What is the new process for contact tracing in Victoria?

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What do close contacts and businesses need to do in the event of a Covid-19 case?

From 18 November 2021 the contact tracing process in Victoria has changed as things begin to open back up for the vaccinated community. This means that close contacts, businesses and workplaces have to follow new guidelines if they are exposed to a positive case.

The key changes include:

  • Self-quarantine is no longer automatically required for fully vaccinated people who are exposed to a positive COVID case outside of the home. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to avoid impact of superspreader events.
  • This means businesses won’t be required to complete mandatory deep cleaning, and the Departmental ‘clearance’ process.
  • Workers exposed at work, and children who are exposed at school or early childhood centres, will need to show a negative PCR test result to return to work or school – with recommended RAT testing thereafter.
  • COVID-Safe Plans are still required for Victorian businesses
  • Exposure sites won’t be listed online, contacts will be notified by the Health Department.
  • Household contacts who have had more than four hours of contact with a case inside a household, accommodation or care setting must isolate for 7 days if fully vaccinated or 14 days if not fully vaccinated, with a PCR test required on day 0 and for release.
  • Household contacts who are children under 12 will be considered fully vaccinated if everyone else in their household aged over 12 is fully vaccinated.
  • People who have COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days, instead of 14 days.
  • There are different classifications for contacts of a confirmed case, and different rules apply for each classification:
    • Household Contacts – If you live with someone who has COVID-19 or have spent more than four hours with them in a house, accommodation or care facility.
    • Social Contacts – If you know and spent time with someone who has COVID-19, and you aren’t a household contact.
    • Workplace Contacts – If you’re a worker (including subcontractors) who spent time with another worker who had COVID-19.
    • Education Contacts – If you or your child went to school, childcare (including early childhood education) or higher education, and spent time with someone who has COVID-19. 

Checklists for Close Contacts

Make sure you follow the right advice for your situation and contact classification (Household, Social, Workplace or Education).

If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you will need to follow the relevant checklist for your classification type. All checklists are available here and linked below.

Instructions for Employers & Business Owners:

If a worker who has COVID-19 has worked onsite while infectious, they must inform their workplace. As the workplace informed that you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your workplace, you must:

  • IMMEDIATELY: Direct the worker to return home and isolate (if they are on site), even if they don’t have symptoms.

Then complete the following steps within 24 hours:

  • Identify the workplace contacts of the infectious worker.
    • Use the Contact Assessment and Management Guide (linked below) to assist you.
  • Contact the workplace contacts and inform them they are required to get a standard (PCR) test at a testing centre within 24 hours.
  • See evidence of each contact’s negative test result before they return to work. You must keep records of the contacts and their test results.
  • Recommend workplace contacts use rapid antigen self-tests in the days following their negative PCR result, particularly before entering sensitive settings. These tests are available free for workplace contacts at testing centres. 
  • You should notify the Department of Health or Local Public Health Unit if five or more staff members are diagnosed with COVID-19 within 7 days.
  • In some situations, such as if there is an outbreak, the Department of Health or Local Public Health Units may contact you to provide special advice which your staff will be required to follow.

If you need help with any of these steps, please call The Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

You can also access guidance specific to your industry here.

Contact Assessment and Management Guide