Respond to COVID-19 outbreaks

Last Updated: 14 Sep 2022 3:29pm

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What workers with COVID-19 need to do

When someone tests positive COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or has a positive PCR result, they become a COVID-19 case. People who test positive with a RAT test must report their RAT result .

Under the Public Health Act 1997, people who test positive to COVID-19 must isolate at home or in another suitable place, for a minimum of five days from the positive test result. They must not attend high risk residential care settings listed under the Public Health Act 1997 (hospitals, residential aged care and residential disability care facilities) as workers or visitors, until at least seven days from testing positive.

Read more about what to do if you test positive.

What workers who are close contacts need to do

Workers are not considered close contacts unless they have had household-like exposure to a case/s for more than four hours, without wearing masks.

Under the Public Health Act 1997, workers who are close contacts need to

  • tell their employer/s that they are close contacts
  • test for COVID-19 every day they leave their home, for seven days from becoming a close contact
  • wear a face mask (unless exempt) in indoor settings outside the home
  • isolate and test as soon as they can, if they have symptoms
  • not visit residential care settings, hospitals or prisons.

* Employers may allow close contacts to work in high-risk settings, with risk controls according to the workplace risk assessment.

Read more about Advice for contacts.

The role of employers

  1. If the worker tests positive while in the workplace, tell them to go home to isolate for a minimum of five days from the day they tested positive and follow the checklist for positive cases
  2. All workers must wear a face mask on day 6 and 7, if attending work.
  3. Notify WorkSafe Tasmania, if the case may have been infected through work.
  4. While protecting the case’s right to privacy, advise other staff in the workplace to look out for symptoms. If they get any symptoms, even mild, they should isolate and get tested as soon as possible.
  5. Encourage people in the workplace to wear face masks. Face masks help slow the spread of COVID-19 and are especially important when workers cannot maintain physical distance from others in the workplace, and for people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  6. Continue to encourage COVID-safe behaviours including staying at home and getting tested if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, physical distancing, maximising ventilation, hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes.
  7. Ensure cleaning and disinfection of often-touched surfaces. Read about cleaning after a case.

Extra roles for high risk and priority settings

There are extra case and outbreak management roles for people managing residential care settings (including aged care, disability care, hospitals, specialist housing and homeless services) and education/early childhood settings.

For information on those additional roles, see Tasmanian Public Health best practice guidance specific to each sector.

What Public Health does

Public Health contacts cases by text message. This is to:

  • assess their risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • assess the risk to people around them, including if they have spent time in a high-risk setting where they could have spread COVID-19
  • provide instructions about isolation and informing their close contacts.

If you are concerned about the amount of COVID-19 in your workplace, call the Public Health Hotline to request advice from Public Health.

Resources

Checklist: Responding to a COVID-19 case or outbreak