monitor the Racing Victoria website (refer media releases above), as well as State and Federal Government websites, for information regarding current COVID Hotspots. The Victorian DHHS has released further information about potential exposure sites within Victoria. To access the current list of these potential exposure sites (Case Locations and Outbreaks), click here.
The Northern Beaches of NSW, Greater Sydney, the NSW Central Coast, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains areas are considered COVID Hotspots. Anyone who has spent time in the Northern Beaches area, Greater Sydney or the NSW Central Coast on or from 11 December 2020 or the Wollongong or Blue Mountains areas on or from 27 December 2020 is subject to the COVID Hotspot Protocol set out above.
The local government areas of Brisbane City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Redland, Ipswich and Logan city councils are considered COVID Hotspots.
The Victorian Government has advised anyone who has been in, visited or travelled through any of these local government areas since 2 January should not leave those areas until at least Monday (11 January) and that those who have arrived in Victoria from these areas since 2 January should get tested, remain at home or place of accommodation until Monday (11 January), when a further assessment will be made – please monitor the Victorian Government website for up to date information.
If you have been in any of the above areas or a known Victorian public exposure site (refer link above) – or returned from any area of NSW on or from 1 January 2021 – you are directed to contact the Stewards immediately and to self-isolate – you will be required to submit a negative test before being permitted on-course or at any Victorian licensed premises.
The COVID Hotspot Protocol applies to all persons entering Victoria, regardless of their place of residence.
If you have any questions regarding the COVID Hotspot Protocol, including if you are unsure whether it applies to you, you should contact Racing Victoria to determine next steps.
What does self-isolate mean?
Where possible, you must self-isolate in a premises alone, and where that is not practicable, you must not reside with any person within a high risk profession (such as aged care, health care or food processing).
Self-isolate means staying at home and only leaving home for essential services or exercise; you must not have close contact with any person other than those you are residing with. This means you:
- do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
- ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
- do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
Upon request from Racing Victoria, you must provide reasonable information regarding your self-isolation, including your place of residence while in Victoria and occupation details of those you live with.
You do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
For more information, visit www.health.gov.au/covid19-resources
If I have been in a COVID Hotspot or otherwise asked to self-isolate, will I need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test?
In addition to the requirement to complete 14 days self-isolation (and any other requirement determined by the Stewards), Racing Victoria reserves the right to require you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result prior to permitting you to attend a Victorian racecourse or licensed premises where you have attended or spent time in a COVID Hotspot or otherwise been required to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, chills or sweats, runny nose, loss or change in sense of small or taste and shortness of breath. The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene and social distancing can prevent infection.
How can I help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and keeping your distance from others is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
- Cover your cough and sneeze (for example, by coughing or sneezing into your elbow), dispose of tissues, and wash your hands.
- If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people), get tested and self-isolate at home until the outcome of your test is known.
- Exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. Social distancing includes staying at home when you are unwell, avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people and minimising physical contact especially with people at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, such as older people and people with existing health conditions.
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness, runny nose, chills or sweats, loss or change in sense of smell or taste or shortness of breath), particularly within 14 days of arriving in Australia or having been in a COVID Hotspot, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment, get tested and self-isolate until the outcome of your test is known.
You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus.
You must remain isolated either in your home, hotel or a health care setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities. For information on what it means to self-isolate, please refer to the question above: “what does self-isolate mean?” and to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19
Who are considered vulnerable people?
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (refer here for more information) has identified the following people as being most at risk of becoming very sick from coronavirus:
- older people
- people with pre-existing medical conditions including those with diabetes, chronic lung disease, kidney failure and people with low or suppressed immune systems.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people living with HIV
What are the key health contacts?
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au
or to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor.
Where do I go for information on Government support?
Following are some of the key online information sources from the Australian and Victoria Governments for businesses and individuals seeking up-to-date information and support during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic:
Outside of Government services, the major banks are important contact points for businesses and individuals. Following are links to COVID-19 coronavirus information pages developed online by the major banks: