Testing positive to COVID-19 – People with disability

Last Updated: 08 Sep 2022 11:59pm

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To help protect those most at risk of severe illness, residents and in-patients of listed high-risk residential facilities, including Residential Disability Facilities are required to remain in isolation for 7 days regardless of symptoms.

Some cases who do not live in high-risk residential facilities can be released from isolation five days after their first positive test.

People will be able to leave isolation after 5 days if:

  • all acute COVID-related symptoms have gone or have significantly resolved (e.g., cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath)

AND

  • they have NOT had a fever (or signs of fever such as chills or night sweats) for at least 24 hours.

If a person has symptoms on or after 5 days they must remain in isolation until they meet the above criteria.

Fever or respiratory symptoms that haven’t improved significantly could mean you are still infectious. That’s why it’s important to stay in isolation until you meet the criteria above.

Additional recommendations

There is a small risk that some individuals may still be infectious even after leaving isolation.

To minimise the small risk of transmission to those at risk of severe illness it is recommended that after leaving isolation recent cases continue to take additional precautions until 10 days after they tested positive, including:

  • wear a face mask when outside the home.
  • avoid non-essential attendance at all high-risk premises or contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease. This means that workers and visitors to residential disability settings who have been released from isolation MUST not visit any listed high-risk residential facility until after day 7 (even for the purposes of work).

Wearing a face mask

You don’t have to wear a face mask in Tasmania anymore, unless:

  • You are a close contact. If you are a close contact you must wear a face mask when you are inside, unless you are at home
  • It is during the 2 days after your release from isolation on day 5 (non-residents of high-risk residential facilities)
  • You are somewhere that has chosen to make wearing a mask a rule

You can keep wearing a mask if you want to and it is recommended if you are places where you cannot physically distance.

More information on wearing a mask.

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 on 1800 671 738. 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 COVID@homeplus Easy read.

For people with disability who do not live in a high-risk residential facility, 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 5 days from the date of the positive test result. If they still have symptoms they must continue to isolate and 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 their own homes.

If it’s best for a person with disability to recover at home and they choose to enrol in the COVID@homeplus, the COVID@homeplus 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 follow guidance from their employer on how to safely support the person with disability.

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 person who tested positive to COVID-19 meets the release from isolation criteria.

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.