3 November 2022

COVID-19 State of Emergency ends but work continues for the WA Health system

The current State of Emergency in Western Australia will end at 12.01am this Friday, 4 November.

COVID-19 will be managed through sustainable public health measures, vaccination and targeted testing processes.

The end of emergency powers marks a significant step in Western Australia’s management of the pandemic.

Western Australia now has stronger protection against serious illness from COVID-19 due to very high vaccination levels, previous infection, access to antivirals, and enhanced medical and public understanding about how to manage COVID-19 transmission risks.

In practical terms, all remaining directions issued under the Emergency Management Act and the Public Health Act will be revoked.

These include proof of vaccination, mandatory vaccination, face mask use in high-risk settings, and visitors to residential aged care facilities (including requirement for influenza vaccination).

The System Alert and Response (SAR) Blue framework in public hospitals and healthcare services will be stood down and replaced by policies and guidelines on infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities, which have been developed to manage the transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

The requirements for hospital health care workers who test positive to COVID-19 and close contacts remain unchanged.

All WA Health staff, including the Department of Health and Health Support Services, who test positive to COVID-19 will be excluded from the workplace for 7 days and until symptoms have resolved.

WA Health staff who are close contacts without symptoms must advise their employer that they are a close contact and receive confirmation that they can attend work in the 7 days after becoming a close contact.

WA Health staff who are close contacts with symptoms will also be excluded for 7 days and until symptoms have resolved.

Public sector workers may access COVID-19 leave until 31 December 2022 in accordance with Circular 6/2020 – Leave arrangements for COVID-19.

Mask wearing requirements will be managed by hospitals under their local policies for infection prevention and control, as they do for other respiratory illnesses.

At a minimum, surgical masks will still be required for healthcare staff who have direct interaction with patients, with increased PPE measures for high-risk areas of the hospital and when dealing with more vulnerable patients.

These areas will be determined by the hospital, in line with the system-wide infection prevention and control guidelines.

Different rules may apply in hospitals and between hospitals for people visiting high-risk areas of a hospital or vulnerable patients.

Visitors are advised to check the hospital’s requirements before attending.

Visitors should not attend public hospitals if they are unwell.

WA Health will continue to develop and communicate appropriate public health measures to manage COVID-19 in the community.

These include, stay home and get tested if you have COVID-like symptoms, register your positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result at HealthyWA, and stay up to date with vaccinations.

People are also encouraged to wear a mask if they can’t socially distance from other people, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash or sanitise hands regularly.

The ongoing management of COVID-19 in Western Australia will be underpinned by continuous monitoring of the amount of virus circulating in the community via various surveillance methods.