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What is the COVID Positive Pathways Program?

COVID Positive Pathways provides care and support at home for Victorians diagnosed with COVID-19.

The program is delivered by Victorian hospitals, community health services (including collaboration with Aboriginal health services), GPs and other providers, and coordinated by the Victorian Department of Health.

COVID Positive Pathways makes sure you are cared for in the best possible place, whether at home or in a hospital bed, depending on your personal needs.

The program also connects you to other important services you may need while sick, including emergency accommodation, food relief, and alcohol, drug, mental health and family violence support services.

How will I be registered for the program?

If you test positive on a rapid antigen test (RAT), you will complete a short survey on your care and support needs when you report your positive result. You can report your result using an online formExternal Link or via the Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398. It is important to report your RAT so you can be supported to get the best care for your COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19 on a PCR test, you will receive a text message from the testing laboratory confirming your diagnosis.

You will receive a second text message from the Department of Health. It will include a link to a short survey to assess your care needs.

The RAT and PCR assessment surveys will ask you about:

  • your vaccination status
  • your symptoms
  • your general health.

Based on your survey responses, you will receive a text message from the Department of Health. This message will let you know whether you have been allocated to the COVID Positive Pathway program, or if you are able to safely manage your COVID symptoms at home without extra support. If you have been allocated onto the program, you will receive additional text messages and/or follow-up phone calls from your local health service to clarify your care and support needs while you have COVID-19.

Your care will be personalised for your needs and circumstances, and if your condition changes over the course of your illness you may be moved to a different care pathway.

It is important to report a positive RAT, complete the assessment surveys and answer follow up calls so you can be connected to the right care pathway for your needs.

How will the COVID Positive Pathways Program help me?

Depending on the supports you need, you will be allocated to a specific care pathway. You will be told whether you are registered for a COVID Positive Pathway by text message after you complete the survey asking about how many vaccinations you’ve had, your age, symptoms and any other medical conditions.

Depending on your individual needs, you may not require care under a COVID Positive Pathway. The program is for people who are most likely to need care and support at home from their local health service while they have COVID-19. Most people can safely manage their COVID symptoms at home. See managing COVID at home for advice on how you can best do that.

COVID-19 medicines are now available for eligible Victorians who have COVID-19 to prevent them from getting sick and needing hospital care. To see if you may be eligible and for more information, visit COVID-19 medicines.

People who living in residential aged care facilities, justice settings and supported emergency COVID-19 accommodation such as hotel quarantine are not eligible for COVID Positive Pathways because they are already connected to settings that provide a high level of specialised care.

The different care pathways

  • Most people on a COVID Positive Pathway are allocated to a low-risk pathway.

    This care pathway is for people who are at a low-risk of needing significant medical care.

    On the low-risk pathway, you will be asked to monitor your symptoms daily. Depending on your care needs, you may also be asked to record and submit these details to your care provider using a web link or smartphone app.

    Checklist: I've been assigned the low-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Check your eligibility for medications to treat your symptoms on COVID-19 medicines.
    • Answer or return any text message surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Read the advice on managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home and Checklist for COVID cases.
    • If you become worried about your symptoms, contact a GP, GP Respiratory ClinicExternal Link or other contact details given to you by your health service.
    • Follow the advice of your care team.
    • If you develop chest pain or have difficulty breathing dial Triple Zero 000 immediately.
    • Let your friends, family or neighbours know you have COVID-19 so they can safely support you.
  • This care pathway is for people who are at medium-risk of needing significant medical care.

    Care on the medium-risk pathway will usually be provided by your local health service.

    If you are allocated to the medium-risk pathway, someone from your local health service may contact you regularly via phone calls, text messages and/or telehealth (video) consultations to provide the care and support you need. In some cases, they may also visit you at home.

    On the medium-risk pathway, you will be asked to monitor your symptoms. If you are having difficulties with breathing, you may also be given a device called a pulse oximeter to measure their heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Your care team will show you how to use this equipment.

    Checklist: I’ve been assigned the medium-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Check your eligibility for medications to treat your symptoms on COVID-19 medicines.
    • Answer or return any text message surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Read the advice on managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home and Checklist for COVID cases.
    • If you become worried about your symptoms, contact a GP, GP Respiratory ClinicExternal Link or other contact details given to you by your health service.
    • Follow the advice of your care team.
    • If you develop chest pain or have difficulty breathing dial Triple Zero 000 immediately.
    • Let friends, family or neighbours know you have COVID-19 so they can safely support you.

