COVID-19 Case & Outbreak Management

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Case & Outbreak Management

When a case or outbreak of COVID-19 is identified in a setting (e.g. workplace), Public Health Services works closely and quickly with the business or organisation responsible for that setting to stop the virus spreading.

Planning and preparations are important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within workplaces and to the wider community. Settings are classified as either a ‘priority setting’ or a ‘general setting’. Your planning and response responsibilities will vary depending on your setting. However, a vigorous and rapid response will help to protect lives and livelihoods.

When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they become a ‘confirmed case’. Public Health Services interviews the case to work out where they might have caught the virus and who they may have passed it on to.

If the confirmed case advises they spent time in your setting while they may have been infectious, Public Health will contact you.

Public Health will work with you. For example, they will:

  • advise about activating your outbreak management plan, if relevant
  • advise about safely managing a confirmed case or cases in your setting (e.g. for residential services) and liaise with health services about their care including potential transfer to an alternative setting
  • work with you to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus (‘close contact’) in your setting
  • phone those close contacts and instruct them to quarantine
  • advise on infections control and cleaning/disinfection requirements
  • advise on limiting access to setting
  • advise on communications with other people in or associated with your settings; and outbreak signage
  • talk with you to identify risks associated with the setting.

Planning and preparedness are important for all businesses and organisations. The COVID-19 Safety Plan helps you in this process. Additional documents have been prepared by Public Health Services to help those developing plans.

Priority Settings

Some settings need more planning than others. COVID-19 priority settings are places where:

  • people line in groups (residential facilities)
  • experience from around Australia and overseas shows the virus may spread quickly (e.g. abattoirs)
  • the management of cases and outbreaks may be complex (e.g. remote islands).

The following settings have been identified as ‘priority settings’ for the purposes of COVID-19 outbreak management planning.

Sector

Scope

Examples

Healthcare settings

  • Hospitals   with inpatients (i.e. overnight stays)
  • Ambulance   Tasmania

THS hospitals

Private hospitals

Aged care

  • Residential   aged care facilities (RACFs)
  • Retirement   villages

Prisons and correctional facilities

  • Prisons
  • Remand   and detention centres (residential)

Risdon Prison Complex

Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Disability settings

  • Residential   settings - group homes (i.e. two or more residents per dwelling)

Community sector

  • Residential   services for mental health, alcohol and other drugs
  • Specialist   housing
  • Safe   Spaces

Overnight shelters for the homeless

Education settings

  • Residential   facilities:
    • Boarding   schools
    • Student   accommodation

Residential facilities for government schools, independent schools, TasTAFE or the University of Tasmania

Remote island communities

  • Flinders   and Cape Barren Islands
  • King   Island

Relevant regional emergency management plans

Industry

  • Mining   sites where accommodation is provided to site workers
  • Mining   sites with more than 50 site workers
  • Meat,   poultry, seafood and dairy processing facilities with more than 50 site   workers
  • Food   distribution and/or warehouse facilities with cold and/or frozen storage and   with more than 50 site workers
  • Agricultural   farms with seasonal workers from interstate/overseas

Abattoirs with more than 50 site workers

If you are responsible for a COVID-19 priority setting (places where the virus may spread fast or management of cases or outbreaks may be complex) it is vital that you develop an enhanced outbreak management plan for your setting, building on the information in your Worksafe COVID-19 Safety Plan. A single case in a COVID-19 priority setting is likely to be considered an outbreak.

Use the information and resources developed by Public Health Services to guide your planning and preparedness.

What to do

  1. Get familiar with the Department of Health’s Case and Outbreak management Framework for Tasmanian Settings, which describes the roles and responsibilities of organisations likely to be involved in controlling cases and outbreaks and how responses will be coordinated.
  2. Review the WorkSafe Tasmania COVID-19 Safe Workplace Guidelines for your industry.
  3. Review the Public Health Services’ outbreak management plan template and tools and use these as a guide to develop an enhanced outbreak management plan for your setting, to sit alongside your WorkSafe COVID-19 Safety Plan.

General Settings

General settings include workplaces and services that are not COVID-19 priority settings.

If you are responsible for a general setting, being prepared for COVID-19 cases and outbreaks is important and will help minimise disruption and protect lives and livelihoods.

The actions your business/organisation will take if there is a case linked to your setting should be outlined in WorkSafe COVID-19 Safety Plan (under the ‘Responding to an incident of COVID-19 in the workplace’ section).  It is important to review this information now. Make sure the actions listed match Public Health Services information about case and outbreak management for general settings

What to do:

  1. Read the fact sheet: ‘Getting ready for cases and outbreaks – information for general settings’.
  2. Review the WorkSafe Tasmania COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines for your industry.
  3. Review your WorkSafe COVID-19 Safety Plan for each setting you manage.

Resources - supporting documents

  1. Case and Outbreak Management – List of guidance tools
  2. COVID-19 Case and outbreak management framework for Tasmanian settings
  3. Fact sheet 1: Getting ready for COVID-19 cases and outbreaks – information for priority settings
  4. Fact sheet 2: Managing cases and outbreaks - information for COVID-19 priority settings
  5. Fact sheet 3: getting ready for cases and outbreaks – information for general settings
  6. COVID-19 Plans for Tasmanian Settings: an outline of the COVID-19 framework, guidance and plans relevant to Tasmanian settings, including those for prevention (under WorkSafe Tasmania) and case and outbreak management (under the Department of Health)
  7. COVID-19 Outbreak Management Teams – Response Stage (graphic): An overview of the various outbreak management response teams that are activated in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
  8. COVID-19 Case and Management – Key Activities for Settings (graphic split over three pages): A summary of the main activities for the affected organisation to take during the stages of
    1. Prevent and Prepare,
    2. Response, and
    3. Stand Down.
  9. Public Health Services’ outbreak management plan template