Adjournment Debate – COVID recovery procedures.

My adjournment is to the Minister for Health, and the action I seek on behalf of my constituent is for a clear and defined set of advice for patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to be published like in other states. Minister, my constituent has recently recovered from the virus and has raised with me this issue because there is a large amount of confusion about what her obligations are in terms of workplace testing and vaccination.

In terms of regular workplace testing, in other jurisdictions in the country people who have recovered from the virus are exempt for six months post recovery and they are exempt from isolation requirements. This does not seem to be the case in Victoria, and my constituent is concerned that she may return a false positive and be forced into another period of isolation, which would be incredibly disruptive for her and her employer. In terms of the vaccination, she is mandated by this government to be fully vaccinated and will not be able to work unless she has her second dose. Again, there is conflicting information on whether someone should wait for a period time to have their first or second dose post recovery from COVID.

Published advice from NSW Health says routine COVID-19 testing when you do not have symptoms, such as workplace surveillance testing, is not recommended for six months after you have recovered. This is because tests for COVID-19 may continue to give a positive result for a while after infection even though you are no longer infectious. It also says the person does not have to have a COVID-19 vaccination even if they are required to by an employer or NSW Health and that they do not have to self-isolate if identified as a close contact after the date on a medical clearance letter.

New South Wales requires people who have recovered to keep their medical clearance certificate and present it when required. Minister, my constituent is being given a mix of information and is rightly confused about her obligations, as is her employer.

If this is the situation for a recovered patient in New South Wales, why isn’t it the case for a recovered patient Victoria? Why isn’t there a clear set of guidelines for Victorians that take the issues mentioned into account, and if such advice exists, why isn’t it readily available?

This is another situation where the government’s mixed messaging is making it difficult for people, be it confusion about hospitality workers and hairdressers needing to be vaccinated by a date different to what the mandate orders say or families in my electorate being forced into isolation and not being able to get in contact with anyone at the department to provide them advice or support when they believe they have been mistakenly identified as close contacts. So, Minister, I ask on behalf of my constituent: will you publish a clear and defined set of guidelines for people who have recovered from the virus, like New South Wales has?

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