Clinicians are being asked to provide more information on the urgency of certain samples collected for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This document provides guidance to clinicians regarding ‘at-risk’ groups that are considered high priority for testing and the requirements of labelling these samples. The department’s current definition of an outbreak of COVID-19 for the purposes of outbreak management is:
- A single confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a residential and aged care facilities (RACF), OR
- Two or more epidemiologically linked cases outside of a household with symptom onset within 14 days.
Priority groups for testing as of 19 May 2020
The following samples are considered URGENT PRIORITY samples and are listed in priority order:
- Priority 1 (P1): OUTBREAK – including CLOSE CONTACT(s) OF CONFIRMED CASE, people located in QUARANTINE HOTEL(s), and SYMPTOMATIC resident or staff member of a known RACF OUTBREAK
- Priority 2 (P2): SYMPTOMATIC HEALTH CARE WORKERS including AGED CARE WORKERS; SYMPTOMATIC aged care residents and hospital patients.
- Priority 3 (P3): OTHER ‘AT-RISK SETTINGS’ – for SYMPTOMATIC people identified to be from other ‘at-risk’ settings as determined by the referring clinician.
Clinicians may determine other ‘AT-RISK’ SETTINGS to be:
- Prison/Justice settings (correctional facilities, detention centres)
- Aboriginal rural and remote communities
- Accommodation with shared facilities
- Defence force operational settings
- Boarding schools
- Other group residential settings (eg. disability)
- Childcare centres
- Remote industrial sites with accommodation (e.g. mine sites)
- Certain high-risk work sites where workers are unable to undertake physical distancing or where outbreaks have been identified in the past:
- Meat processing or other manufacturing plants
- Restaurants/industrial kitchens
- Workplaces with highly casualised workforces (who may be less likely to report symptoms)\
- Critical infrastructure dependent workplaces – such as electricity worker