ALERT: If you have a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and you have travelled, please contact us via phone prior to making a booking or visiting the medical centre.

COVID-19 Workplace Health Services

COVID-19 Workplace Health Services

Overview

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.

Sonic HealthPlus has the ability to successfully support your business through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

COVID-19 Doctor Consultancy

Sonic HealthPlus Occupational Physicians or Corporate Health Doctors can be engaged to provide your company with expert consultancy advice on prevention, risk mitigation and management of COVID-19 that is tailored to your workplace. As part of the doctor consultancy service, we can provide:

  • Interactive education presentations on COVID-19 customised to your workplace including Q&A sessions
  • Prevention and mitigation strategies and procedures
  • Recommendations on testing requirements and procedures
  • Interpretation of legislative requirements and obligations applicable to your company
  • The Doctor Consultancy Service is also activated if Sonic HealthPlus is providing PCR testing for your business and a positive PCR result occurs.
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Doctor consultancy services are delivered via an initial meeting (one hour) to determine your company requirements followed by action items facilitated by the doctor including presentation creation and delivery, documentation and recommendations and any subsequent meetings.

Services can be delivered face-to-face (where available) or via video call.

Please contact us on the below contact form to see if this service is the right fit for your company.

COVID-19 Doctor on Call (DOC)

COVID-19 Doctor on Call service provides your organisation with quick over the phone access to our expert Occupational Doctors who can provide immediate advice on managing a suspected or positive case within the workplace and discuss control measures to activate in order to reduce the spread of infection within the workplace. Our Doctors are uniquely placed to provide expert advice on the impact of COVID-19 within the workplace as they are informed by our dedicated Pandemic Preparedness team.

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The hotline will be available between 8am AEST and 7pm AEST, business days. This service is charged on a retainer based model. Contact us on the below enquiry form for more detailed information on this service.

COVID-19 Supporting Vulnerable Workers

As the COVID-19 Pandemic developed around the world it was identified that certain groups of people within the community are at higher risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHP’s) has provided guidance to identify at risk groups within our workforce. Managing the health risks to these individuals is vitally important to maintain a healthy and productive workforce during the current pandemic.

We have developed a bespoke service that assists you to screen your workforce identifying your vulnerable workers with our Occupational Doctors providing risk mitigation strategies and advice for your business to return those workers to the workplace.

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We have a range of service delivery options for this service so please contact us on the below enquiry form so we can identify a program that best suits your business’s needs.

COVID-19 Video Screening Consultations

Our experienced team of Occupational Health Doctors are available for telehealth consultations, providing convenient access to medical advice for your workforce. The service consists of a 10 minute video consultation with a Doctor who will work through a clinical questionnaire with the individual, providing advice and reassurance for those staff that need it.

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Sonic HealthPlus has developed a COVID-19 video screening consultation used to identify ‘at risk’ individuals, which is facilitated remotely with a Sonic HealthPlus Doctor. The service consists of a 10 minute video consultation with a Doctor who will work through a clinical questionnaire with the individual.

If required the Sonic HealthPlus Doctor will provide the individual with an information fact sheet regarding self-isolation and personal protective equipment (PPE) and direct them to appropriate testing facilities.

Doctors will be able to reassure staff of appropriate hygiene and social distancing practices where testing and self-isolation are not required.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Service

This service activates a Rapid Response Team in the event a positive PCR is returned at the workplace. In consultation with Public Health, this service may include:

  • Mobilisation of SHP Rapid Response Medical Team;
  • Consultation with relevant Public Health unit;
  • Immediate advice around workforce management;
  • Contact Tracing, where required; and
  • On-location/offsite screening of contacts, including casual contacts
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These teams deploy within 24 hours of a positive PCR notification and provide advice and support to your organisation. Talk to our client partner team today about a tailored solution to support your business needs.

COVID-19 Workplace Screening Services

Sonic HealthPlus has provided workplace screening to a number of organisations. Workplace screening may include a clinical questionnaire and temperature recording for each staff member prior to entering the workplace, and in some cases PCR testing of workers may also be recommended (see below). Positive results to initial screening will prompt the Sonic HealthPlus Medical Screener to provide the individual with an information fact sheet regarding self-isolation and personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e. mask to wear.

