Staff information during COVID-19

Updated and current 17/6/2022

This information:

  • applies to NALHN staff noting that health care workers have increased and enhanced testing and PPE requirements over and above what is communicated on the SA Health website. This is due to the vulnerable population we provide care for and to ensure the safety of our patients and colleagues.

  • is current and will be updated whenever there are changes to obligations and procedures.

  • has been authorised and approved by Andrew McGill, NALHN COVID-19 Program Lead


Before work

Rapid Antigen Tests (PCR testing is required for ALL positive RATs)

  • All staff should take a RAT BEFORE coming to work every 2nd shift.
    • Noting that close contacts are required to RAT daily for the 14-day enhanced testing phase
  • RATs for casual and agency staff are managed via the Central Flow Unit (CFU).
  • Supplies of RATs are available via your line Manager (additional stock for close contacts is available from Staff Health)
  • If your RAT test is positive.
    • You will need to undertake an immediate PCR.
    • Do not come to work.
    • Notify your manager. Complete the online COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire.
    • Please contact the Staff Health COVID-19 hotline (0466 429 359) to report your positive result and undertake a risk assessment if PCR positive.
  • Do not register your RAT with SA Health, this will be automatically done as part of your PCR process.

PCR

  • You can have a PCR at any external site, or via a self-PCR if you have a kit and have been trained to use it. Self-PCR kits with completed paperwork and sample tube can be dropped in the dedicated LMH drop box on the sidewall of the SA Pathology building (Haydown Road).
  • While awaiting the result of your PCR, you must remain in isolation until the PCR results are back.
  • If your PCR returns positive, you must contact the Staff Health COVID-19 hotline (0466 429 359) to report your results or you can report via COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire.
  • If your PCR is negative and you are still symptomatic, you must not attend work until well. Call Staff Health hotline to discuss if further PCR testing is required and safe RTW dates.


At work

COVID-19/COLD and Flu symptoms

Staff must not attend work whilst symptomatic at any time

Working across different networks, what rules do I follow?

Staff will need to adhere to the rules of the site they are working on (except for SA Pathology who have overarching rules for their workforce). Some Networks will have different rules for different situations, please call the Staff Health service at each site to discuss specifics. Noting that any staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 that has worked at a NALHN site within the preceding 48 hours must call the NALHN COVID-19 hotline to report so that contact tracing can occur.

QR code on entry

QR codes are still required at high-risk locations, including all NALHN sites.

Hand hygiene

All staff must use the hand sanitiser that is available at all entry points when entering NALHN facilities.  Hand Hygiene must also be performed as per the 5 moments for hand hygiene in the clinical area.

PPE

  • Staff in clinical/patient facing zones/wards must wear protective eyewear (goggles or faceshield) and a D95/N95 mask at all times within the clinical zone
  • When in areas that are outside clinical/patient facing zones/wards, a surgical mask is sufficient, but must be worn at all times when onsite and especially where physical distancing in office spaces is not possible.
  • Staff in non-clinical/back of house areas where patients are not permitted do not need to wear protective eyewear on site (unless identified as a close contact and instructed by Staff Health).
  • Please do not remove the mask in the presence of others at all during shift (including in break rooms).
  • PPE, including N95/D95 and eye protection, must be changed after being in transmission-based precautions rooms, if moist or contaminated, if the front of the mask has been touched, after breaks, if removed at any point, after attending the bathroom and at minimum every 4 hours.
  • Staff who wear N95/D95 masks should be fit tested. This will ensure you wear the correct size mask and know how to don it in the most effective manner. You can call 0435 443 253 to make a booking at either LMH or Modbury. *Please note, when entering a patient’s room/-zone where airborne TBP is required, staff must be fit tested.
  • Staff must be cleanly shaved every day when wearing a D95 or N95 mask.
  • D95 masks must not be worn around the ears. They must be worn as instructed during your fit test.
  • PPE Oracle codes for PPE can be obtained from Staff Health

Physical distancing

  • All staff should maintain physical distancing where and when possible and this includes offices, hot desks, and workstations.
  • Please do not gather in staff kitchens or form large groups in lunch areas.


At home

Someone at home has COVID-19

  • If you CAN’T isolate and must provide direct care to the COVID-19 positive person, then you must also quarantine at home and not attend work. Call Staff Health COVID-19 hotline for further guidance and support and to determine when you can safely return to work (and testing requirements).
  • If you CAN isolate at home and away from the positive person, you can work under the following rules:
    • Have a PCR test on day 1, 6 and 13 – you do not need to await the day 1 PCR to attend work, but you must have a negative RAT.
    • If at work when notified of close contact, undertake a RAT and PCR test immediately
    • Take a RAT daily for all rostered days (up to and including day 13)
    • During the 14-day enhanced testing phase, D95/N95 masks are mandated when on-site at all times (regardless of clinical or non-clinical role). Do not take mask off in the presence of others.


If you have had COVID-19

How soon to RAT again

When you have had COVID-19, you will be given your Return to RAT (RTR) date as part of your risk assessment by Staff Health. The current RTR timeframe is currently 12 weeks, but there are specific enhanced testing requirements for staff who develop symptoms during or after this time. Call the Staff Health COVID-19 hotline for further information.

When exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you are not currently considered vulnerable for around 12 weeks after your release from isolation. 
  • Beyond this time, or if you are experiencing symptoms, you will need to quarantine and get tested. Call the Staff Health COVID-19 Hotline for advice if needed.

Returning to work after testing positive

Staff Health will give you your formal Return to Work (RTW) date as part of your risk assessment

Patients and colleagues with COVID-19

When you have worked alongside someone who is COVID-19 positive

  • Staff contact tracing will be completed by Staff Health and anyone identified who meets the close contact exposure rules will be contacted as part of this process.
  • Infection Prevention & Control Service will undertake contact tracing for patients. Please notify IPCS if any patients return a positive PCR or RAT to allow contact tracing.
  • Please ask the identified COVID-19+ colleague to notify Staff Health they are positive to ensure contact tracing is completed in a timely manner. COVID-19 Positive Notification Questionnaire.
  • If you were wearing the correct PPE at all times (mask and goggles) and there were no breaches, no further action is required.


COVID-19 & SCOVID patient management resources

  • NALHN PPG for COVID-19 policies and procedures – search COVID-19
  • NALHN IPCS intranet page
  • All patients to have the MR314 completed on admission
  • For close contacts please use symptom checker form MR314.1 twice a day
  • OWI 5220 Criteria to release Inpatients with Confirmed COVID-19 from Isolation
  • OWI 5235 COVID-19 Pathway for Patients with Recent COVID-19
  • OWI 5221 Suspected COVID-19 Management including positive Rapid Antigen Test pathway

COVID-19 & SCOVID-19 patient management resources can be accessed on the Inside Northern intranet and PPG. You need to be signed into the SA Health Network to access Inside Northern.

COVID-19 Signs and symptoms

The following are all symptoms of COVID-19. Any patients with any of the below symptoms must be placed in a single room (door closed) with ensuite/dedicated bathroom and have appropriate COVID-19 testing;

  • fever (a temperature of 37.5˚C or higher) or chills
  • cough
  • loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • runny or blocked nose
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain
  • loss of appetite

Patient management

  • Patient to be managed under airborne transmission-based precautions (single room with the door closed)
  • PCR testing is required (Respiratory Pathogens NAT test if respiratory symptoms, COVID-19 only screening PCR if other symptoms)
  • Transmission based precautions (TBP) cannot be lifted based on Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results

International Travel

Back from overseas

NALHN Staff returning from overseas travel can return to work following a negative PCR test, but must adhere to the following:

  • Have a PCR test immediately upon return to South Australia – results must be negative prior to your first shift.
  • Repeat PCR tests on day 6 and 13
  • Take a daily RAT up to and including day 13.
  • Wear a fit-tested N95/D95 mask whilst on site at all times.
  • Must be asymptomatic and if symptoms present at any time, do not attend work, and have a PCR test. Notify Staff Health hotline.
  • Staff who test positive to COVID-19 while overseas must notify Staff Health immediately on return to SA and provide evidence of positive test. Details will be collected for reporting purposes and safe RTW dates will be discussed during the risk assessment. PCR upon return will not be required if evidence of COVID-19 is produced.


Contacting Staff Health – COVID-19 Hotline 0466 429 359

  • NALHN Staff Health is available during standard business hours, seven days per week.
  • Please call 0466 429 359 from 9 am -5 pm wherever possible.
  • If you are in urgent need of COVID-19 related advice or support (e.g., if you are unwell and need urgent advice) the Staff Health Hotline is available after hours from 8 am to 8 pm.
    • Please follow testing and isolation advice provided in this document until you have spoken to Staff Health.


Contacting IPCS on weekends – 0478 402 036

  • NALHN IPCS is available during standard business hours (0800 – 1630) Monday - Friday
  •  On weekends the IPCS provides an on-call service for infection control related advice.  Please contact IPCS on 0478 402 036. 

Staff wellbeing and contacts

Employee Assistance Program

Your wellbeing is important to us, and we want to reassure you that our Employee Assistance Providers, Access Programs, Human Psychology and Australian Institute for Loss and Grief are available to support you through this uncertain time.

Access Programs, Human Psychology and Australian Institute for Loss and Grief have transitioned to a telephone counselling model. Staff will be able to access telephone appointments in lieu of all face-to-face counselling appointments.

To make an appointment you may call them directly on the following numbers:

The 24/7 after-hours on-call crisis counselling via the above phone numbers will continue as normal.

Culturally sensitive counsellors are available for Aboriginal employees and their families.  Please make this request upon making a booking.

NALHN Staff Support

In addition to EAP support, assistance is available for the following:

  • Staff Health – 0466 429 359, 8.30 am to 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Work Health and Safety – 08 8133 2318, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Spiritual Care – 08 8182 9093 
  • Human Resources – 08 8182 9078 or Health.NALHNHRGeneral@sa.gov.au, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday

Telephone and Online Support Services

For people under 25 years of age:

For pregnancy and new parenthood information:

Pandemic Kindness Movement

The Pandemic Kindness Movement was created by clinicians across Australia, working together to support all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have curated respected, evidence-informed resources and links to valuable services to support the wellbeing of the health workforce.

Find all the resources at Pandemic Kindness Movement website.

Accessing information from home

Staff who have a valid HAD login (email address and password) can access their work emails through an internet browser via the Outlook Web Access (OWA) email interface. https://owa.statenetmail.sa.gov.au/owa

Visitor Guidelines

See the current visitor guidelines.