Getting ready for COVID-19 cases and outbreaks - information for general settings


Getting ready for COVID-19 cases and outbreaks - information for general settings

Fact Sheet 3

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This information is for general businesses and organisations, not COVID-19 priority settings. COVID-19 priority settings are where people live in groups (eg residential facilities), where we know COVID-19 can spread rapidly and where the management of cases and outbreaks may be complex.

Check if your setting is a COVID-19 priority setting.

COVID-19 general settings

If a case of COVID-19 is linked to your business or organisation, it is vital to act fast to limit the spread of illness within your organisation and into the community. This is important to protect lives and livelihoods.

This information outlines what you will be expected to do when a case of COVID-19 is linked to your business or organisation and what you can do to prepare.

What happens when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19?

When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they become a ‘confirmed case’. Public Health Services rapidly launches an investigation to work out where they might have caught the virus and who they may have passed it on to. The main purpose of this investigation is to stop the spread of illness.

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

How are cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 controlled?

COVID-19 case and outbreak control can be difficult and resource intensive.

Key components are:

  • rapid identification, isolation and appropriate, safe care of the person/people who have the virus
  • rapid identification and quarantining of people who have had close contact with cases while they were infectious (able to spread the virus)
  • timely and effective communication with people associated with the setting
  • widespread testing within the community to identify further cases
  • enhanced physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene and cleaning and disinfection.

Your role

Your organisation will have an important role in preventing the spread of illness. Public Health Services will advise you what to do if there is a case associated with your setting and will work with you to identify what you need to do to protect other people and resume normal activities safely.

The initial steps Public Health Services may ask you to take (within the first 24 hours) are:

  1. Activate your planned response activities (under the ‘Responding to an incident of COVID-19 in the workplace’ section of your COVID-19 Safety Plan) and provide the name and contact details of your preferred contact person/s
  2. Support contact tracing by providing a list of people who may have had contact with the case within your setting (eg through visitor/customer logs, staff rosters) and their contact details
  3. Support risk assessment by providing information about your facility or service (eg site plan, emergency response plan)
  4. Liaise with Public Health Services to coordinate appropriate communication about the case or outbreak to other people associated with the setting
  5. Restrict access to areas that may have been contaminated, including spaces where the person spent time within the previous 48 hours, until cleaning and disinfection are completed
  6. Limit entry to the premises and movement within the premises
  7. Advise staff, visitors, contractors and customers of the general situation, in liaison with Public Health Services
  8. Protect others by displaying outbreak signage and enhancing physical distancing in the setting.

What you can do to prepare

Being prepared for cases will help your business or organisation respond well and quickly and minimise disruption to normal services and activities.

The actions your business/organisation will take if there is a case linked to your premises should be outlined in your COVID-19 Safety Plan (under ‘Responding to an incident of COVID-19 in the workplace’).

Preparedness activities for your business or organisation may include:

  • checking that the response actions outlined in your WorkSafe COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan (under the ‘Responding to an incident of COVID-19 in the workplace’ section of your COVID-19 Safety Plan) align with the information provided in this information sheet
  • identifying the person who will lead your response and be the main contact person for Public Health Services
  • collecting and storing information about who spends time in your premises when (eg visitor logs, staff rosters) and keeping staff and frequent visitor contact information up to date, to support contact tracing if required
  • maintaining adequate cleaning supplies on hand or identifying a way to access these when needed
  • planning how you will communicate about a case or outbreak associated with your setting
  • considering how you will safely continue business during the response, suspend activities if necessary and resume activities after the response.

How can I stay updated?

Advice is updated frequently as the COVID-19 situation evolves in Tasmania. Please refer to the following for the latest information:

If the confirmed case is an employee, depending on the circumstances, the employer may also be required by law to notify WorkSafe Tasmania of the case as soon as possible.