View resources, information and guides for the care of patients and at-risk groups during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVIDSafe Settings are now in place across Victoria.

The Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges the diversity of issues that may present in vulnerable groups of our population. This is a challenge that is not being overlooked, be assured we are planning as best we can and will respond as quickly as we can as issues arise.

Aged care

Please refer to advice on the Aged care sector coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

COVID-19 Positive Care Pathways

Resources are currently being updated and will be published soon.

Culturally and linguistically diverse groups

This guidance note advises Victorian Government funded agencies and services on how to safely and effectively engage interpreters during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) translated information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, health professionals and industry is available in over 50 languages on the department’s website.

Maternity and newborn

Are pregnant women considered an 'at-risk' group for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

At this time, pregnant women do not appear to be more likely to develop severe coronavirus (COVID-19) than the general population. It is expected that most pregnant women who develop coronavirus (COVID-19) will experience mild or moderate illness from which they will make a full recovery. However, there is currently limited information available regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on pregnant women and their babies. Therefore, it would be prudent for pregnant women to practice social distancing and ensure good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection.

Priority groups and settings

Priority settings and groups are those that are disproportionately affected by adverse health outcomes. Outbreaks in other groups have a disproportionate effect on the community, including provision of essential services and are therefore prioritised for public health management.

Higher prevalence groups and settings

A patient is considered higher risk for COVID-19 if:

  • presenting with acute respiratory tract infection
  • presenting with fever without another immediately apparent cause (for example, urinary tract infection or cellulitis)
  • they are in quarantine for any reason, including:
    • they have travelled overseas and have onset of symptoms within 14 days of return
    • they are a primary or secondary close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • they are a resident in an aged care facility where there is an outbreak
  • they have lived in or visited a geographically localised area at high risk of exposure – see Case locations and outbreaks
  • they have visited a listed public exposure site during the specified period.

Settings with high risk of transmission

Once a confirmed case of COVID occurs in these settings, the risk of rapid transmission is high.

Places where people reside in groups, for example:

  • aged care facilities
  • military residential settings
  • boarding schools
  • boarding houses
  • homeless shelters
  • correctional facilities
  • remote industrial sites with accommodation
  • Aboriginal rural and remote communities
  • high density residential buildings.

Workplace settings where previous outbreaks have shown large scale amplification, for example:

  • schools
  • abattoirs
  • other low temperature food processing, storage and supply chain facilities
  • hotel quarantine
  • freight drivers who travel interstate and are required to get tested through the National Freight Movement Protocol
  • healthcare services
  • aged care facilities
  • nightclubs and bars
  • workplaces with highly casualised or mobile workforces.

People who are most at-risk of severe illness

People in the community who are most at-risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions
  • People 70 years and older
  • People with compromised immune systems

The following chronic conditions are of concern in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50 years and vulnerable workers over 65 years:

  • Chronic renal failure
  • Coronary heart disease or congestive cardiac failure
  • Chronic lung disease (severe asthma for which frequent medical consultations or the use of multiple medications is required, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic emphysema)
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Poorly controlled hypertension

People with compromised immune systems, including those who:

  • Have haematological neoplasms: leukemias, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Are post-transplant: solid organ (on immunosuppressive therapy), haematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 24 months or on treatment for GVHD)
  • Are immunocompromised due to primary or acquired immunodeficiency (including HIV infection)
  • Are currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Receive high-dose corticosteroids (≥20 mg of prednisone per day, or equivalent) for ≥14 days
  • Receive all biologics and most disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) as defined as follows:
    • Azathioprine >3.0 mg/kg/day
    • 6-Mercaptopurine >1.5 mg/kg/day
    • Methotrexate >0.4 mg/kg/week
    • Prednisone >20 mg/day. If <14 days treatment, can resume work when treatment ceased
    • Tacrolimus (any dose)
    • Cyclosporine (any dose)
    • Cyclophosphamide (any dose)
    • Mycophenolate (any dose)
    • Combination (multiple) DMARDs irrespective of dose

Critical workforces

Critical workforces in essential services, including:

  • emergency response
  • law and order
  • child protection workers and other social services
  • food supply chain
  • energy and water.

Other priority settings and groups

Other priority settings not included in lists above, such as:

  • childcare centres
  • disability day centres
  • aged care day centres
  • communities with high proportions of culturally and linguistically diverse people
  • people experiencing homelessness or housing instability
  • remote communities.

Further resources

  • Caring for people with COVID-19 - National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Disposing clinical waste (PDF) - this fact sheet explains how to manage clinical waste from coronavirus (COVID-19), and arrange for collections in various workplace settings.
  • Andrew Wilson, the Chief Medical Officer, speaks about the importance of staff completing declarations to consider their health before they start work