Sonic HealthPlus is uniquely positioned to support your business and employees through the COVID-19 pandemic, which is fast developing and ever changing. Being agile in preparing and managing your business during a pandemic is essential to ensure business continuity and minimal impact.
At the onset of COVID-19, Sonic HealthPlus coordinated a dedicated Pandemic Preparedness team, whose sole focus is remaining fully conversant with the latest COVID-19 related movements including; state and federal government information and advice, medical recommendations, restrictions, testing services and applicable policies and procedures.
The Pandemic Preparedness team comprises Occupational Physicians, Experts in Public Health and Tropical (Travel) Medicine, corporate health doctors, general practitioners, clinical governance leaders and business strategy experts, who in addition to being subject matter experts in their relevant fields, also have extensive knowledge and experience in occupational medicine and the significant impacts a pandemic like COVID-19 can have on business.
Sonic HealthPlus has relied on the expertise of the Pandemic Preparedness team to create and implement the COVID-19 medical and support services offered by Sonic HealthPlus to ensure our clients have access to robust, efficient and up-to-date solutions in COVID-19 education, prevention, risk mitigation, strategy and management in the workplace.
What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). On the 30 January, 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the current outbreak of a Coronavirus COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. It is a rapidly changing situation, and information is likely to change; please ensure refer to the relevant links provided for the most up-to-date information on the situation.
To keep up to date on COVID-19 visit:
COVID-19 Medical Services
Sonic HealthPlus can provide accredited COVID-19 PCR screening services to help mitigate the risk of spread of infection within your workforce. We can perform testing in clinic or onsite throughout Australia.
Clients provide a list of employees contact details and we will coordinate your employee’s appointment with the appropriate referrals, privacy and consent compliance.
Our national footprint of collection centres ensures we have coverage in most major centres across Australia.
3. Result Management
Results are sent directly back to a SHP within 2-3* business days (*result times may vary depending on remoteness of locations).
All negative results are notified via SMS with follow up email communication.
The Doctor Consultancy Service is activated if a positive PCR result occurs, triggering a follow-up telehealth consultation with a Doctor to discuss the result. All COVID-19 PCR results are managed in compliance with relevant State Health Department requirements.
4. Follow Up
For positive results, additional confirmatory testing and ongoing management of the case may be required through our Doctor Consultancy Service. Reports and Results documentation can be provided back to the client at their request.
The above process may vary depending on the site and logistical requirements involved. Our Client partner team will work with you to develop a service solution that best suits your needs.
For organisations with staff travelling overseas there may be a request from the destination country to provide a statement with a COVID-19 PCR result. Sonic HealthPlus can work with your organisation to provide this documentation. A telehealth consultation is required between the doctor and the travelling worker to facilitate this service.
- Can you do a test and clear me to return to work?
- Can I send my worker to your clinic so that you can do a test and clear them to return to work?
Doctors are unable to certify patients are cleared from having COVID-19, for two reasons:
- As per government advice and guidelines, resources must be conserved for patients who are both unwell and fit strict testing criteria and this means that testing for COVID-19 outside of the strict medical criterion cannot and should not be done.
- Even if testing was available, a negative test cannot ensure that the patient is not, or will not become infective. A test may be performed during the incubation phase of infection, and the patient may become infective in the following days.
This will preserve precious healthcare resources, such as testing kits, laboratory facilities, protective equipment and health care workers.
At this time, doctors are therefore unable to:
- Provide clearance for people who have returned from overseas. These patients need to self-isolate for 14 days. Once 14 days have passed, if the person shows NO symptoms, they are fit to return to work.
- Provide clearance for well people who have had contact with unwell people (specifically, if the unwell person has NOT been formally diagnosed with COVID-19). Our advice to everyone is to self-isolate if and when they develop any symptoms of a respiratory tract infection.
- Provide testing for patients with MILD illness symptoms, with no COVID-19 close contacts or travel risk factors. These people are to take ‘sick leave’ as usual for a cold or flu, and are able to return to work once they are free of symptoms for 24 hours prior to returning to work.
I would implore and recommend that you consider the need for requesting Medical Clearance/ Certificates during this time as it leads to well people presenting to GP Practices and stretching our essential health care service.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay at home to prevent it spreading to other people. You might also be asked to stay at home if you may have been exposed to the virus.
Staying at home means you:
- do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
- ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
- do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
- You should stay in touch by phone and on-line with your family and friends.
For more information read the home isolation guidance document on the Department of Health website here.
Quarantine is another term used for isolation in returned travellers, where they are unwell but serving out time to avoid risk to others in the community. Currently the term isolation is being used by the government in the information provided to returning travellers. Read the returning travellers information here.
Social distancing is the act of limiting contact with others in order to limit or stop the spread of infectious diseases. In encompasses many things and employers and employees all have an obligation to do their utmost to limit the spread of disease in the current environment.
- For an individual it is staying at home as much as possible – this includes working from home where you have the capabilities to.
- When out in public try to stay at least 1.5m from others where possible and avoiding anyone who is unwell by at least this distance.
- Avoid non-essential commitments.
For the population it is more preventing incoming people from high risk areas, travellers having to quarantine for 2 weeks, reducing access to high risk places – nursing homes, etc. Protecting those at increased risk. This will likely progress to reducing sizes of gatherings. Measures such as closures of restaurants, shops and schools that have occurred in countries further along in the pandemic are also ways of social distancing.
For some business and essential services you will be unable to work from home. Below are recommendations from the Department of Health in maintaining social distancing within the workplace.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Stop handshaking as a greeting.
- Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call.
- Enable any and/or all employees to work from home.
- Make changes to how your business operates to be flexible for those staff who are high risk, such as immunosuppressed, to decrease their risk of exposure.
- Ensure all employees have adequate access to hand washing facilitates.
- Promote good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and provide hand sanitisers and tissues for all staff and workers.
For contractors visiting homes:
- Call ahead of jobs to ensure that no one is sick or unwell.
- Ask for access to hand washing facilities; and where possible, for surfaces to be worked in, disinfected prior to arrival.
- Ask that the home/site is adequately ventilated and that household social distancing practices are maintained on your arrival.
For location based workers:
- Take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room.
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.
- Consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation.
- Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace.
- Reconsider non-essential business travel
- Promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
- Consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled
Find the comprehensive Department of Health guidelines on social distancing here.