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Confirmed case in the workplace

Information and advice for businesses who have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.

Key points

  • People who get tested should stay home until they get their results. 
  • People who do not have symptoms must also isolate after testing unless specifically told otherwise the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • If a worker finds out if they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and attended the workplace while potentially infectious, they must notify their employer.  
  • Workers must notify their employer if they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and attended the workplace while potentially infectious.
  • If an on-site worker tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), employers must follow the steps below to protect workers, contractors, visitors, customers and the wider community from potential transmission.
  • Employers must notify the department of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Penalties apply for failing to do so.
  • Download the Confirmed case in workplace information pack (ZIP) for step-by-step instructions and the documents you must complete should there be a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. 

What employers need to do if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace

As an employer, when you become aware of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at your workplace, you must respond quickly to limit further exposure and contain potential outbreaks.

If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at your workplace, you must:

Immediately

  1. Direct the worker to return home and isolate immediately, whether or not they have symptoms. Once home, the worker must wait for further instructions from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
  2. Notify the department by completing the Employer COVID-19 notification form (Word) and emailing covidemployernotifications@dhhs.vic.gov.au. If DHHS has not contacted you within 24 hours of notification please call 1300 651 160.
  3. Notify your workers, suppliers and customers that there is a confirmed positive case.
  4. Notify WorkSafe and other relevant industry bodies.

Within 48 hours

  1. Complete the Workplace risk assessment (Word).
  2. Identify workplace close contacts by completing the Close contact spreadsheet (Excel).Your immediate action assists DHHS with contact tracing. DHHS will review the spreadsheet to confirm and identify any additional close contacts.
  3. Submit the Workplace risk assessment (Word) and Close contact spreadsheet (Excel) by emailing:
    covidemployernotifications@dhhs.vic.gov.au
  4. Notify identified close contacts – ask them to quarantine and watch for symptoms. DHHS will also contact close contacts to explain what they need to do, offer assistance, and support them throughout their quarantine period.
  5. Consider closing or vacating the workplace if required. DHHS will work with you on the measures you need to take and advise when it is safe for your business to reopen.
  6. Deep clean the workplace or areas identified in the Workplace risk assessment.

For more detailed instructions see the Confirmed case checklist (Word).

If you need help with any of these steps, please call DHHS on 1300 651 160.

Confirmed case in workplace information pack

The confirmed case workplace information pack contains more information about your obligations as an employer and how to complete the steps listed above.

Please read these documents first:

Then complete these documents:

You can also download the Confirmed case in workplace information pack (ZIP), which contains all the documents listed above as well as posters and letter templates for businesses who need to close for deep cleaning.

How should I notify DHHS of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in my workplace?

You only need to notify DHHS when there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19). Complete the Employer COVID-19 Notification Form (Word) and email it to covidemployernotifications@dhhs.vic.gov.au. If DHHS has not contacted you within 24 hours of notification, please call 1300 651 160.

For more information, see What employers need to do if there is a confirmed case in your workplace.

What will happen after I notify DHHS of a confirmed case in my workplace?

DHHS will review the information you have provided and contact you promptly to confirm details and ensure all required public health actions are being taken.

DHHS will ask you to contact WorkSafe, if you haven’t already done so, and any other relevant bodies for your sector. WorkSafe may provide further directions that you must comply with.

DHHS will work with you, as the employer, to determine any additional measures to take and to determine when it is safe to reopen (if you are required to close the worksite). Typically, workplaces can reopen after all confirmed cases and close contacts have gone into isolation and quarantine, deep cleaning has been completed, and any additional measures have been implemented.

DHHS will also contact all close contacts, who must quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts must not attend work while they are in quarantine.

It is important that you communicate with workers, contractors, visitors, customers and other stakeholders after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at your workplace. You should advise workers to get tested immediately if they start to feel unwell. More information is available in the Confirmed case in workplace information pack (ZIP).

What will DHHS do if one of my workers tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

DHHS will:

  • tell you if the worker attended work during their infectious period
  • provide guidance on the next steps you must follow, including using the Close contact spreadsheet (Excel) and Workplace risk assessment (Word) to identify:
    • workplace close contacts of the worker who tested positive
    • sites or areas of a site attended by the worker who tested positive
  • tell you if you need to partially or completely close the worksite, and when you can reopen.

What should I do if a worker develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but has not been tested yet?

You must direct the worker to travel home immediately and get tested as soon as possible. If they can’t travel immediately, they should be isolated in a separate room until they can travel home. They must wear a fitted face mask. Tell them to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) as soon as possible and to stay at home until they receive their test results. For more information about testing, including where to get tested, visit Getting tested

The workspace and/or areas in the work premises frequently used by the worker, as well as other high-touch surfaces in areas where they work (such as door handles and kitchen facilities) should be cleaned. 

You do not need to vacate the workplace for cleaning, if one or two workers with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified. If three or more workers have been identified with symptoms within a five-day period, undertake a Workplace risk assessment (Word) to determine what you need to do.

For more information, read the Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (Word).

How do I help DHHS identify and notify close contacts?

To identify the close contacts of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), consider who they may have had close contact with during their infectious period. This could include other workers, contractors, visitors or anyone else at the workplace. To do you this, you could check rosters, time sheets, sign-in sheets and visitor logs.

This information will help DHHS with contact tracing.

