COVID-19 testing and notification

Guidance for students and staff of the University of Melbourne about getting tested for COVID-19, what to do next and how to notify the University about confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In every instance, you should contact the Public Health Network for advice and support – 7 days a week.

DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS if you have any of the following symptoms , however mild: fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss or change in sense of taste or smell – even if you have a negative rapid antigen test result.

Follow Victorian Department of Health advice regarding testing and when to seek medical advice.

If you become unwell on campus

If you become unwell while on campus, or think you might have COVID‑19 related symptoms you should:

  1. Leave the campus immediately. If you must use public transport, be sure to wear a face mask, practice excellent hand hygiene and cough/sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  2. Seek medical advice and get tested for COVID‑19 using a rapid antigen test or at a testing centre, and follow the guidance below if you test positive.
  3. Notify your supervisor / course coordinator and email public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au
  4. If you are having serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000.

Do not return to campus while you have any symptoms, however mild.

If you have COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID‑19 through either a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a PCR test at a COVID-19 testing centre:

  1. Whether or not you have symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate. You must follow the Victorian Government's checklist for COVID cases , including reporting your RAT result.
  2. Notify the University by emailing public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au – even if you haven't been on campus recently. This inbox is monitored 7 days a week. In the email, please include your name, phone number and contact details. Your information will be kept confidential. A privacy collection notice is available.
  3. A University Public Health Network team member will manage this information and may contact you for more details.
  4. If you are a student, alert your supervisor to your positive result. Their contact details can be found in the Handbook or LMS.

You must fulfil the requirements of the Victorian Government checklist for COVID cases and any University requirements before returning to campus.

You do not need to get tested again to be released from isolation after 7 days. You are automatically released at this point if you are symptom free.

If someone else has COVID-19

If a staff member, student or another member of the University community notifies you that they have tested positive:

  1. Advise the individual to email public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au.
  2. You should also notify the University by emailing relevant details (names, contact number, sites affected, key dates, etc) to public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au. This inbox is monitored 7 days a week. You should also let the individual know you will be notifying the University.

When collecting or sharing details of positive COVID‑19 test, remember that personal information should only be used or disclosed as required, and that only the minimum amount of personal information necessary to prevent or manage COVID‑19 should be collected, used or disclosed. A privacy collection notice is available.

If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19

If you are a contact of someone with a confirmed case of COVID‑19:

  1. Follow all advice and guidance available from the Victorian Department of Health regarding testing and other requirements*
  2. Notify the University by emailing public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au
  3. If you develop symptoms at any time, even mild ones, you should get a COVID‑19 test and send an email to public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au so we can provide further advice and support
  4. You must fulfil the requirements of the Victorian Government checklist for COVID contacts and any University requirements before attending campus.

* If you are a household contact, you are encouraged wherever possible to study or work from home, if you can, for 7 days. If you need to access campus during that time you must:

  1. Only attend campus if you are symptom-free
  2. Notify our Public Health Network and your supervisor/course coordinator
  3. Have a negative RAT result each day before attending campus
  4. Wear a mask on campus
  5. Follow any other advice from the Public Health Network.

  6. The University will provide students and staff who are household contacts with additional RATs and P2 masks via existing distribution points.

Additional guidance on household contacts attending campus

Staff

  • Access to campus for household contacts should be limited to critical on-campus activities that can't be delayed or undertaken remotely, and would inhibit the delivery of teaching, research or other critical functions.
  • In the first instance, supervisors should work with staff to determine whether it is essential that the activity be completed on campus during the 7-day household contact period.
  • Consider whether delaying this activity, a temporary change in work patterns, additional management support and/or wellbeing services may allow the person to work from home.
  • If the activity absolutely must be done now, by this person, and there is no reasonable way to complete it remotely, the person may attend campus if they follow the steps above.

Students

  • Students who are household contacts are encouraged to study from home, if they can, for 7 days. If they need to access campus during this time, they must follow the steps above.
  • Students with on-campus exams and assessments are asked not to attend if they are household contacts. Further guidance is available here

Sensitive settings

Due to the sensitive nature of the following settings, additional requirements apply for:

  • Student accommodation – residents classified as household contacts must also notify their accommodation manager
  • Early childhood centres – household contacts must not attend for 7 days (position subject to review)

If you have visited an exposure site

The University publishes any on-campus exposures and impacts online and the Department of Health may send alerts for patrons of higher-risk venues where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been present.

