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COVID-19 Community Update: Minor changes to COVID restrictions, testing requirements and our plan to recover and rebuild Victoria (18 February 2022)

18 February 2022


Yesterday the State Government made very minor changes to COVID rules. 

From 6pm tonight:

  • Hospitality and entertainment venues no longer have density quotients;
  • Indoor dancefloors reopen; and
  • QR codes will no longer be in place at retail venues, schools and for employees.

The Health Minister has also flagged some potential changes to mask requirements in the coming days.

TESTING REQUIREMENTS/GUIDELINES

The government has updated its testing guidelines and requirements with the use of rapid testing forming part of the response. 

The government advises that your first option should be a rapid test. 

If you are a contact or you can’t get a rapid test you should go and get a PCR test at an official testing site.

If you can’t access either you must isolate at home until you can.

If you test positive there is a step-by-step process to follow:

  1. Focus on your health and get help if needed.

  2. Report your positive test result and isolate for 7 days.

PCR tests will automatically be reported so you will only need to report a positive if it is a rapid test. You can report a positive rapid test here. You may be eligible for food and financial assistance during this period. 

    3. Tell your household and household like contacts. They must isolate for 7 days.

A contact is now defined as someone you have spent more than four hours within a house, care facility or accommodation. They must test on day 1 of their isolation period and isolate for 7 days. They may leave quarantine on day 7 if they receive a negative day 6 test

    4. Tell your social contacts – they must get tested if they have symptoms.

Social contacts are people you have had 15 minutes of face-to-face time with or spent 2 hours with in the same indoor space. They do not need to go tested or isolate unless they exhibit symptoms

    5. Tell your workplace and/or educational facility.

If you may have been positive while working onsite you must tell your employer/workplace who will then tell other staff who are workplace contacts to use a rapid test or get a PCR test. Schools will also follow a similar process.

    6. You will be automatically released from quarantine on day 7.

7 days after your positive rapid or PCR test you will be able to leave isolation.
 
Please note that healthcare and food distribution workers are allowed to work before seven days of quarantine is complete, provided they return a negative test result and have no symptoms. 

If you are seeking more information on these requirements, further guidance can be found here.

AVAILABILITY OF RAPID TESTS

In September I called on the Victorian Government to start ordering rapid tests and secure supply in line with what was being done by the NSW and Federal Governments. 

Unfortunately, the Premier labelled this a ‘stunt’ at the time. We have faced extreme shortages and exorbitant prices to access rapid tests. I encourage everyone to follow the testing guidelines and requirements as outlined above to ensure that those who need to be tested can do so in a timely manner.

If you are wondering where the closest place may be to get rapid tests the Find a RAT website is a useful tool, however it is not an official government site and may not be 100 per cent accurate.

RESTRICTIONS

 

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live 

BOOSTER SHOTS

If you are over 16 and had your second vaccination three or more months ago, you are now eligible for a booster shot. You may book at a Victorian vaccination centre or at a local GP or pharmacy.
Booster shots have been made mandatory for the following professions:

  • Residential Aged Care
  • Healthcare
  • Disability workers
  • Custodial workers
  • Emergency service workers
  • Meat and seafood processing workers
  • Quarantine accommodation workers
  • Food distribution workers
  • Education workers

 
Workers’ vaccination requirements can be found here.

Pandemic orders and health advice published under the new pandemic legislation can be viewed here.

VACCINATION PROGRAM

Children aged between 5 and 11 can now be vaccinated. 

Please note that to book online you need to register an account for your child using an email address that is not already registered on the system. This could be a new or alternative email address used by you or your child.

RECOVER AND REBUILD

With a state election looming at the end of this year, on Sunday we announced our plans to help Victoria rebuild and recover following lockdowns if we are given the privilege of government in November. 

If elected, we will:

    🚷ensure there are no more lockdowns;
    👩🏽‍⚕️ halve hospital waiting lists; 
    🧠 fix the mental health crisis;
    📚 keep schools open;
    💰 keep the cost of living down; and 
    🧰 support businesses to recover and employ more Victorians 

You can find more detail on our plan here.

STAYING UP TO DATE

I wound these updates back last year as restrictions began to change less frequently, but I have since received a number of requests to continue regular communication about local matters. 

It is my intention to send a monthly update to let you know what I’ve been up to and what’s happening across our region. 

Lastly, please remember that my team and I are always happy to receive your feedback, answer your calls, clarify restrictions, and support you in any way we can. 

Kind regards,
Steph

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