To: All Tasmanian State Servants
Extension to North-West coast restrictions
In this morning’s media conference the Premier will be announcing that, following advice from the Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch, the current Order made under the Public Health Act imposing additional restrictions on the North-West coast will be extended by one week ending 11:59pm Sunday, 3 May 2020. This order applies to the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of: Latrobe, Kentish, Devonport, Central Coast, Burnie, Wynyard-Waratah, Circular Head and West Coast.
This decision has not been made lightly; as has previously been stated we are in the fight of our lives and that fight is occurring on the North-West coast. Pleasingly the number of new confirmed cases on the North-West coast has decreased over the past few days however now is not the time to be complacent. The extension of the Order will provide additional time for the Department of Health to conduct further and necessary community and symptomatic testing to determine the extent of the outbreak.
As a result of the extension of these restrictions, all public schools in the aforementioned LGAs will be closed for the first week of Term 2. Parents will be required to keep their children at home and ensure appropriate supervision. School based employees will continue preparations for Term 2, from home or as directed by the Secretary.
The extension of restrictions will see the continuation of most retail business remaining closed with only essential services remaining open. Such services include (but are not limited to) supermarkets, food takeaways, service stations, pharmacies, GPs and medical services, vets and vet supplies, hardware stores (for trade only), and banks.
In relation to state service employees who live or work in the local government areas mentioned previously, you should continue working from home (where possible) for a further one week period up until 11.59pm on Sunday, 3 May 2020, unless, because of the work you do, your Head of Agency requires you to be in the work place. You are not to travel into or out of the identified North- West region for work purposes unless acting under the approval of your Head of Agency. This includes travelling between your residence and your usual worksite.
Government worksites remain safe; these restrictions are to limit the movement and interactions of people on the North West Coast to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Where you are unable to attend the workplace and you are unable to work at home, you will continue to be receive your normal pay during this period. It is important that you read all communications from your own Department as these will provide important agency-centric information; for specific details of how this affects you and what is happening at your Department’s work sites, you will hear from your Head of Agency.
The criteria for testing is now consistent across the State.
Wherever you are in Tasmania, if you have any symptoms of a fever, runny nose, cough, sore/itchy throat or shortness of breath, call your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 as you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Testing is only available with a referral from a GP or the Public Health Hotline and they will tell you where you need to go for your appointment. You can travel to another town or outside your municipality if needed to attend the clinic you are referred to.
After being tested, you will be instructed to self-isolate until you’ve been told your test result. The clinic that conducted your test or your GP will call you with your results. It usually takes at least 48 hours.
Whilst restrictions remain in place for the next week, our focus will be to significantly increase community testing for COVID-19 in the North-West. As State Servants you cover the spectrum of core public facing roles in the community and as such you are invited to undertake testing even if you are not experiencing symptoms. COVID-19 testing will be made available and is encouraged for all state servants working in the North-West from Saturday 25 April 2020.
Those who are well and are tested will not be required to self-isolate while awaiting the results. However, those who are unwell and are tested must self-isolate until the test result is received.
More extensive testing on the North-West will help us understand if the virus is spreading within the community and help inform Public Health decisions about future restrictions.
This testing is not mandatory. To arrange a test, a referral is needed from the Public Health Hotline.
If you’ve been well and you’ve completed your 14 days of quarantine, it’s important to remember that you must still follow the same rules as other Tasmanians to help slow the spread of the virus.
This means only leaving your home if it’s absolutely necessary, such as:
All state service employees are reminded to help stop the spread of the virus, by keeping yourself and others safe by washing your hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow and keeping 1.5 metres separation from others when in public spaces. Before you return to work, it is important that you are aware of any information provided by your employer about the return. Further information will be provided by individual agencies as necessary.
The measures that have been put in place for the North-West coast have been put in place to keep Tasmanians safe. The message is clear and simple; stay home and save lives.
For more information please visit the Tasmanian Government’s coronavirus website at https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au or call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
Best wishes, and stay safe