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Suspected Cases of COVID-19

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: N/A

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Overview

If you suspect that a child in the CEO's care may have COVID-19 refer to this entry for practice and delivery of child protection services.

If you suspect that you may be a close contact, or have tested positive to COVID-19 and need to self-isolate, please notify your line manager and complete a COVID-19 Self-isolation report

Refer to the Department's SharePoint COVID-19 Response Management pages:  

For any further queries, please email the WHS team via: Safety@communities.wa.gov.au

You should consider this guidance with all approved information provided on the following sites


Rules
Your safety and the safety and wellbeing of children, parents and families who come into contact with the Department must be the focus and priority in all interactions.

For any matters or actions in your work that relate to the potential transmission or diagnosis of COVID-19 you should:

  • consult your line manager
  • escalate issues to your district director as required, and
  • ensure accurate recording, including documenting rationales for the cancellation of activities/actions.

You must continue to refer to all usual practice guidance contained in Casework Practice Manual entries, except where an item on this page overrides guidance outlined in that entry.

The Department must continue to deliver critical essential services to the community.

Information and Instructions

  • If you suspect a child has COVID-19
  • Step 1: Obtain initial information
  • Step 2: Seek medical advice
  • Step 3: Identify contacts (minimise transmission)
  • Step 4: Inform
  • Step 5: Recovery
  • Recording on Assist
  • If you suspect a child has COVID-19

    ​If a child in the CEO's care presents with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, sore throat, dry cough, sneeze), reassure and isolate the child immediately (with the required supervision, particularly in Residential Care Homes and the Kath French Secure Care Centre).

    Notify the relevant district director (DD) or, if in a residential care home or Kath French Secure Care Centre, the Director who will notify the Director of the Child and Carer Connection Hub (the Hub). 

    The child's health must be a priority and if urgent medical attention is required, call 000 for assistance.
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    Step 1: Obtain initial information

    Collate the following information, remembering that this is a stressful time for carers and children. Check in with the carer or residential care worker when you call them to obtain information below:  

    • What are the child's symptoms?  
    • How many children in the household are displaying symptoms? 
    • When did the symptoms start? 
    • Has the child been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or anyone who has returned from interstate or overseas recently? 
    • Have the carers experienced any cold or flu like symptoms in the last 14 days? 
    • Have any staff members that have had contact with the child experienced any cold or flu like symptoms in the last 14 days? (Discuss with the DD how this information will be obtained from Department staff members). 
    • Is the child already in isolation? If so, when did they commence isolation? 
    • Are there any other children in the CEO's care in the care arrangement? If yes: 
      • Who are the children? 
      • Are they showing any symptoms? 
      • What symptoms are they showing and when did they start? 
      • Have they sought medical advice? 
      • What was the medical advice received? 
    • Has the child's health deteriorated in the last few days? If so, are they responding to treatment (rest, fluids etc.)? If the child's condition deteriorates, seek medical advice and in emergencies call 000 for assistance. 
    • What were the general movements of the child in the last 14 days (schools, family contact, day care)?  
    • What date was the child and any other staff tested for COVID-19?  
    • What support do the family or residential care workers need to remain in isolation until COVID-19 test results are confirmed (e.g. do they need medication, food, emotional support, etc.)? 

    Provide responses to the above questions to the DD and medical professional treating the child.

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    Step 2: Seek medical advice

    On presenting for medical treatment and advice, the person accompanying the child (residential care worker, carer, family carer) must advise the doctor or triage nurse of the details of the child in the CEO's care and the name, phone number and email of the child protection worker (CPW). Please remind carers of this requirement, as this will enable information on the child's treatment and condition to be provided to the CPW as soon as practicable.

    Seek medical advice and ensure: 

    • the child receives the appropriate medical response and treatment;
    • that proper protection/prevention measures are communicated to the child and carer and are in place; and 
    • all measures taken are documented on the child's file. 

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    Step 3: Identify contacts (minimise transmission)

    1. Within the Department:

    • Identify any Department staff that have been contact with the child. 

    • In consultation with the DD, identify staff who meet the 'close contact' criteria following contact with the child.  Refer to WA.gov.au for latest close contact definition and new testing and isolation protocols.  Staff who are advised to self-isolate (or their line manager) must complete the COVID-19: Self-isolation report.

    • Staff members who were in close contact with the child must work from home or take leave, until notified by their DD that they can return to work. 

    • Inform/notify 
      • the Hub that no referrals may be made to the carer, the Residential Care Home or Family Group Home where the child resides until further notice, and 
      • the Statewide Referral and Response Service (Crisis Care) after hours support or assistance if required. 

    2. Within community service organisations (CSOs): 

    • ​If a CSO is providing the care arrangement, contact the CSO and establish a process to send and receive updates about the child's wellbeing and health status as soon as they become available. 

    • Collate the following information with the carer and CSO: 
      • What medical advice has been received? 
      • Is the family self-isolating or in quarantine?  
      • What process has the CSO used to manage the health situation? 

    If any other children in the care arrangement start to show symptoms, follow the above steps and notify medical professionals treating child that another person in the house has symptoms, is being tested and awaiting results, or was tested and tested positive/negative for COVID-19.

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    Step 4: Inform

    If COVID-19 test is negative:

    • Notify the Hub that referrals can recommence. 
    • Notify the DD that the test is negative so that staff identified as needing to work from home can be notified and return to the workplace. 
    • Notify the CSO where relevant. 
    • Support the family to follow medical advice received. 
    • Contact the birth parents to check how they are and let them know of suspected concerns and subsequent actions. 

    If COVID-19 test is positive:

    Notify the WHS Team via: Safety@communities.wa.gov.au 

    Staff Reporting:

    Children and Resident Reporting:

    All children in care and residents in Communities' homes (Residential Care / Group Homes) deemed a positive case or a close contact:

    • Notify via: safety@communities.wa.gov.au

    • Subject Line for fast identification and support (delete as necessary): <Child in Care> / <Resident> - <Positive Case> / <Close Contact> - <Location, i.e XYZ Home >

    • The Outbreak Management Team will establish contact with you as currently done and provide support.

    All children in care in external placements (i.e. foster care arrangement, etc.):

    • Notify via: safety@communities.wa.gov.au

    • Subject Line (delete as necessary): <Child in Care> - <Positive Case> / <Close Contact> - <External Placement>

    • Email content where there is no staff impact:
      • Simply state "No staff impact – Notification only".
      • No further information required.

    Where staff are impacted by a positive case, complete the form:  COVID-19 Staff Impact – positive cases report (linked and in related resources list), attach to email and send to:  safety@communities.wa.gov.au

    Next steps:

    • Update Assist to record the COVID-19 diagnosis. 

    • Obtain DD approval and support to advise the child's family. 

    • Notify the CSO where relevant, the carer and the child's family. Arrange an opportunity for the family to talk to or skype with the child concerned, where possible. 

    • Contact the child's family and provide them with relevant information and resources or links to resources to allay their fears, clarify questions, etc.  

    • Notify the Hub that no referrals to, or transitions out of the care arrangement are to occur until further notice. 

    • Establish what support the carer and their family need to comply with medical advice and isolation requirements (e.g. do they need medication or food etc., do they have someone outside the home who can buy their groceries and supplies) 

    • Maintain contact with the family via email, phone and/or skype to ensure they have the essentials they require.

    The Department of Health undertake contact tracing and notify people who are at risk once the positive test results are confirmed.

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    Step 5: Recovery

    Once the household is clear from COVID-19: 

    • Arrange for the house to be cleaned in accordance with official advice (when the care arrangement is provided by a CSO this should be arranged with the CSO). 
    • Notify the district director that the child and household has recovered from COVID-19.  
    • Notify the Hub that referrals, and transitions in/out can recommence. 
    • Notify the CSO where relevant. 
    • Notify the family that you have undertaken this remedial action. 
    • Document all actions taken in the case file.
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    Recording on Assist

    ​​​​For information on recording please refer to COVID-19 Recording in Assist (also in related resources).

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Related Resources

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