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Staying ahead of COVID-19

What you can do to reduce the risk and stop the spread of COVID-19.

As we continue to live with COVID-19, there are important steps you should take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself and those who are most at risk.

The risk of catching or passing the infection to others is higher if you are not up to date with your vaccinations, when you are in close contact with the person infected with COVID-19, lack basic hygiene, or if you spend time in poorly ventilated or crowded indoor settings.

Use the below advice to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.

  • There are things we can all do to make ourselves and others safer. As you live and work, remember these COVIDSafe principles:

    • Workplaces are open, however, employers are asked to consider arrangements that are appropriate for their workplace and employees based on individual requirements.
    • Carry a face mask when leaving home. Face masks are required for everyone aged 8 and above in some locations, including in sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities. See Face masks for more information.
    • We strongly recommend that you wear a face mask if you:
      • are on public transport
      • are indoors
      • have any COVID-19 symptoms
      • are with people who are at high risk to COVID-19
      • are in a space where you cannot physically distance.
    • There are no vaccination requirements for patrons to enter any venues, such as hospitality, retail, entertainment, or gyms. Vaccination requirements are still in place for select workers.
    • Schools, childcare centres, and early childhood education are open.
    • Get your next COVID-19 vaccine dose as soon as you are eligible. It is strongly recommended you have three doses of the vaccine for the best protection. Some people may be eligible for a fourth dose, while children 5-11 are recommended to have two doses. Book an appointment today at a state-run vaccination centre, GP, or pharmacy.
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, you must report your resultExternal Link and isolate.
    • If you have COVID-19, or you are a contact of someone who does, read Your COVID Checklist for what to do. You must follow the checklist, including isolating if required.
    • There are limits and restrictions on attending hospitals and care facilities. See below for more information.

    Visiting hospitals

    All workers and all visitors aged 8 and over must wear a face mask indoors, unless excepted.

    Hospitals may apply their own COVIDSafe settings based on local needs. Check in advance before visiting.

    Visiting care facilities

    There are no visitor caps for residential aged care homes.

    Visitors must be tested and receive a negative result before visiting a care facility through:

    • a rapid antigen test on the day of the visit. This test does not need to be taken at the care facility, or
    • a PCR test within 24 hours prior to the visit.

    Visitors who do not test can only enter the care facility for limited reasons:

    • end of life visit
    • urgent support for a resident’s immediate physical, cognitive, or emotional wellbeing, where it is not practicable for the person to undertake a rapid antigen test prior to entering the care facility
    • to provide professional patient care.

    You must wear a mask, unless excepted.

    The Essential Visitors List sets out the visitors permitted to access care facilities, including during outbreaks, and includes:

    • End-of-life support and visits
    • parents or guardians of the resident if they are aged under 18 years
    • parent, guardian (including guardians appointed by VCAT), partner, carer, support, or other named person of a resident who is aged 18 or over to provide emotional and social support
    • a person providing care and/or support for a resident’s physical, cognitive, social, or emotional wellbeing (including mental health support and support for people living with dementia)
    • nominated person in the case of a resident’s mental illness or incapacity
    • persons providing learning and/or training to support the resident’s care and/or discharge
    • interpreters or informal language support
    • contractors whose work requires on-site attendance
    • aged and disability care advocates
    • legal representatives of residents and persons with power of attorney for residents
    • volunteers in the Community Visitors Scheme.

    You must not visit a care facility to see residents if you:

    • tested positive for COVID-19
    • have COVID-19 symptoms
    • have had contact with a confirmed case outside the home and are waiting for a COVID-19 PCR test result.

    Care facilities include residential aged care facilities, alcohol and drug residential services, homelessness residential services, disability residential services including Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Services (DFATS), eligible Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) enrolled dwelling, secure welfare services, short-term accommodation and assistance dwellings, Supported Residential Services (SRS) and the Thomas Embling Hospital.

  • When organising or attending gatherings, consider ways to reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Take extra precautions if someone has a higher chance of developing severe illness or complications from COVID-19 (including those not up to date with their vaccinations).

    If after attending a gathering you learn you have COVID, or that someone you were with had COVID, follow the COVID Checklist to help keep yourself and others safe.

    Checklist for attending a gathering

    Follow these steps before and while you attend a small or large gathering:

    • ensure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination
    • take a rapid antigen test if you are visiting someone who is at a high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19
    • stay home if you are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
    • maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from each other
    • wear a face mask in a space (indoor or outdoor) where you cannot physically distance
    • spend more time outdoors than indoors. Avoid poorly ventilated spaced, crowded indoor settings and prolonged contact with others
    • clean your hands with soap and water regularly. Carry a hand sanitiser with you
    • always cover your cough and sneeze into a tissue or a bent elbow
    • keep a note of people you have visited in a gathering so you can contact them in case you get COVID-19.

    Checklist for hosts

    This checklist is essential for hosting events or group gatherings:

    • does your space/venue have ventilation? If it is an indoor gathering, have good ventilation with open doors and windows, and minimise your time to under four hours
    • avoid your guests being in close contact with each other - try to create ways for people to physically distance (1.5 metres)
    • do not share plates, glasses, or cutlery as this increases the risk of transmission
    • keep a list of people who attended your gathering in case this is needed for contact tracing purposes
    • make sure there is access to soap and water or sanitiser, especially after any physical contact with others, and before preparing, serving, and eating food
    • invited guests who feel unwell should get tested and quarantine until they receive a negative result. If you wish, look into options to have them join your event virtually
    • recommend those without symptoms take a rapid antigen test before arriving.
  • Hygiene

    Good hygiene is critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should be taking the following hygiene actions:

    • wash your hands regularly with for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
    • wash your hands when you get home, arrive at other people’s homes, at venues or at work
    • wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet
    • cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw it away and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • if you are wearing a face mask, leave it on
    • do not share drink bottles, glasses, crockery, or cutlery other than with people you live with
    • remember to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly.

    Face masks

    Face masks can stop or slow viruses spreading in the air when you talk, cough, sneeze and laugh. That’s why wearing a high-quality and well-fitted face mask can help protect you and those around you from COVID-19.

    For more information, see Face masks.

    Ventilation

    Bringing outdoor air into your home or business helps keep COVID-19 virus particles from accumulating inside. This reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission from one person to another.

    To find out more, see Ventilation.

    Maintain your physical distance

    • Greet people with a smile or wave - do not shake hands, hug, or kiss as a greeting.
    • Stay 1.5 metres away from people where you can.
    • Avoid crowds, especially indoors.
    • When waiting in line or walking through busy areas, be patient, give others space so they can give you yours.

Reviewed 22 September 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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