Testing positive to COVID-19 – People with disability

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Last Updated: 20 May 2022 4:06pm

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This information is for people with disability living in the community.

For people with disability and disability service providers - if you have tested positive

Care is available for everyone with COVID-19 in Tasmania.

Public Health sends important information to people who test positive to COVID-19 by SMS text message. This includes information about needing to isolate away from other people to protect them from COVID-19, and how long you need to isolate for.

Public Health also sends a survey for people who test positive to COVID-19 to complete, so they can find out whether you are at risk of severe illness .

If you cannot safely isolate at home, contact the Public Health Hotline. Public Health and the Tasmanian Health Service will then work with you and your carer, if you have one, to decide the best place for you to isolate. The best place to isolate will depend:

  • on how sick you are
  • how sick you might get
  • where you live
  • whether you can isolate from other people at home safely.

Download an easy read fact sheet about what to do if you test positive to COVID-19.

For people with disability, their families, carers, and disability service providers - What happens to support if a person with disability tests positive?

When someone tests positive to COVID-19 they must isolate for at least 7 days from the date of the positive test result. They can leave isolation after 7 days if their symptoms have stopped. If they still have symptoms, they must remain in isolation for an extra three days. If they still have symptoms, they should seek advice from their doctor.

Most people who have tested positive to COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms and be able to recover in the own homes.

If it’s best for a person with disability to recover home and they choose to enrol in the COVID@home program, the COVID@home care team will work with them to provide safe and supportive healthcare remotely.

Support from informal carer:

If the person with disability who has tested positive to COVID-19 receives informal support from carers who they do not live with – such as a family member, friend or neighbour – the person with disability should decide with their carers how support will be provided while they are in isolation.

If the person with disability who has tested positive to COVID-19 receives informal support from carers who they do live with, the carers will be considered close contacts and need to follow close contact rules. They may continue to provide support if that is what the person with disability and their carers decide is best.

Support from disability support workers:

A person with disability who has tested positive to COVID-19 can continue receiving the support they need from a provider. However, support workers must wear full personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes N95 mask or equivalent, face shield, gown, and gloves.

If a person with disability tests positive, any of their support workers who meet the definition of a close contact need to follow close contact rules.

If the person with disability is an NDIS participant, they can contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 if they need to make changes to their plan or are having trouble sourcing services due to COVID-19.

Support can return to normal once the case meets the release from isolation criteria.

Support workers do not need to wear full PPE once the person with disability has been released from isolation, but are still required to wear face masks.

Information for disability service providers - Exemptions from quarantine for disability support workers

An exemption from quarantine may be sought for critical workers who have no symptoms of COIVD-19 and are fully vaccinated. Visit Registration for temporary exemption from quarantine – Disability for more information.

For people with disability, their families and carers, and disability service providers - What happens to support if a support worker or carer tests positive?

If a support worker tests positive, anyone they’ve supported or worked with who meets the definition of a close contact needs to follow the close contact rules. If a disability service provider support worker or carer tests positive, they must let their employer know. Their workplace should then contact public health or the disability emergency operations centre to seek further advice via email at disability.eoc@health.tas.gov.au.

A person with disability who is identified as a close contact of a support worker who has tested positive to COVID-19 will continue receiving support. However, support workers must wear full personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes N95 mask or equivalent, face shield, gown, and gloves.

Support from informal carer:

If a carer tests positive to COVID-19 and they do not live with the person with disability, the carer should decide with the person with disability how support will be provided while they are in isolation. They might decide to ask another family member, friend or neighbour to provide support instead or, if the person with disability also receives support from a disability service provider, see if it’s possible to increase support for a period of time.

If a carer tests positive to COVID-19 and they live with the person with disability, the person with disability will be considered a close contact. The carer may continue providing informal support, if the person with disability and carer decide that is best.

Support from disability support workers:

If the person with disability is an NDIS participant, they can contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 if they need to make changes to their plan or are having trouble sourcing services due to COVID-19.

See Outbreaks in a Disability Residential Supported Independent Living (SIL) Setting for information on if a resident or support worker in a SIL setting tests positive to COVID-19.

More information

If you are a person with disability, the family or carer of a person with disability, or a disability service provider and have any questions related specifically to COVID-19 support for people with disability, you can email disability.eoc@health.tas.gov.au

Easy Read – what to do if you test positive to COVID-19