Finding out that a COVID-19 case has been linked to your organisation
Employers and business operators may become aware a case has been linked to them by:
- being notified by public health authorities
- an employee or other contractor notifying them that they have been diagnosed.
The privacy and confidentiality of the person diagnosed must be maintained.
If employers or businesses are concerned they may be linked to a COVID-19 case, they can seek advice from their local Public Health Unit (PHU) by calling 1300 066 055.
What happens when a COVID-19 case has been linked to your organisation
When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, NSW Health public health authorities try to identify the source of their infection and limit ongoing transmission to others. They rapidly launch an investigation to find out where the person has been and who they have been in contact with.
Where contacts of the confirmed case are identified, a risk assessment must be conducted. Public health authorities will provide advice on isolation and testing and any other information relevant to the circumstances of the case.
The risk assessment will consider the level of exposure and interaction the confirmed case had with your organisation or business.
Depending on the outcome of the risk assessment, deep cleaning of the workplace or some communications and media outreach may be required. In the case where a large number of people may have been exposed or it is difficult to individually identify all contacts, a generalised message will be broadcast stating that anyone who had attended the premises on a certain date would need to self-isolate.
What you need to do if a confirmed COVID-19 case has been linked to your organisation
Where a worker, visitor, contractor or customer is diagnosed with COVID-19, employers and business operators should:
- seek advice from your local Public Health Unit (PHU) by calling 1300 066 055.
- support public health authorities with contact tracing as directed:
- This will include sharing of visitor and customer logs and staff information.
- Public health authorities are responsible for providing relevant advice to all contacts identified by the public health investigation, including information on self-isolation and testing. NSW Health is following national guidance on the definition and management of contacts.
- Public Health Unit staff may request that employees require immediate testing even though symptoms may not be present.
- Advise staff, visitors, contractors and customers of the general situation. This might be via posters, letters or other communication channels as appropriate and in partnership with public health authorities. Information provided should include:
- symptoms of COVID-19 that staff, visitors, contractors and customers should monitor themselves for
- where to seek advice and help
- reminders to staff, visitors and customers to not enter the premises if they are unwell
- advice on physical distancing and personal hygiene measures (e.g. hand hygiene and cough etiquette)
- what infection control measures the business operator has put in place, including cleaning
- any other specific advice provided by public health authorities.
- Implement infection control measures as directed by public health authorities. Employers should be aware that they also have obligations under Workplace Health and Safety legislation, that may require employers to notify SafeWork NSW of accidents and incidents that have occurred at that workplace (such as a COVID-19 case that might be associated with that workplace). Safework NSW and the relevant Public Health Unit (PHU) would work collaboratively on such cases.
Any business or organisation should be able to resume operation within 48 hrs after a case has been notified providing:
- the premises have been appropriately cleaned
- the Public Health Unit is satisfied that there is no ongoing risk.
Once a business has been cleared, operation can resume, however employers should continue to ensure their business is COVID Safe and continue to follow the guidelines.
Employees returning to work
- Seek advice from your local Public Health Unit (PHU) by calling 1300 066 055.
- See the NSW Health guidelines below:
- Release from isolation is dependent on the situation. NSW Health guidelines for release from isolation may assist in assessing whether your employees can return to work.
- After returning to work, employers should provide staff, visitors, contractors and customers safety information that includes:
- Symptoms of COVID-19 staff, visitors, contractors and customers should self-monitor for
- Where to seek advice and help
- Reminders not enter the premises if they are unwell
- Advice on physical distancing and personal hygiene measures (e.g. hand hygiene and cough etiquette)
- What infection control measures the business operator has put in place, including cleaning
- Any other specific advice provided by public health authorities.
Last updated: 28 July 2020