What To Do If A Staff Member Tests Positive For COVID-19

Avoid the misinformation and confusion and follow these 5 simple steps.

As Omicron sweeps through Australia, many small businesses are unsure of exactly what this new strain of COVID-19 means for them, their staff and their business. We are no longer facing lockdowns, but there are still plenty of challenges that come with positive cases in the workplace.

To save you sifting through pages of information and help take at least some of the stress out of operating a spa or clinic in the time of COVID, we’ve summed up an outline of what to if your business is affected by a positive case.

Let’s start with the obvious — if any of your team members has symptoms or is feeling unwell, they must isolate and take an RAT test immediately. And should a worker test positive, no matter what state you are in, simply follow these five steps.

updated-covid-19-test-and-isolate-national-protocols

Step 1: Seek advice

Firstly, you need to contact your state or territory COVID hotline. They will then instruct you on next steps and determine the risk level for you and the rest of your team.

Step 2: Notify your state or territory’s Safe Work branch

This is a requirement in most states. Find your state or territory’s business safety board here:

Step 3: Identify close contacts

Identify any staff or clients that interacted with the COVID-positive person during the infectious period, which begins 2-3 days prior to symptoms appearing or positive test results. Public health officials will then contact these people or instruct you to do so.

Some states like NSW are currently overrun by Omicron cases so chances are you won’t hear from health officials. If this is the case, you must assess the personal risk and circumstances for your business. Ask yourself and your staff the following questions: 

  • How much time was spend with the COVID-19 positive person, and how closely was the interaction? 
  • Was the time spent together outdoors or indoors?
  • Were all members wearing masks? (Note: mask-wearing is now mandatory in some states including NSW and Victoria)
  • Do I or any of my team live or work with any vulnerable people that are at higher risk? 

The NSW government has a table to help you assess your risk. Take a look here.

If you or any of your staff are a close contact or household-like contact, you must take a RAT or book in for a PCR test as soon as possible. Close contacts are required to isolate for 7 days in most states, and 10 days in SA.

Casual contacts aren’t required to isolate by law, but it it recommended that all contacts take a RAT test.

Step 4: Clean, clean, clean!

You’ll need to deep clean and disinfect the areas where the COVID-positive person and any close contacts have been. Use PPE whilst cleaning and keep these areas clear of customers and staff until the process is complete.

Step 5: Review

This is where your workplace COVID-19 checklist or declaration comes into play. Review your risk management protocol and controls relating and review whether any changes are to be made. This may mean temporary closure of your business or instructing your staff to isolate or get tested.

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