Changes To Self-Isolation Requirements




Key Member Takeaways

  • New definition of a “close contact”.

  • New COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements.

1. On 31 December 2021 the NSW Government announced that they will immediately adopt nationally consistent principles (“national principles”) for the definition of a close contact and isolation periods for COVID-19 positive cases.

2. These principles are now in part outlined in the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order 2021 ("the Order"), as well as contained in the Fact Sheets contained on the Department of Health Website. The following contact and isolation arrangements currently apply to all people, regardless of vaccination status:

 

Diagnosed person
 
In accordance with the Order,  is defined as a person notified by or on behalf on NSW Health or a pathology laboratory the person has tested positive to COVID-19.

Obligations and Actions
 
7 days isolation (at the person’s residence or a place determined by the authorities) commencing on the day of the day the person undertook the positive COVID-19 test, unless otherwise advised by or on behalf of NSW Health or a medical practitioner that the person may stop isolating earlier than 7 days from the day the person undertook the test.
 
People in this category must take precautions (mask etc) and avoid high risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care for a further 3 days.
 
Must take reasonable steps to notify:

  • the diagnosed person’s employer or a person who engages the diagnosed person as a contractor for services,

  • any person who resides with the diagnosed person,

  • any person who has been in contact with the diagnosed person in a way that might result in the person being at risk of developing COVID-19 as identified in the Testing Positive to COVID-19 Factsheet,

  • if the diagnosed person is a student—the head of the diagnosed person’s educational institution or a staff member identified by the institution for receiving notifications of COVID-19 cases.

 
 

Close contacts
 
In accordance with the Order, is defined as a person notified by an authorised contract tracer as:

  • likely to have come into contact with a person with COVID-19, and

  • at risk of developing COVID-19.

In accordance with the Order, a person who resides with the diagnosed person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (“household contact”) is also a close contact, only where the:

  • household contact has been notified by the diagnosed person that they have tested positive to COVID-19; and

  • the household contact has not been issued a direction to self isolate by or on behalf of a contract tracer.

 
In accordance with the national principles, is also defined as:

  • where more than four hours of exposure has occurred in a residential setting; and

  • contacts in a setting where Health has determined there to be a high level of transmission.

 

Obligations and Actions
 
7 days isolation from the day of exposure, and obtain a PCR test as soon as possible.
 
High risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care should be avoided for a further 7 days.
 
A rapid antigen test (RAT) is required at Day 6 before leaving isolation and, if positive, must be followed by a PCR test.
 
People in this category whilst in isolation must not

  • Leave the residence except for the purpose of obtaining medical care, including a test for COVID 19, or medical supplies

  • permit another person to enter the residence unless it is the other persons usual place of residence, or is a person providing disability support, or for the purpose of delivering food or essential items

 
 

All other contacts
 
 

Monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, undertake a PCR test. If positive, must be followed by a PCR test.
 

If you have symptoms
 

Obtain a PCR test if you have symptoms at any time. If positive, must be followed by a PCR test.
 

3.     “Self-isolation” means a person must:
(a)     not leave the residence or place except—
(i)      for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies, or
(ii)      in another emergency situation, and
(b)     not permit another person to enter the residence or place unless—
(i)      the other person usually lives at the residence or place or the other person is also complying with a direction under the Public Health Order, or
(ii)      the entry is for medical or emergency purposes, or
(iii)     the person in self-isolation is a person with a disability to whom supports are provided and the entry is for the purposes of providing essential support services, or
(iv)     the person in self-isolation is an aged care consumer and the entry is for the purposes of providing essential support services, or
(v)     the entry is to a place, other than a residence, for the purposes of delivering food or essential items, and
(c)     otherwise comply with the NSW Health self-isolation guideline.
 
 
4. Employers are required to notify SafeWork NSW within 24 hours if becoming aware that a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 and if the employer is aware that the worker:

  • contracted COVID-19, or is likely to have contracted COVID-19, at the workplace; or

  • attended the workplace while infected with COVID-19.

 
Members should be aware that in the view of MTA NSW where a worker is diagnosed with COVID -19 whether by operation of a Rapid Antigen Test or PCR test they are required to notify SafeWork NSW.
 
Members should also be aware that at present neither the Order or the Department of Health Website provides any definitive guidance as to the legal obligations surrounding the taking or administering of Rapid Antigen Tests. MTANSW will keep members updated as changes are released.

If a Member has any question or query then please contact the MTA NSW Employment Relations team at P: (02) 9016 9000 or at E: [email protected]
 



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