Prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks

Last Updated: 19 Sep 2022 9:33am

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Planning and being prepared for COVID-19 outbreaks in your workplace or setting will help you respond well and fast. That will help protect the people in your setting and minimise disruption.

Best practice preparedness for outbreaks

Best practice preparedness for outbreaks is to:

  1. Encourage all staff to be up to date with vaccination against COVID-19
  2. Develop a policy on how to manage workers who are close contacts and the conditions under which they can attend the workplace.
  3. Make sure your workplace has enough facemasks available for workers, if required
  4. Optimise ventilation in your workplace
  5. Identify the person who will lead an outbreak response in your setting and be the main contact person for Public Health
  6. Consider how you will continue business safely if there are high levels of staff absenteeism
  7. Have a plan for staff to work from home (if they can) during outbreaks, and how this plan will be put in place
  8. Plan how you will tell with your workers and clients about an outbreak linked to your setting
  9. Review existing health screening processes (if these are in place)
  10. Be familiar with the Case and Outbreak Management Framework for Tasmanian Settings
  11. Maintain a Case and outbreak management plan for your setting. This is particularly important for high-risk residential care settings, other high risk and priority settings, and large workplaces.

If your business provides or supports accommodation for staff and/or customers, identify appropriate premises where cases can isolate to stop the spread of illness. Industries are expected to provide their own accommodation for cases.

COVID-19 Case and Outbreak Management Plans

A case and outbreak management plan outline how your workplace will respond to a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace or setting.

Before writing your Case and Outbreak Management Plan:

  1. Read the COVID-19 Case and Outbreak Management Framework for Tasmanian Settings. This will help you know what may be expected of your workplace. Also consider the needs of diverse groups within your setting, including people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or whose preferred language is not English.
  2. Review the Case and Outbreak Management Plan template

The template is a guide only. Change it according to the needs of your workplace. If you already have a Case and Outbreak Management Plan, use the template to check it is complete and up to date.

If your workplace or setting is small and not high-risk, you may not need a Case and Outbreak Management Plan. Check the Template to decide if a Plan will be useful for your workplace.

Accommodation

In industries that provide or support accommodation for their workers (for example, seasonal workers, miners) it is important to identify suitable premises for workers to isolate in if they test positive for COVID-19 or develop COVID-19 symptoms. Shared accommodation can result in many workers being infected in a short time. Industries are expected to provide their own safe accommodation for cases and contacts.

When planning and preparing for outbreaks, consider that those who test positive for COVID-19 should have their own room and bathroom. If there are multiple cases, those cases can isolate as a group, with shared bathroom facilities, if necessary.

Close contacts should not reside with people who have tested positive.

Close contacts should follow the rules for close contacts at that time and keep apart from other people as much as possible, especially people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (including people who are not vaccinated).

Some contacts, but not all, may develop COVID-19 and spread the virus to others before they get symptoms or test positive.

Close contacts who are not at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can be grouped together, away from workers who have not been exposed to the virus.

Resources

Case and Outbreak Management Framework for Tasmanian Workplaces and Settings

Outbreak Management Plan Template for Tasmanian Workplaces and Settings

Checklist: Preparing for COVID-19 case and outbreak management