FAQs for employers on COVID-19 testing

Results should be available within 24 hours (may vary with demand).

Yes, all asymptomatic employees can continue to work while waiting for results. However, ensure employees continue to follow the recommended hand-washing and social-distancing guidelines.
  1. Employee tests negative to COVID-19. Confidential results will be available through your organisation’s secure eResults online portal. Your nominated, authorised officer will be provided with a username and password when your account is set-up. 
  2. Employee tests positive to COVID-19. If an employee were to test positive to COVID-19, your organisation’s designated HR or OH&S representative will be notified by telephone and confidential results will be available through our secure eResults portal. The relevant state-based health authority will also be notified.

Your organisation’s designated HR or OH&S representative will be notified by telephone and confidential results will be available through our secure eResults portal. The relevant state-based health authority will also be notified. Confirmed COVID-19 cases must be immediately isolated and as soon as possible removed from the workplace and proximity of other workers. A public health official will conduct a detailed interview to determine who that person has come in contact with while infectious with COVID-19 and determine who is considered to be a casual or close contact. They will also advise what further infection control measures will need to be immediately implemented.

Yes. Your organisation can choose to perform a one-off test to screen employees, or alternatively opt to test at regular intervals.

Onsite Medical Hub will manage the entire process for your organisation’s onsite screening program, including the provision of the personalised, pre-filled request forms. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new form of coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China and is extremely contagious.

The symptoms include: fever, respiratory symptoms (coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose), headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Health authorities around the world believe the virus is spread from close contact with an infected person, mostly through face-to-face or between members of the same household. People may also pick up COVID-19 from surfaces contaminated by a person with the infection. COVID-19 is spread by people with symptoms when they cough or sneeze.

People with a confirmed COVID-19 infection stay in quarantine until they are no longer experiencing symptoms. Before they are released from quarantine, their doctor or specialist care team assesses they are no longer infectious. This could lead to approximately 14 days off work and loss of productivity. Anyone who is tested must also remain isolated until they are confirmed as negative.

Screening results can take anywhere between 24-72 hours, depending on laboratory waiting times. Studies suggest that COVID-19 may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions such as the type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment. A positive diagnosis of an employee could mean temporary closure for commercial infection control and cleaning.

The benefits of a mass testing program include employees satisfaction in the investment into infection prevention by the organisation, eliminate or reduce anxiety, create awareness, decrease absenteeism, and reduce the impact on operations.

Streamlining the testing ensures that all staff are tested at the same time, at the same place, thus ensuring an accurate snap shot of your organisation’s COVID-19 status. Reporting of results is also consistent and timely.

The swab can sometimes be a little uncomfortable. The swab is taken from the throat and both nostrils. It is important that the appropriate areas are swabbed, in order to maximise the accuracy of the test.

General FAQs for employees can be provided prior to the screening program or at the time. Each employee will be consented by the Nurse at the time of testing.

The criteria for Government funded testing is rapidly changing as the pandemic impacts Victoria. At the time of preparation of this document, only those with respiratory symptoms or residing in the stipulated postcodes qualify for government funded testing. For up to date information, please refer to https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-self-assessment

The fee associated with the COVID-19 test is not covered by Medicare or Private Health Insurance. Those who qualify for the government funded screening must attended a nominated DHHS screening clinic.

All employees should be advised to stay at home if they are suffering any respiratory symptoms and get tested through the government program.

With COVID-19 spreading across Australia, this year it is more important than ever to ensure that Australians receive the seasonal influenza vaccination. The regular influenza season may coincide with the peak of the current COVID-19 pandemic, potentially placing additional burden on the Australian health system.

A pair of eyes of a vaccine provider wearing a face mask to protect against COVID virus

FAQs for employees on COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new form of coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China and is extremely contagious.

The symptoms include: fever, respiratory symptoms (coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose), headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Health authorities around the world believe the virus is spread from close contact with an infected person, mostly through face-to-face or between members of the same household. People may also pick up COVID-19 from surfaces contaminated by a person with the infection. COVID-19 is spread by people with symptoms when they cough or sneeze.

People with a confirmed COVID-19 infection stay in quarantine until they are no longer experiencing symptoms. This is often for up to 14 days or more. Before they are released from quarantine, their doctor or specialist care team assesses they are no longer infectious.

Anybody can get coronavirus if they have contact with a person. Some people are at higher risk of getting coronavirus because of where they have been, or where they live.

  • Overseas travelers and close contacts
  • People who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are at high risk of getting COVID-19. This also includes people who live in group settings with many other people and share common rooms (such as aged care homes or boarding houses).

Although some people will have only mild symptoms, anybody can become very sick with COVID-19. However, we know that some groups of people are more likely to become very sick with COVID-19.

  • People who are older or elderly.
  • People who have pre-existing medical conditions including those with diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney failure and people with low or suppressed immune systems
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People living with HIV.

Stay at home. Don’t visit friends or family at this time.

