Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Wednesday 2 February

Local Government Response Unit main page

Today’s update

Testing update

Phase One -

  • Phase One of the response to Omicron means continuing with the same testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine settings.

Phase Two –

  • Staff who are away from work, isolating because they are a close contact AND meet the definition of Critical worker AND are not symptomatic will be able to use proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to return to work before their full period of isolation is completed
  • Important to note, that the purpose of RATs is NOT about using them as a general organisation wide surveillance testing system, it is specific to enabling those deemed Critical workers to return to work as early as possible.
  • Work is underway to determine how organisations running critical services including local authorities can access RATs in Phase Two. More info on this below.

Critical Services

What are the critical sectors?

The criteria used to identify critical firms in sectors is whether they provide for:

  • basic human needs (food production, distribution, and sale; accommodation; health services, including services provided for deceased persons);
  • governance (including government decision making, MIQ and emergency services);
  • support systems and services (lifeline utilities, transport, critical financial services and social welfare);
  • maintenance of the above areas.

A critical worker is a in a role identified by an employer within a critical industry that

  • Requires a person with particular skills and
  • Must be performed in person at the workplace; and
  • must continue to be performed to:
    • Prevent an immediate risk of death or serious injury to a person or animal; or
    • Prevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) to significant numbers in the community

Repeating a key message, RATs will be available to critical workers to shorten isolation requirements after a negative test to return to work in a critical services role

Process for determining Critical workers and accessing RATs

More information can be found here

Changes to mask usage

  • These changes will come into effect on 11:59pm Thursday 3 February 2022.
  • Face coverings are now required to be an actual mask- this means that scarves, bandannas, t-shirts pulled up over the face will no longer be acceptable.
  • Masks must be also be worn at food and drink businesses, close proximity businesses, events and gatherings. There is an exception for eating, drinking, and exercising.
  • Ensure that your mask is designed to cover your nose and mouth properly.
  • All workers who are legally mandated to be vaccinated must now also wear a medical grade mask (for example a Type IIR/Level 2 masks or above while working in public facing roles.

Children from year 4 and up are now required to wear masks on public transport, including school buses.