COVID-19 Primary Care Update 01/05/2022

01 May 2022

Good evening,

Update to close contact requirements

From 12.01 am 30 April, close contacts are no longer required to quarantine for 7 days.

However, they must follow the below close contact guidelines: 

  • wear a mask in public (12 and over) for 7 days after exposure 
  • undertake 5 rapid antigen tests (RATs) over a 7 day period (with at least 24 hours between tests and one test on day 7) 
  •  report RAT result if you test positive 
  • get a PCR test as soon as any symptoms develop and quarantine until result received 
  • notify your employer, school or early childcare setting 
  • not attend the following Tier 1 sensitive settings for 14 days after exposure, except to access medical care or supplies:
    • o residential aged care facility
    • o disability care facility
    • o prison, correctional facility, training centre or other place of custody
    • o public or private hospital ·
  • not attend the following Tier 2 sensitive settings for 7 days after exposure, except to access medical care or supplies:
    • pharmacies
    • pathology collection centres
    • healthcare services not outlined above
    • general practice
    • medical specialist services and practices o mental health services and practices
    • allied health services
    • complementary and alternative therapy services and practices
    • community health services including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
    • dental services
    • reproductive and sexual health services
    • radiology services
    • disability and rehabilitation services.

In addition to the above mandatory requirements, it is strongly recommended close contacts:·

  • avoid non-essential gatherings for 7 days after exposure
  • avoid contact with people at risk of severe illness for 7 days after exposure
  • work from home where possible
  • report rapid antigen test results even if you test negative
  • *notify healthcare and high risk setting prior to arrival for, medical care or medical supplies

People currently in quarantine as a close contact can leave quarantine but must follow the guidelines for the remainder of their 7 days.

For more information, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting

Close contact healthcare workers

Close contacts who work in the Tier 2 settings listed above, including general practice, are able to attend their workplace under protocols specific to their sector. Requirements of the healthcare provider or service include: 

  • keeping records regarding which worker/s have been granted work permissions. 
  • considering reporting any worker permissions granted to SafeWork SA (SWSAAdvisoryCentre@sa.gov.au) within seven working days of permissions being introduced, to assist addressing any workers’ concerns regarding the process. 
  • providing Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and appropriate PPE (surgical and N95 mask, gloves etc) to allow close contact staff to remain at work. * ensuring returning close contact healthcare workers are meeting the requirements outlined below.

To attend work, a close contact healthcare worker must: 

  • be separated from any person who is positive with COVID-19, i.e. a close contact who lives with someone who is positive must not return to the workforce unless their living arrangements are completely segregated. 
  • be fully vaccinated, i.e. vaccination ‘up-to-date’ as defined by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (including any booster doses if eligible). 
  • be completely free of all COVID-symptoms (including headache, sore throat, runny/blocked nose, difficulty breathing, muscle or joint aches and pains, fever/chills, cough, vomiting/diarrhoea, loss of taste, loss of smell or loss of appetite). 
  • have returned a negative PCR test prior to returning to work (if circumstances deemed exceptional, can return whilst awaiting PCR result as long as that day’s RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) is negative and may continue if PCR negative). 
  • adhere to standard close contact requirements at all times when not onsite at work. 
  • complete a RAT at the start of every shift they attend inclusive of a daily RAT for 7 days following last contact with a case. All RATs must be negative
  • not attend work if symptoms develop and must obtain a PCR test immediately (work permissions will be suspended until the PCR returns negative and symptoms resolve). * wear the appropriate PPE whilst at work (a fit-checked but preferably fit-tested N95 face masks).

Influenza in Residential Aged Care Vaccination

In addition to increasing cases of COVID-19 in the RACF setting, there are increasing cases of influenza in South Australia.

The best method of prevention is immunisation. While COVID and influenza immunisations can be given on the same day – it is important not to delay influenza vaccination until the COVID winter dose is due.

Testing for influenza

Please consider testing for influenza and other respiratory viral pathogens in aged care residents who present with new onset respiratory illness – where there is no known COVID outbreak.

Advanced Care Planning for COVID and Influenza

Advanced care planning for COVID and Influenza facilitates streamlined and time critical access to antiviral treatments. Please consider planning for influenza treatment and/or prophylaxis with Tamiflu (which is intended to be pre-placed in RACFs by the Commonwealth Government). Further information regarding influenza management can be found at NPS overview of influenza prevention and therapy and Guidelines for the prevention, control and public health management of Influenza outbreaks in residential care facilities in Australia

Resources including a template for Advanced Care Plan for COVID and Influenza, and a Primary Health Care Guide to managing COVID and Influenza in Residential Aged Care will be published on the SA Health Website shortly.

ATAGI Statement on IFNAR1 Deficiency and Immunisation

A statement has been released by ATAGI on the implications of the rare inherited condition, IFNAR1 deficiency, which is associated with severe illness and death from certain viral infections and potentially from live-attenuated virus vaccines. Advice in the statement gives guidance on populations at risk of this condition and recommendations re immunisation.

Patient Discharge Flyer on Sepsis

The Communicable Disease Control Branch Infection Control Service has produced a useful patient information flyer (445KB) that GPs and hospital services may wish to give to patients at risk of developing sepsis. Please consider adding this to your patient resources.

Please forward this update to any colleagues who may not have received it and contact us at Health.COVID-19GPLiaison@sa.gov.au to be added to our mailing list or with any other enquiries.

Dr Emily Kirkpatrick
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Department for Health and Wellbeing