    Video: Monitor your COVID-19 symptoms using the Pulse Oximeter

  • The high-risk care pathway is for people with severe symptoms who need to be admitted for care in hospital.

    Checklist: I’ve been assigned the high-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Answer or return any text message surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Let a friend, family member or neighbour know you have COVID-19 and are being transferred to hospital.
    • Follow the advice of the clinical team managing your care.

Pathways for pregnancy

  • Pregnant women are assessed for their risk of needing significant medical care.

    You may not require care under a COVID Positive Pathway. The program is for people who are most likely to need care and support at home from their local health service while they have COVID-19. Most people can safely manage their COVID symptoms at home. See advice for pregnant women with COVID-19 for advice on how you can best do that.

    COVID-19 medicines are now available for eligible Victorians who have COVID-19 to prevent them from getting sick and needing hospital care. To see if you may be eligible and for more information, visit COVID-19 medicines.

    If you tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and have reported your positive result, you will receive at least one text message:

    • From the Department of Health, to let you know whether you have been allocated to the COVID Positive Pathways program or you are able to safely manage your COVID symptoms at home.
    • If you have been allocated onto the COVID Positive Pathway program, you will receive additional text messages and/or follow-up phone calls from your local health service to clarify and support your care needs while you have COVID-19.

    If your COVID-19 PCR test result is positive, you will receive at least three text messages.

    • From the testing laboratory, confirming your diagnosis.
    • From the Department of Health. It will include a link to a short survey to assess your care needs.
    • From the Department of Health, to let you know whether you have been allocated to the COVID Positive Pathways program or you are able to safely manage your COVID symptoms at home.
    • If you have been allocated onto the COVID Positive Pathway program, you will receive additional text messages and/or follow-up phone calls from your local health service to clarify and support your care needs while you have COVID-19.

    Your COVID-19 care will be personalised for your needs and circumstances. A GP can contact the COVID-19 Positive Pathways program if your care needs to change.

    Your maternity care will continue to be provided by your booked maternity service, private obstetrician or midwife, or GP. You must not attend appointments during isolation, unless your usual maternity provider asks you to do so. In most cases you will be seen via video-call or telephone calls.

    If you become concerned about your pregnancy or your baby while you have COVID-19, contact your maternity care provider.

    Vaccination is the best protection for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Vaccination is also safe for women who are breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant. You can be vaccinated once you have recovered from the acute phase of your COVID-19 illness. Speak to your GP or maternity care team for further advice.

Pathways for babies, children and young people 

  • Babies, children and young people are assessed for their risk of needing significant medical care.

    Most babies, children and young people who get COVID-19 will have mild symptoms or no symptoms. However, those with obesity or chronic heart, lung or neurological problems may become more unwell from COVID-19.

    Most children do not require care under a COVID Positive Pathway. The program is for children who are most likely to need care and support at home from their local health service while they have COVID-19. Most children can safely manage their COVID symptoms at home. See the Royal Children’s Hospital websiteExternal Link for advice on how to manage your child’s symptoms at home.

    COVID-19 medicines are now available for eligible Victorians who have COVID-19 to prevent them from getting sick and needing hospital care. To see if your child may be eligible and for more information, visit COVID-19 medicines.

    If your child tests positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and you have reported their positive result, you will receive at least two text messages:

    • From the Department of Health, to let you know whether your child has been allocated to the COVID Positive Pathways program or you are able to safely manage their COVID symptoms at home.
    • If your child has been allocated onto the COVID Positive Pathway program, you will receive additional text messages and/or follow-up phone calls from your local health service to clarify and support your child’s care needs while they have COVID-19.

    If your child’s COVID-19 test result is positive, you will receive at least three text messages:

    • From the testing laboratory, confirming their diagnosis.
    • From the Department of Health. It will include a link to a short survey to assess your child’s care needs.
    • From the Department of Health, to let you know whether your child has been allocated to the COVID Positive Pathways program or you are able to safely manage their COVID symptoms at home.
    • If your child has been allocated onto the COVID Positive Pathway program, you will receive additional text messages and/or follow-up phone calls from your local health service to clarify and support your child’s care needs while they have COVID-19.

    Your child’s care will be personalised for their needs and circumstances. A GP can contact the COVID Positive Pathways program if your child’s care plan needs to change.

  • This care pathway is for families with children who are at low risk of needing significant medical care.

    Parents and carers may be asked to monitor the child’s symptoms daily.

