CHANGES TO THE COVID-19 ISOLATION
Key Member Takeaways
· Update to the Critical Workers list for isolation exemption.
· COVID-testing is no longer mandatory on the 6th day of isolation.
· New isolation exemptions for “close contacts” and “household contacts”.
· Changes to the self-isolation requirements below took place on 28 March 2022.
1) Pursuant to the updated Public Health Order (“PHO”), the following testing and isolation requirements are applicable:
Defined as a person who:
a) notified by or on behalf on NSW Health or a pathology laboratory the person has tested positive to COVID-19, or
b) has become aware the person has tested positive to COVID-19 as a result of a Rapid Antigen Test (“RAT”).
7 days isolation (at the person’s residence or a place determined by the authorities) commencing on the day of testing.
Unless otherwise advised, a person may leave isolation after 7 days without a further COVID-19 test.
A diagnosed person must, immediately after becoming aware the person has tested positive to COVID-19, take reasonable steps to notify the following persons of the positive test (but only if it is reasonably practicable to do so):
(a) the diagnosed person’s employer or a person who engages the diagnosed person as a contractor for services,
(b) any person who resides with the diagnosed person,
(c) 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 Fact Sheet,
(d) if the person became aware the person has tested positive to COVID-19 as a result of a rapid antigen test—the Chief Executive Officer of Service NSW,
(e) 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.
See also exceptions in paragraph 4 below.
Defined as a person:
· likely to have come into contact with a diagnosed person
· at risk of developing COVID-19.
This includes someone (“Household Contact”) who resides with a Diagnosed Person.
Must isolate immediately upon becoming aware of being a close contact and the isolation period will end in either one of the following ways:
1) For anyone that has tested positive, 7 days from the day of a positive COVID test;
2) 7 days from the day being directed in writing to isolate by or on behalf of an authorised contact tracer.
See also exceptions in paragraphs 4 and 5 below.
All other contacts
Monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, undertake a RAT or PCR test. If positive, follow the self-isolation requirements of a diagnosed person.
If you have symptoms
Obtain a RAT or PCR test if you have symptoms at any time. If positive, follow the self-isolation requirements of a diagnosed person.
2) “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.
3) The PHO no longer requires employers to notify SafeWork NSW when becoming aware that a worker has contacted COVID-19. However, the Work, Health & Safety laws in NSW require Employers to notify SafeWork NSW when a worker has been hospitalised or has died due to (or likely due to) contracting COVID-19 at the workplace.
4) Exemption for a critical worker: A close contact who is critical worker is exempted from the above isolation requirements for the purpose of attending work subject to the following conditions:
(a) Critical workers must only attend work if approved by or on behalf of their employer for the purpose of the exemption.
(b) Critical workers must travel directly to and from their home and their workplace(s). They cannot leave home for other purposes.
(c) Critical workers must wear a mask at all times in the workplace, unless eating or drinking or if the mask needs to be removed for safety reasons.
(d) Critical workers must undergo daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) for a period of 7 days from when they last had contact with the diagnosed person, and must notify their employer of each result.
(e) Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 following a RAT must immediately self-isolate for 7 days.
(f) Notwithstanding a negative RAT result, if a critical worker develops any symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately self-isolate and may only return to work with evidence of a negative PCR test taken after the onset of symptoms.
(g) Critical workers must comply with any other reasonable measures put in place by their employer to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (see below).
(h) For more information on who is considered a Critical Worker, click here.
Members should note that there are very limited circumstances where their employees would be considered a critical worker and exempt from the self-isolation requirements as many Members will fall outside of the industries provided in the Critical Worker Exemption List.
5) Exemptions for close or household contacts: If you are a “close” and/or “household” contact, you are exempt from the isolation requirements in paragraphs 1 and 2 above if:
(a) you have previously tested positive to Covid-19 and it has not been more than 12 weeks since you completed your self-isolation period; or
(b) you are a "household" contact and have tested negative to Covid-19 and it has not been more than 14 days since you completed your 7-day self-isolation period due to being a household contact of another diagnosed person.
If a Member has any question or query then please contact the MTA NSW Employment Relations Department at P: (02) 90169000 or at E:[email protected]