You only need to identify and notify workplace contacts. DHHS will identify all other close contacts (for example, the person’s family and personal close contacts).

Close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact, or being within 1.5 metres of a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), for more than 15 minutes; or
  • sharing a closed space for more than two hours during a person’s infectious period.

The infectious period is 48 hours before the person’s symptoms start (or if they did not have symptoms, 48 hours before they were tested).

Close contact is cumulative. For example, a person who spent 4 minutes, then 2 minutes, then 10 minutes during a shift with a confirmed case while they are infectious would count as a close contact, even if there was time between those short periods of contact.

Record the details of close contacts in the Close contacts spreadsheet (Excel) and provide this to DHHS for review. This information will help DHHS to act quickly and limit the spread of the virus in the workplace.

To notify close contacts, you should call them and explain the need to quarantine for 14 days since their last contact with the person with coronavirus (COVID-19) during their infectious period. DHHS will also contact the identified close contacts to explain what they need to do, see if they need any help, and stay in touch throughout their quarantine period.

You should not disclose the identity of the person with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) to other workers unless the person has given you permission to do so.

For more information on identifying and notifying close contacts, see Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (Word)

What happens if a worker finds out they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) while at work?

People who have been tested should stay home until they get their results. People who do not have symptoms must also isolate after testing unless specifically told otherwise by the Department of Health and Human Services.

However, if a worker finds out they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) while at work, they must immediately go directly home and isolate If the worker is unable to leave work immediately, support them to isolate at work, preferably in a separate room. They must wear a fitted face mask and remain at least 1.5 metres from others at all times.

The worker should drive themselves home by private transport where possible. If an existing close contact drives the confirmed case, they should both wear a fitted face mask, the case should sit in the back seat, and wash or sanitise their hands before and after being in the vehicle. They should not be driven by anyone who is not already a close contact, and not travel by taxi, rideshare or public transport. If the confirmed case is unable to get home without exposing others, they should call 1300 651 160 for non-emergency patient transport to be organised. They should not travel by public transport.

If possible, give the worker the What to do if you've tested positive coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet (Word) . This factsheet is available in over 50 languages at Translated resources – coronavirus (COVID-19).

When can a worker who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) return to work?

Anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) must stay at home until they receive formal clearance after a case clearance interview DHHS. DHHS will call them to explain what this means, when they can return to work and answer any questions they may have.

The case clearance interview generally happens after 10 days. Many cases will isolate for longer than 10 days, depending on their symptoms.

A case is cleared by DHHS when they are no longer considered infectious. However, they might need more time away from work after they are cleared, as even though they are no longer infectious, they may not feel well enough to return to work. As their employer, you should support them to do so.

When can a worker who is identified as a close contact return to work?

Workers who are close contacts can return to work when they have:

  • completed their 14-day quarantine period
  • no symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • been tested on day 11 or after of their quarantine period, and
  • returned a negative test result.

What is a ‘risk assessment’? And as a business owner, when am I required to complete one?

A Workplace risk assessment (Word) helps you to determine the actions you need to take if there is a confirmed case or multiple suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

You are required to complete a risk assessment when:

  • a person with coronavirus (COVID-19) attended work during their infectious period. The infectious period is defined as 48 hours before the person started to develop symptoms (or if they did not have symptoms, 48 hours before their positive test)

You must complete a Workplace risk assessment (Word) for each identified suspected or confirmed case.

For more information on when and how to complete a risk assessment, see Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (Word).

What financial support is available to workers who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If a worker tests positive, they must isolate until DHHS advises them to stop isolating. Victorian workers may be eligible for a $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment.

What financial support is available to my business?

A range of assistance is available from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Business Victoria’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and financial assistance finder asks you a series of questions to help you find the assistance available to you based on your circumstances.

Use the finder to check your eligibility for support and financial assistance.

What other resources are available to support my business?

The following resources will help you meet your obligations as a business owner under current restrictions.

You can call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for additional support.

Posters and letter templates for businesses closed for deep cleaning

How do I reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) in my workplace?

To reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace, employers should:

  • have a COVIDSafe Plan or High Risk COVIDSafe Plan
  • keep a record of each person who attends the premises for more than 15 minutes, including workers, to support contact tracing
  • provide and promote hand sanitiser and regular hand washing, including at building entrances
  • increase environmental cleaning, including between changes of workers
  • clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant at least twice a day: including desks, doors and door handles, keyboards and lifts, including lift buttons and handrails
  • provide adequate supplies in change rooms so workers do not share items such as towels and soap bars, and encourage workers to wash their hands after changing, and regularly during work
  • open windows and adjust air conditioning to enhance airflow; ensure the highest hygiene practices are in place among food handlers and canteen workers
  • make sure everyone at the workplace carries a face mask. Wearing a face mask is only mandatory on public transport, while in taxis or ride share vehicles, or when in large retail venues, including shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores. Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended indoors and outdoors when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people.
  • avoid enclosed spaces, if possible
  • create workforce bubbles, to limit the number of crossover and contact between workers, shift periods and workplace areas
  • purchase supplies to help prevent infection – for example, alcohol sanitisers and soap.

For more detailed advice, visit the how to prevent infection in the workplace page.

Reviewed 20 December 2020

Coronavirus Victoria

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria hotline provides information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15

Contact Business Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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