Expanded RAT tests, reporting requirements: COVID-19 update for Vic services

Expanded RAT tests, reporting requirements: COVID-19 update for Vic services

by Freya Lucas

January 11, 2022

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Victoria have been updated about rapid antigen testing (RAT), reporting requirements for confirmed and probable cases, and COVID-19 management via an email from the Department of Education and Training. 

 

Reporting requirements of confirmed and probable cases

 

Effective Friday 7 January 2022, any person who tests positive on a RAT test will be considered a probable case and be subject to the same requirements as a person who tests positive to a PCR test – they must isolate immediately for seven days and notify their ECEC service.

 

Probable cases must notify the Department of Health of the positive result as soon as possible via the COVID-19 Positive Rapid Antigen Test Self-Reporting Form online or by contacting the call centre on 1800 675 398.

 

Once a probable case has reported their positive RAT result, they will be asked questions about their symptoms and directly provided critical information about their next steps, how long they must isolate and how they can get care and advice – just as they would if they tested positive on a PCR test.

 

COVID-19 contact management in ECEC services (including vacation care)

 

ECEC services will continue the process for identifying contacts at a service. For the purposes of contact management, a confirmed or probable case will be referred to as a ‘positive COVID-19 case’.

 

Steps for managing probable and confirmed cases: 

 

  1. Positive COVID-19 cases will be required to notify their ECEC service

 

  1. ECEC approved provider or nominated supervisor must submit a notification through National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS) as soon as they become aware that a child, parent, contractor, or worker has been onsite only during their infectious period:

 

  • If symptomatic at the time of their PCR or RAT, and they were onsite 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms, or
  • If asymptomatic at the time of their PCR or RAT, and they were onsite 48 hours prior to the collection of their first positive test

 

  1. A Department of Education and Training staff member will contact the service.

 

  1. Services will be given information to support them to inform staff and parents/carers swiftly when a positive COVID-19 case has been identified.

 

  1. The service will be required to notify individuals that they are a contact of a positive case and advise them that there are three options:

 

  • If symptomatic, they are required to undertake a RAT;
  • If unable to access a RAT, undertake a PCR test and quarantine until they receive a negative result; or, 
  • If asymptomatic, they may return onsite to ECEC. Rapid antigen tests daily for 5 days following notification of an exposure is strongly encouraged.

 

  1. There is no requirement for the service to close, but it may choose to do so to enable identification of individuals, initial testing of staff or for operational reasons (e.g. unable to meet regulatory obligations under the National Law).

 

  1. The service will be required to maintain a system to enable them to notify contacts and collect, record and store results or reasonable evidence of test results of symptomatic contacts prior to their return to the service.

 

Summary of contact definitions

 

Household contacts (people who live in the same household as a person with COVID-19) are required to quarantine for seven days. They cannot use rapid antigen tests to attend an ECEC service, even if they are asymptomatic.

 

An education contact is someone:

 

  • who is not a household contact; and,

 

  • who has had 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with, or spent 2 hours in the same indoor space at the service with someone who is infectious with COVID-19.

 

 From Friday 7 January, education contacts who:

 

  • do not have any symptoms can continue to attend their ECEC site. It is strongly encouraged that a RAT is taken each day for 5 days following notification of a COVID-19 exposure in an educational setting.

 

  • have symptoms must undertake a RAT or a PCR test and quarantine until they receive a negative result. Contacts are to stay home if unwell. The education contact will need to provide evidence of the negative RAT or PCR result to return to the service.

 

Some state testing sites can provide RAT kits for staff and children who identify as an education contact.

 

Further information and support

 

Further information on COVID-19 contacts is available at Checklist for COVID contacts | Coronavirus Victoria. The Department’s Early Childhood COVID-19 Advice Line is also available weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm on 1800 338 663. Those in need of an interpreter should call 131 450 first. 

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