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Questionnaires can be completed in the hours before the Medical Screener attends your worksite for more efficient screening. Over the course of the screening session a Doctor on Call service will be available to answer any questions.

COVID-19 International Deployment Services

For some organisations, the requirement to deploy staff internationally remains with added complexity with additional visa entry requirements. Sonic Health Plus are ideally positioned to support your organisation with these requirements. Our Travel Doctor-TMVC Clinicians are experts in Travel Medicine and have formed a pivotal role in our Pandemic Preparedness team; keeping our staff up-to-date with the global impacts of the disease and the health mitigation strategies. Our international deployment services include:

  • COVID health questionnaire
  • A travel health assessment
  • Provision of any required vaccinations and medication prescriptions for the duration of their deployment
  • Travel education including COVID-19 risk mitigation information tailored to the destination
  • Certification issued to meet country and airline requirements.
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Clients will need to provide documented evidence outlining their visa entry requirements for their staff to Sonic HealthPlus to ensure our clinicians meet all of the required guidelines. This documentation needs to be on the government’s letterhead, or official correspondence from the consular or international government department.

COVID-19 Workplace Education

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, our Doctors can provide interactive workplace education sessions customised to your workplace and workforce. Presentations include a Q&A session open to your employees and can be a great way to reassure staff and reinforce the importance of social distancing practices in the current environment. As advice and strategies develop on managing this disease, it can be a great way to keep your staff up-to-date.

Pandemic Plan Development

Does your pandemic plan reflect the current state of the virus outbreak in Australia? Our Doctors will assess your business’ operations, job roles, needs and impact on community to guide your organisation in creating a plan that is tailored to your company during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

PCR Testing

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.

What is PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Testing?

The gold standard for diagnostic testing, PCR or molecular testing, is used to identify if you are infected with the COVID-19 virus at the time of your nasal swab.

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PCR Testing in Western Australia: FIFO DETECT Research

Within Western Australia COVID-19 PCR screening is currently only available to persons within the FIFO industry, under the DETECT Research protocol.

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It works by detecting the presence of the actual SARS-CoV-2 in genetic material called nucleic acids, within the specimen sample obtained from the throat and nasal swab. Run in laboratory conditions under the supervision of specialist scientists, PCR testing is exquisitely sensitive and highly specific.

PCR Testing is available in all states except Western Australia.

DETECT is a voluntary research study investigating the prevalence of COVID-19 in key population groups, one being the FIFO industry. It also includes invitation to participate in a second study about the effects of COVID-19 on wellbeing (CIVIC Study). The Client must agree to provide their workforce with information about the research.

Eligibility:

  • Only for FIFO workers going to a remote operating mine sites in WA. DIDO or residential miners are not eligible.
  • Testing can be done in Perth prior to flying to site. Or can be done in a Pilbara hub town prior to transferring to site (results turnaround time may be delayed).

Testing of returned travellers to Western Australia in Quarantine.
This can include interstate travellers who have received a government exemption to enter WA for essential work.

Eligibility:

  • Documented evidence that they are quarantining under direction of the WA Government

Specimens should be collected as close to the end of the quarantine period as possible, allowing enough time for results to be received. In general, day 12 is preferred. If a negative result is returned, the returned traveller may finish quarantine after 14-days.

PCR Testing Service

We provide an end to end service managing booking coordination, testing, results management and any required follow-up consultations.

1. Booking

Clients provide a list of employees contact details and we will coordinate your employee’s appointment with the appropriate referrals, privacy and consent compliance.

2. Testing

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.

International Deployment

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.

Rapid and Onsite Deployment

We also have service options available to deploy to your site and test. Please find further information in our COVID-19 Medical Services page and ensure you are signed up as a client here in order to use our services.

Frequently Asked Questions
Testing for COVID 19
  1. Can you do a test and clear me to return to work?
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

What should I do if I need to self-isolate?

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.

What is the difference between Isolation and Quarantine?

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.

What is Social Distancing?

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.

How do we practice Social Distancing in the workplace?

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.

Enquire about COVID-19 Workplace Preparedness

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Where can I seek further advice?

The national coronavirus helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any questions you may have about COVID-19. 24 hour healthcare advice may also be received from Health Direct.

National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080

Health Direct Helpline: 1800 022 222

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