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Arjo AUS FAQ Covid-19

Updated 26th March 2020 

COVID-19 FAQ Revision.02 
Current update: addition of Q31-Q37

 

1.  What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease caused by the virus is named COVID-19.

2.  How is this coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared.
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes.
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
     
3.  What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to colds and the flu and include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms are likely suffering from a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.

4.  What do I do if I develop symptoms? 

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of arriving in Australia or within 14 days of the last contact with a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

You must remain isolated either in your home, hotel or a health care setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.

5.  I’m not feeling well and don’t think I can come to work, what should I do?

You should contact your Manager/Supervisor prior to your normal start time to notify them as per normal. If you suspect COVID-19 or have any symptoms, then you should ring your GP/Health Clinic in advance and make an appointment.

Note it is essential to call in advance so that the GP/Health Clinic can make the necessary preparations for your visit. 

6.  Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Your doctor will tell you if you should be tested, your doctor will decide if you meet the criteria:

  • You have returned from overseas in the past 14 days, and you develop a respiratory illness with or without fever
  • You have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days, and you develop a respiratory illness with or without fever
  • You have severe community-acquired pneumonia, and there is no clear cause
  • You are showing symptoms (refer no 3)
  • You are a healthcare worker who works directly with patients, and you have a respiratory illness and a fever.

 

7.  Who needs to isolate? 

All people who arrive in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020, or think may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
 

8.  Someone I live with is in isolation or getting tested for COVID-19. Should I self-isolate and get tested as well?

Staff should immediately notify their Manager and HR and commence self-isolation at home. If the test results come back negative or the local Health Department give the all-clear to stop self-isolation, then the staff member can return to work. For more information, read the fact sheet on home isolation. You should get tested – refer no 6.

9.  What information do I report to my Manager and HR if a member of my household or I am suspected of having COVID-19?

Depending on your circumstances you may also be asked to help identify any other people that you have had close contact with (15 minutes of uninterrupted contact), between the possible infection starting point and when you have become aware of the possible infection. 

10.  What does isolate in your home mean?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay at home to prevent it from 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 do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

You should stay in touch by phone and on-line with your family and friends. For more information, read our fact sheet on home isolation

11.  What is social distancing?

Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. Social distancing includes staying at home when you are unwell, avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible and minimising physical contact such as shaking hands, especially with people at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, such as older people and people with existing health conditions.

Social distancing precautions can help protect the people in our community who are most at risk.

12.  Who is most at risk of a serious illness?

Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:

  • People with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer).
  • Elderly people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have higher rates of chronic illness.
  • People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
  • People in group residential settings.
  • People in detention facilities.
  • Very young children and babies.*

*At this stage the risk to children and babies, and the role children play in the transmission of COVID-19, is not clear. However, there has so far been a low rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases among children, relative to the broader population.

13.  How is the virus treated?

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.

14.  How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and keeping your distance from others when you are sick is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
  • Exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.

15.  Can I go to public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events?

Currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission of COVID-19. To help slow the spread, the Australian Government has advised, effective from Monday 16 March that organised, non-essential gatherings should be limited to 500 people and Indoor gatherings limited to 100 people.

Non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforces, such as health care professionals and emergency services, should also be limited. This advice does not include workplaces, schools, universities, shops, supermarkets, public transport and airports.

To protect vulnerable Australians, the Government has also advised reducing visitors to all residential aged care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

These precautions are most important for people over 60, particularly if they have a chronic disease.

16.  Should I be taking my kids out of childcare or school?

No, at this stage the Government recommends continuing essential daily activities including school and childcare. If your child is unwell, you should keep them home to avoid spreading their germs to others. You should follow the advice of your school authority.

17.  What about community sports and activities?

Major sporting events and community activities may be postponed or cancelled depending on the size of the event and the expected number of attendees. You can continue to engage in smaller community sports and activities that are part of your daily life. Please follow the advice of from the authorities.

18.  Should I wear a face mask?

You do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy. While the use of masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like coronavirus.

19.  What countries/regions does Arjo reasonably consider may increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19?

The list of high risk and moderate risk countries is continuing to change almost daily, refer to the Department of Health website or Smart Traveller for the latest information.
 

20.  The Australian Government has imposed a mandatory 14 day isolation period when returning from overseas. What does this mean to me?

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you and your immediate family members can return to Australia and a 14 day home isolation period will apply.

21.  Can I work from home, if I am in the 14 day isolation period?

This will depend on your role if there is the ability to work from home and will need to be determined on a case by case basis with your Manager and HR. Refer to AU-OHS-036 Home Based Work policy & procedure on AUS SharePoint.