  • Follow your State Government guidelines with regard to masks, travel and work etc.
  • Do not travel throughout Victoria unless absolutely necessary.
  • Stay healthy with good nutrition, regular exercise and sleeping well.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol and for smokers, now is a great time to consider quitting.
  • Maintain social distancing

Take the following hygiene actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Do not share drink bottles, crockery or cutlery.
  • Stop shaking hands, hugging or kissing as a greeting.
  • Ensure a distance of at least 1.5 metres is kept between yourself and others.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza). This will help reduce the strain on the healthcare system as it deals with COVID-19. Vaccines are now available from your GP and pharmacy.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly e.g. phones, keyboards, door handles, light switches, bench tops.
Trade Industry employees wearing health masks discussing workplace flu vaccinations and health services

FAQs on influenza related to vaccination

Influenza is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Influenza viruses infect the respiratory tract. When someone who has influenza coughs, sneezes or evens talks, the influenza virus is expelled into the air and can be inhaled by anyone close by.

The Influenza virus mutates each year, requiring the manufacturing of a new vaccine every flu season. The strains included are based on the WHO determination of the most common flu viruses expected that flu season.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory viral illness. Influenza A and B are the major types of influenza viruses that cause human disease and affect people of any age. Persons with influenza may experience fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, runny noses and watery eyes. Children also may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Although fever and body aches usually last 3-5 days, a cough and fatigue may persist for 2 weeks or more.

The period between infection and onset of symptoms (incubation period) for influenza is 1-4 days. A person with influenza may be contagious 1 day before symptoms begin, through to approximately 5 days after illness onset. Children may be contagious for 10 days or more. This means people could be infecting others with the influenza virus without their knowledge.

Influenza can be prevented with a high degree of success when a person receives the current influenza vaccine. This vaccine is made each year and is prepared to protect against a combination of the four mainly anticipated flu viruses.

The vaccine does not cause influenza. It is biologically impossible to contract influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain ‘live virus’. Generally, people have no reaction to the vaccine. Some people may experience mild side effects such as tenderness and redness at the injection site. This usually clears within a day. A cold compress applied around the injection site should offer some relief. Persons with allergies to eggs or chicken products should not receive the influenza vaccine, as it is prepared from influenza viruses grown in eggs.

In years which there is a good match between the vaccine virus and the virus strain causing illness, the influenza vaccine is generally considered to be 79-90% effective in preventing influenza illnesses in healthy adults. It is worth being aware that it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for a person to develop protection against influenza infection. Also, influenza vaccine does not protect against respiratory illness caused by other viruses.

No. It is absolutely impossible to contract influenza from the vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine are inactivated and incapable of causing influenza. Actually, the person is protected from influenza by antibodies that are formed by the immune system’s response to the vaccine. The number of antibodies in the body is greatest 1 or 2 months after the vaccination and then gradually declines. For that reason and because the influenza viruses usually change each year, a high-risk person should be vaccinated between the months of March and May with a new vaccine.

The Australian vaccine for the year 2021 contains:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)–like virus;
  • B/Washington/02/2019 – Like (B/Victorian lineage) virus; and
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

As approved by the WHO and the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee

For most health adults and children, influenza is typically a moderately severe illness. You could expect to be unwell for up to a week. But for others who are not well to begin with, influenza can be very severe and even fatal. Symptoms have a greater impact on this group of people, in addition, complications can occur. Most of these complications are bacterial infections because the body can be severely weakened by influenza such that its defenses against bacteria are low.

Anyone can get influenza. People who are not well to begin with are particularly susceptible to the complications that can follow. For anyone in a high-risk category, influenza is a very serious and potentially fatal illness. You may be at high risk if:

  • You are over 65 years old or have;
  • Chronic disorders of the pulmonary or Circulatory systems
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Severe asthma
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic metabolic disorders
  • Renal dysfunction.

It is recommended that influenza vaccination be offered in advance to women planning pregnancy, and to pregnant women who will be in the second or third trimester during Influenza season, including those in their first trimester at the time of vaccination. Influenza vaccination is estimated to prevent 1 to 2 hospitalisations per 1000 women vaccinated during their second and third trimester.

(Australian Immunisation handbook. 9th Edition page 193,194)

A person can have influenza more than once. The virus that causes influenza may mutate/change. The virus may belong to one of three different influenza virus families, A, B or C. Influenza A and Influenza B are the major families. Within each influenza virus family are many viral strains. The strains may cause illness of varying severity. If you have Influenza, your body develops antibodies. The following year a new strain, either from the same or different influenza virus family may appear. Your antibodies are less effective or ineffective against the unfamiliar strain. If you are exposed to it, you may come down with influenza again.

Sources:

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Onsite Medical Hub helped us to facilitate a mass flu vaccination program for our school community. We were very impressed with all facets of their processes. They were excellent to communicate with, quick and efficient in their delivery of the vaccine and their staff were a delight to work with. We will certainly be using them again!
Kate Guggenheimer | Director of Students, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak
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The first priority for us is the safety and wellbeing of our 410 employees. This can only be delivered by careful and reliable processes that can be implemented without reducing productivity. We appreciate the speed and responsiveness of Onsite Medical Hub to our health care needs.
Matthew O’Connor I CEO, G&K O’Connor​
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We are so grateful to have Onsite Medical Hub carry out the COVID-19 screening on our behalf. It has provided us with a safety net that has proved to be a great success.
Charlie Scudamore I Vice Principal Culture & Community, Geelong Grammar School​
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Contact

RMIT University 
Building 8, Level 3
368-374 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 8849 0888
info@onsitemedicalhub.com.au