    Checklist: My child has been assigned the low-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Check your child's eligibility for medications to treat their symptoms on COVID-19 medicines.
    • Answer or return any text messages surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Review the Royal Children’s Hospital websiteExternal Link for advice on looking after your child at home.
    • If you become worried about your child's symptoms, contact and GP, GP Respiratory ClinicExternal Link or the contact details given to you by your health service.
    • Follow the advice of your child's care team.
    • If your child is struggling to breathe, looks very sick and becomes pale and drowsy or lips are blue in colour dial Triple Zero 000 for urgent medical attention.
    • Let friends, family or neighbours know your child has COVID-19 so they can safely provide support to you.
  • This care pathway is for families with children who are at medium risk of needing significant medical care.

    Care on this pathway will usually be provided by your local health service. You may receive regular contact by phone calls, text messages, and/or telehealth (video) consultations to provide care and support.

    Parents and carers may be asked to monitor the child's symptoms daily. Older children who are having trouble catching their breath may be provided with a device called a pulse oximeter that allows the measurement of heart rate and blood oxygen levels.

    Checklist: My child has been assigned the medium-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Check your child's eligibility for medications to treat their symptoms on COVID-19 medicines.
    • Answer or return any text message surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Review the Royal Children’s Hospital websiteExternal Link for advice on looking after your child at home.
    • If you become worried about your child's symptoms, contact a GP, GP Respiratory ClinicExternal Link or the contact details given to you by your health service.
    • Follow the advice of your child's care team.
    • If your child is struggling to breathe, looks very sick and becomes pale and drowsy or lips are blue in colour dial Triple Zero 000 for urgent medical attention.
    • Let friends, family or neighbours know your child has COVID-19 so they can safely provide support to you.
  • A very small number of Victorian children with COVID-19 (less than one per cent) will be allocated to the high-risk pathway.

    This pathway is for children who need to be admitted for care in hospital.

    Checklist: My child has been assigned the high-risk care pathway. What should I do next?

    • Answer or return any text message surveys or phone calls from your local health service.
    • Follow the advice of the clinical team managing your child's care.
    • For additional support, let a friend, family member or neighbour know your child has COVID-19 and is being transferred to hospital.

Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • COVID Positive Pathways ensures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria who test positive to COVID-19 are cared for in the best possible place, whether at home or in a hospital bed, depending on their personal needs and circumstances. Visit COVID-19 information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for additional information and resources.

    Importance of reporting your COVID-19 positive result

    It is important you test for COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or PCR test if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild the symptoms are.

    If you test positive for COVID-19 via a RAT:

    You are considered a positive COVID-19 case. It is vital that you report your result as soon as you can, so you can be put in touch with the best care to match your symptoms and medical history.

    You can report your positive RAT result by calling the Aboriginal COVID-19 Info Line on 1800 312 911, or filling out a form online, which includes an assessment survey, at the Reporting your result page.

    If you test positive on a PCR test at a testing site:

    You will be sent a text message from the Department of Health.

    It will include a link to a short survey to assess your care needs. It is vital that you complete the survey as soon as you can, so you can be put in touch with the best care to match your symptoms and medical history.

    The assessment surveys for people who test positive via a RAT or PCR test will ask you:

    • if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
    • your vaccination status
    • your symptoms
    • your general health.

    If you identify on the assessment survey that you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, you will be connected into the COVID Positive Pathways program.

    You will be contacted via phone call by your local health service or contracted call provider to assess your care and support needs. You may be given the option of being put in touch with your local or preferred Aboriginal health service if available.

    It is important to answer these calls so you can be connected to the right care pathway for your needs.

    COVID-19 medicines are now available for eligible Victorians who have COVID-19 to prevent them from getting sick and needing hospital care. To see if you may be eligible and for more information, visit COVID-19 medicines.

    People more likely to be eligible include those who:

    • Are 70 years or older, even if they don't have any symptoms or other health conditions
    • Have a weakened immune system, disability or congenital heart disease
    • Are 30 years or older and have other health conditions
    • Are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations
    • Live in an aged care residential facility or in a small rural or remote town.

    The COVID Positive Pathways program also connects you to other important services you may need while you're unwell, including emergency accommodation, food relief, and alcohol, drug, mental health and family violence support services.

    Resources

Clinician resources

View clinician resourcesExternal Link , information and guides for the care of patients in the COVID Positive Pathways program.

Reviewed 05 August 2022

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days. The COVIDSafe Information hotline diverts to the national hotline every day from 8pm to 8am.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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