NSW Health is currently responding to a number of COVID-19 outbreaks across NSW. Healthcare workers are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. It is important that we maintain high rates of testing to ensure any new cases or outbreaks are identified and managed rapidly. Please refer to the Health Care Worker COVID-19 Risk Assessment Matrix to help healthcare facilities to assess staff who have been exposed to COVID-19. For hospital outbreaks please refer to the Hospital IAP

Advice for primary healthcare during the Delta outbreak

  • Help our public health officials by encouraging your patients and the people in your communities to stay at home.
  • Contact patients before presenting to ensure they do not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been identified as a close or casual contact, and to wear a mask when attending.
  • Use telehealth appointments, if this is feasible. In Greater Sydney and other areas with current COVID-19 transmission only provide face to face services for patients whose health is likely to deteriorate if they don’t receive care.
  • Ensure all staff use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including during consultations
  • Set up the Service NSW QR check-in or other electronic entry recording system, and ensure visitors and staff attending use it as they enter your premises. This includes contractors and personnel making deliveries. Under a public health order it has been mandatory since 12 July for hospitals and private health facilities to record information about persons entering the premises. Strongly encourage patients to use the check-in process.
  • Where possible, restrict visitors to patients and those supporting a vulnerable person.
  • Encourage patients to get vaccinated as soon as possible. NSW Health supports the use of AstraZeneca vaccine as outlined in the ATAGI advice. Two doses are required to achieve good protection from the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Please discuss the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination with your patients in the context of current community transmission. All healthcare professionals should be ready to respond to enquiries about COVID-19 vaccinations, you can refer patients to COVID-19 vaccinations advice from NSW Health and the Commonwealth COVID-19 vaccinations FAQs for further information.

Stay informed and be up-to-date with vaccination

See the latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW for updates. Follow COVID-19 screening protocol for healthcare facilities, which is updated daily to include actions responding to active case locations. Restrictions on travel and work are changing frequently. Regularly review the requirements from the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Orders.

It is very important that you are vaccinated for COVID-19 along with all other vaccines that you are required to have as a healthcare professional, including for seasonal influenza.

Keep using standard precautions and follow mask guidance

  • NSW Health staff must follow the advice of local infection control staff and the Clinical Excellence Commission guidance in the Response and Escalation Framework
  • General practitioners and other primary healthcare professionals should screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms. During the Delta outbreak masks are required in all indoor venues throughout NSW, including clinical settings. At other times, consider the Clinical Excellence Commission advice on when healthcare workers in different contexts should wear masks.
  • Healthcare workers undertaking direct clinical services (for example, vaccination or examining a skin rash) should wear a mask and follow the Clinical Excellence Commission infection prevention and control advice. Hand hygiene remains the cornerstone of infection prevention. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene.
  • People who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 should continue to take the same precautions.

Get tested and stay home if you are unwell

  • Get tested as soon as possible if you have one or more COVID-19 symptoms. Follow the fact sheet for people with COVID 19 symptoms. Return to work only after you receive a negative test result and are feeling well.
  • You should still get tested immediately if you experience any symptoms once you are fully vaccinated. While the vaccines reduce COVID-19 infections, they may not confer immunity immediately. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having been vaccinated, though they should develop a less severe illness.
  • Supervisors and managers must ensure that procedures are in place for every staff member to report COVID-19 symptoms, to ensure staff who have symptoms get tested immediately and isolate, and do not attend work until they receive a negative result.
  • If you work with vulnerable communities, you should avoid close contact with others who are at increased risk of being in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Further advice is available on the factsheet for people who work in high risk setting.

Support student and volunteer health workers

Students and volunteers may be restricted from entering some healthcare facilities if there is active local community transmission. NSW Health will issue advice according to the specific circumstances of the outbreak.

Contact the Public Health Unit if needed on 1300 066 055

If you are notified of a positive COVID-19 test result, need advice, or have concerns about the ability of a patient to self-isolate - for example, if they live in a residential facility - contact the Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.


Current as at: Thursday 26 August 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW