As of Tuesday 13th December 2022, Victoria recorded:
4,376 new daily infections
20 COVID deaths
680 hospitalisations, with 26 currently in ICU.
Cumulatively this equals:
2,781,559 total Victorian infections
6,173 Victorian COVID deaths (an increase of 86 since last week)
You can check the Victorian live update here.
Australia: As of the 13th of December, there have been a total of 10,866,876 COVID cases (an increase of 107,604 since last week) and 16,264 deaths (an increase of 218 since last week).
World: As of the 13th December, there had been 653,961,139 worldwide infections (650,329,275 last week). The number of official COVID-related deaths is now 6,659,476. (Source: Worldometer).
94.5% of all eligible Victorians (16+), as of 13th December, have received their second dose, 95.6% their first dose, the third dose the figure is 70.3% with the fourth dose figure at 24.4%.
The figure for all eligible Australians (16+), for the same date is First Dose 97.4%, Second Dose 96.0%, the third dose 69.4% and the fourth dose 25.7% (16+).
Check COVID-Live for Updates.
It is extremely important that everyone maintains high levels of care to minimise the risks of ending up in hospital.
Restrictions eased but lots of infection is around!
The Victorian government announced last week that many restrictions were eased as of midnight Friday April 22. Although these were outlined in last week's SafetyNet journal, details were not yet available on the government websites at that time.
In brief, the changes announced included:
- Removal of vaccine mandates and check-ins to enter retail and hospitality venues
- Masks are no longer required in primary schools, early childhood, hospitality and retail settings, or at events of any size
- Close contacts no longer required to isolate: but required to wear a mask indoors and avoid sensitive settings; and also have at least five negative rapid antigen tests (RATs) over the seven days that would previously have been the self-quarantine period
- All visitor restrictions in hospitals, except for mask requirements, removed. Health services are able to tailor their own settings based on their own circumstances
- changes to requirements for arriving international travellers.
In relation to workplaces
- Individuals are required to notify their workplace contacts, in addition to informing their social contacts.
- Workplaces do not have to individually identify and notify each potentially exposed worker.
- It is recommended to work from home if you're a close contact exempt from quarantine.
- Visitor restrictions in care facilities remain in place to protect the vulnerable
- Face coverings are still be required on public transport and at airports – excluding airport workers who aren’t public facing – and in sensitive health, aged care and justice settings
- All workplaces will still require a COVIDSafe Plan
What does this mean for workers and HSRs?
As all workplaces are still required to have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, HSRs need to request a review of their employer's plan, and ensure that they are consulted.
These are some of the questions/issues to raise:
- What is the employer going to do about close contacts?
- How will they check who is a close contact?
- How will they ensure that if a close contact comes into work they have done and ‘passed’ the at least five RATs in the period they would have had to isolate?
- Will they be distributing masks and ensuring that all close contacts are wearing masks?
- How will they ensure that the close contacts notify their workplace contacts? If the employee notifies the employer, then it would be more efficient if the employer notifies all the contacts.
Other employees at the workplace have a right to know whether they are potentially being exposed.
- And, if at all possible, and it should be for office based workplaces – the employer should continue the current arrangements, to be in line with the recommendation from the government: to continue current arrangements where close contacts of positive cases work from home.
- What measures is the employer implementing/continuing to minimise the risk of employees not contracting the virus from other workers/the general public?
For more information on specific work requirements, such as vaccination requirements, see: How we work
The CHO still recommends that we maintain physical distancing as much as possible. For more general information, go to: How we live.
For more details on the current COVIDSafe Settings, go to this page.
All businesses which are operating in any way must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. The plan focuses on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. Details on creating a COVID Safe workplace are available here.
The COVID Safe Plan must set out:
- The employer's actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
- The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required in your workplace
- How the employer will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
- How the employer will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.
More information can be found on this section of the Business Victoria website. There is a template available which can be utilised.
More information here.
Victoria's vaccine program - go to this page.
- all authorised workers will need to be vaccinated - for those eligible to receive their third shot, they must have had this by February 12 (teachers by February 25).
- The Victorian government is recommending getting the third vaccine three months after receiving the second shot. Currently both Pfizer and Moderna have been approved as 'booster' vaccines. Anyone who is immunocompromised needs to consult their treating doctor, as they may be eligible for the booster shot from two months after their second dose.
- The third shot has been approved for 17 and 18-year-olds
- Parents can now book appointments for children between the ages of 5 and 16.
Advice to HSRs - Consultation
As noted above, all businesses which are operating in metropolitan Melbourne must have a COVIDSafe or a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place. Remember, your employer has a duty to consult with HSRs under s35 of the Act, including when developing and implementing the COVIDSafe plan. HSRs should also be consulted by the employer on the nomination of workers to be invited to register for a vaccine. Contact your union or the OHS Team at Trades Hall if you have any questions. WorkSafe has recently released a new video on Consultation - specifically in relation to making workplaces COVID-safe.
WorkSafe Victoria has a page of information specifically for employees which is regularly updated and has links to relevant DHHS information.