22.  Will I be paid during a 14 day isolation period after returning from personal travel overseas?

From 16th of March, 2020 onwards if a staff member continues with their planned international travels, then they will need to factor in 2 weeks’ of additional annual leave to cover the self-isolation period. If they cannot carry the period with annual leave, then the period is treated as unpaid leave.

23.  Will I be paid if I get sick and my doctor tells me to isolate at home for the next 14 days?

If you are isolated at home for 14 days due to illness with a medical certificate, then you will need to access your sick leave.

24.  What if I fear to go into a hospital/long term care facility?

At Arjo, our focus is on people. We prioritise the wellbeing & safety of our employees with our customers, patients and residents that we serve each day. The COVID-19 task force is monitoring government and health facilities advice on all matters of employee safety. Please speak with your manager if you have concerns.

25.  Why are you taking my temperature when I come on-site?

One of the early symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever, and an indicator is a temperature reading of above 37.6 degrees. By checking our temperatures in the morning with a simple and non-invasive thermometer, is an easy way to identify and take action on early symptoms.

26.  Why must I clean my desk, office, car/ or van? How do I do this?

By keeping common surface areas clean, it will help reduce the spread of the virus. It is important that you take all the recommended steps to help protect yourself and others. 
 

27.  What must I do if I suspect one of my co-workers has COVID-19? 

Ask your co-worker how they are feeling, if they are not feeling well or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 then they should contact their Manager/Supervisor urgently.
 

28.  If one of my co-workers get COVID-19, how will you notify me? What must I do? 

Arjo will update staff via their Managers who will explain the situation and the specific instructions that will need to be followed.
 

29.  What is Arjo’s position on schools and possible closures and the actions required thereafter?

At this time the schools remain open, if the Federal Government make a decision to close schools, then Arjo will implement further changes to support our workers in line with the Governments instructions.
 

30.  What is Arjo’s position on domestic travel for work? 

Only business-critical domestic travel will be allowed, and all domestic travel requests must be approved by the Grandfather principle that is approved by your Managers Manager. Current domestic travel bookings are currently being reviewed and may be cancelled or suspended if they are non-business critical. 

31.  What are Arjo’s site working arrangements?

Our offices across Australia remain open as we are an essential supplier of services. Our highest priority at this time is to keep our people safe and healthy and to keep operating the business at maximum activity.

To this end, we are committed to providing safe and healthy workplaces to protect our people. This means additional precautions, such as:

  • Taking temperature on arrival to the site
  • Cleaning desks daily
  • Enforcing social distancing, where ever possible
  • Minimising staff movements beyond their usual work areas and facilities
  • Different business areas are implementing specific controls; please support all precautions that are being introduced across the Arjo business.

As our offices remain open and as not all employees can work from home, we are looking to accommodate staff in offices via a system of flexible/split/rotational shifts for office-based employees

32.  Can I temporarily work from home?

There are some roles that can be done on a temporary working from home basis. The temporary homeworking policy should be followed and discussed with your Manager if you are in a role that can be performed from home.

33.  What happens if I can’t go to work because we have no available childcare arrangements?

At this time schools remain open in most states but if you find yourself in a situation that the school that your children attend is closed and you do not have childcare arrangements, we will be as flexible as possible.

Discuss personal circumstances with your Manager and/or HR with a view to

  • Apply for a work from home arrangement in line with temporary homeworking policy.
  • Review leave entitlements such as – carer’s leave, annual leave, long service leave, and unpaid leave.
  • Coordinating temporary shift changes, where you can balance shifts with childcare and support from others in your community.

Please discuss with your Manager and come to an agreed approach that can work for you and the company.

34.  What about Employees who are unable to work from home or if we don’t have enough of your normal work for you to do or less work than usual?

Our aim is to keep the business operating at maximum activity. In cases where you are not operating at maximum activity in your role, we may ask employees to carry out alternative duties for this period and/or assist in other departments.

Please be open to having discussions with your Manager and/or HR in working out plans.

35.  What if my family member(s) or I are in an at-risk category for COVID-19?

There will be some employees or members of their household who are considered to be in the at-risk group. The employee needs to take responsibility for their own condition and needs to follow the guidance from the Department of Health.

As an employer, we will treat this on a case by case basis and be as supportive as possible and will support flexible and home working where we can.

Please ensure that you inform your Manager and agree on the approach.

36.  What does self-isolation mean and how do I do it?

Refer Australian Government Department of Health Isolation Guidance

37.  What if I need to drive interstate to perform my service/rentals/sales job?

Check, plan and discuss with your Manager in advance of the intended travel date. Please note that with interstate border closures there are new protocols that need to be followed to move across borders, without proper planning and approval then fines and/or isolation period restrictions may be applied.