If you have been alerted about visiting an exposure site by the Department of Health or have visited a site listed by the University:

  1. Follow the advice provided for testing and other requirements. Advice and directions may differ depending on where you have been, how long you were there and how much time has passed since you were there.
  2. Please send an email to public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au if you have visited an exposure site so we can provide advice and support.

If you have recently recovered from COVID-19

You do not need to get tested again to be released from isolation after 7 days. You are automatically released at this point if you are symptom free. If you still have symptoms after 7 days there is a possibility you may still be infectious – please follow this guidance about continuing isolation.

If you have recovered from COVID-19, you are not required to get tested or isolate if you are re-exposed to a case, or take part in an asymptomatic screening program, within 12 weeks of ending your isolation period. However, if you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at any time, including within this 12-week period, you should get tested and:

  • follow isolation protocols for COVID-19 cases if you test positive
  • stay away from campus until you are symptom-free regardless of your test result.

After 12 weeks, you must follow the relevant advice depending on the type of contact you are (household contact, exposed person/social contact, etc).

More information is available in the Victorian Government checklist for COVID cases.

Hay fever, allergies, asthma or COVID-19?

The symptoms of hay fever and asthma can be similar to COVID-19 and it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. It is important that you do not assume these symptoms are hay fever or asthma.

If your symptoms are new or different than usual, or have restarted after a period of absence, or you are unsure whether they are due to your hay fever or asthma:

  1. Stay home, or leave campus immediately if you are already on site. If you must use public transport, be sure to wear a face mask, practice excellent hand hygiene and cough/sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  2. Get tested for COVID‑19 using a rapid antigen test or at a testing centre, and stay home until you get a negative result. If you test positive, follow the guidance above.
  3. Notify your supervisor / course coordinator and email public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au
  4. If you are having serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000.

The best way to prevent symptoms of hay fever or asthma is to have an up-to-date management plan and follow it. If you don’t yet have a plan, now is the time to check in with your doctor.

Getting tested

Everyone's first option for COVID-19 testing should be to use a rapid antigen test. If you have symptoms and cannot access a rapid antigen test, you should visit a testing centre for a PCR test.

Find testing sites

NOTE: testing sites may close temporarily when over capacity. Please check the status of any testing site via the link above before visiting.

Support

The University's Public Health Network has a rostered team that monitors the public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au inbox 7 days a week. Information emailed to the mailbox is analysed and timely responses are enacted to protect the health and wellbeing of our community.

Notifying the team at public-health-network@unimelb.edu.au means the University can support individuals who contract COVID‑19 by providing practical advice, links to University services, conducting wellbeing checks, answering COVID‑19 related questions and assisting through the isolation process.

The Public Health Network also facilitates contact tracing, any necessary cleaning, provides relevant local and organisational level communication, and assists with mandatory reporting to the Department of Health and WorkSafe.

The University has a network of people who have been briefed in readiness to respond to individual cases and we now need them to be on standby and ready to be called upon. We need supervisors to support them in this work.

When collecting or sharing details of positive COVID‑19 test, remember that personal information should only be used or disclosed as required, and that only the minimum amount of personal information necessary to prevent or manage COVID‑19 should be collected, used or disclosed. A privacy collection notice is available.

COVID-19 staff entitlements

Fixed-term and continuing staff who are required to self-isolate or who become ill with COVID-19, and are unable to work from home, will not be asked to use sick or personal leave, and will receive a payment equivalent to their salary for the duration of their absence. Please apply for Special Paid Leave (Quarantine) via Themis self-service in this situation.

The University will also provide casual staff with a COVID-19 Special Payment, equivalent to the hours they were expected to work within the seven (7) calendar days they are required to self-isolate if they become ill with COVID-19 or are a close contact, and are unable to work from home. Please follow these instructions to submit a casual timecard in this situation.

Find out more on our dedicated COVID-19 page for staff.

COVID-19 documents for travel

The University Health Service offers the gold standard COVID PCR test.

Some countries require different tests and documentation when you are returning to your home country. The Health Service cannot provide tests for countries requiring tests other than the COVID PCR.

If you require a returning traveller COVID test, please contact the University's COVID-19 hotline on (03) 8344 6905 to see which testing site you may need to attend.