Support for healthcare workers, including advice on self-isolation, quarantine and emergency accommodation – Hotels for Heroes program.

Protecting our healthcare workers

Victoria’s healthcare workers are the last line in our defence against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Protecting our healthcare workers (PDF) sets out the very latest in our understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it can spread within healthcare settings – both hospitals and aged care facilities.

It also outlines the additional steps that will be taken in order to help address these challenges.

Advice for frontline workers

If your normal work involves moving between health services, you can continue to do this to provide care and do your job.  

But you must not go to work if you are unwell.

For more details, see:

Getting tested as a healthcare or aged care worker

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested. When you get tested you should tell the person taking your test that you are a healthcare or aged care worker to ensure your test results are given priority.

  • Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation*.

OR

  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss or change in sense of smell or taste).

*Clinical discretion applies; consider potential for co-infection (e.g. SARS-CoV-2 and influenza).

Additional testing note:

People who are at higher risk of infection due to their environmental exposure should also be tested if they have new onset of other clinical symptoms associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) (e.g. headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) AND meet the following epidemiological criteria:

  • Close contacts of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Returned overseas travel in the past 14 days.
  • Health care or aged care workers. 

A healthcare worker is a worker who is a regulated health professional. This includes:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice
  • Chinese medicine (acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and Chinese herbal dispenser)
  • chiropractic
  • dental (dentists, dental specialists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists and oral health therapists)
  • medical
  • medical radiation practice (diagnostic radiographers, nuclear medicine technologists and radiation therapists)
  • nursing and midwifery (registered nurses, enrolled nurses, nurse practitioners, and midwives)
  • occupational therapy
  • optometry
  • pharmacy
  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • psychology.

When do I have to quarantine or self-isolate?

You must quarantine for 14 days if you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), you are required to self-isolate until you receive a clearance from isolation from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department will discuss these requirements with you.

Healthcare workers who have returned from overseas will be placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

You must not enter or remain at a hospital in Victoria if:

  • you have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and not yet met the criteria for discharge from isolation.
  • you have arrived in Australia from any country in the past 14 days.
  • you have had known contact with a person who is a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case without using recommended infection control precautions, including use of recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

If you have taken the recommended infection control precautions while caring for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), including use of recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), you are not considered to be a close contact and do not need to quarantine.

Emergency accommodation for healthcare workers

The Hotel for Heroes program - or coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Accommodation (CEA) program -  provides emergency accommodation for frontline workers required to quarantine or self-isolate, but are unable to do so in their home.

Eligible frontline workers include:

  • Public and private hospital clinical or non-clinical healthcare workers 
  • Paramedics and patient transport officers 
  • Frontline workers in hospital laboratories 
  • Public and private sector residential aged care workforce 
  • Workers deployed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) in frontline COVID-19 operational roles. 
  • Workers in primary care settings 
  • Victoria Police workforce 
  • Youth Justice workforce 
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade officers 
  • Country Fire Authority Emergency Medical Response officers 
  • Victoria Corrections workforce 
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation workforce 
  • Frontline workers in supported accommodation for people with a disability 
  • Community based pharmacy workforce 

The Hotels for Heroes program is also available to eligible frontline workers who regularly work in an environment that involves consistent exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) positive patients, who need accommodation on compassionate grounds, or those who cannot safely self-isolate or quarantine at home.

Hotels for Heroes – Emergency accommodation program staff information – 29 July 2020 (Word) 

For more details, see: 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health workforce response

Expressions of interest are sought for all clinical skillsets – doctors (general, limited and specialist registrants), nurses, midwives, allied health professionals (therapies and sciences) and paramedics. For further information please visit coronavirus (COVID-19) health worker response.