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Hospital visitors

Hospital Entry Direction (No. 5)

Restrictions for Impacted Areas Direction (No. 19)

What’s changed from 8 October 2021

From 4pm 8 October 2021, there are no restricted areas in Queensland.

Hospitals in impacted areas

There are continuing requirements for hospitals located in the Local Government Areas of:

  • Brisbane City
  • Gold Coast City
  • Ipswich City
  • Lockyer Valley Region
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Noosa Shire
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim Region
  • Somerset Region
  • Sunshine Coast Region.

These requirements include:

  • Visitors
    • Visitors are allowed in these Local Government areas. Individual facilities may have increased rules in place.
  • Students
    • Students can only enter a hospital located in an impacted area for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • Students who have been in Local Government Areas with continuing requirements in the last 14 days or since the area was identified (whichever is shorter) cannot enter a hospital facility in Queensland for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study, unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hospitals located in non-restricted areas

Patients can have as many visitors as the hospital allows at any one time, for any length of time, within visiting hours.

It is recommended that you contact the hospital directly to confirm their visitation rules and visiting hours, before leaving home.

Visitors (unless you are a patient), staff, students or volunteers should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • is in home quarantine, unless granted an exemption
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries), unless granted an exemption
  • has had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless they have received a negative COVID-19 test since entering Queensland
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to receive the results (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

You may enter a hospital if you do not fit into any of the above categories. Each hospital and even wards within hospitals can make decisions around visiting that are in the best interest of the patient. These decisions are based on clinical risk and may change depending on the situation at the time. Please respect each hospital’s visitor rules.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the hospital
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the patient’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the hospital to help keep staff and patients safe.

Students

Students cannot enter hospitals in restricted or impacted areas for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study, unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. There are currently no restricted Local Government Areas in Queensland.

Students who have been in a restricted or impacted Local Government Area in the last 14 days or since the area was identified (whichever is shorter) cannot enter a hospital in Queensland for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study, unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Students who have not been to a restricted or impacted local government area and have placements outside of these areas can continue their placement.

From 11 November 2021, a student cannot enter a hospital for placement unless they are fully vaccinated.

For more detail, including details of all special circumstances, read the Hospital Entry Direction (No. 5) and Restrictions for Impacted Areas Direction (No. 19).

Questions and answers about this Direction

What Local Government Areas have restrictions?

#whatlgasrestricted

From 4pm 8 October 2021, there are no restricted areas in Queensland.

There are also ongoing requirements for hospitals located in the impacted Local Government Areas of:

  • Brisbane City
  • Gold Coast City
  • Ipswich City
  • Lockyer Valley Region
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Noosa Shire
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim Region
  • Somerset Region
  • Sunshine Coast Region.

Questions about hospitals

Who can visit a patient in hospital?

Patients can have as many visitors as the hospital allows at any one time, for any length of time, within visiting hours.

It is recommended that you contact the hospital directly to confirm their visitation rules and visiting hours, before leaving home.

Visitors (unless you are a patient) should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • is in home quarantine, unless granted an exemption
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries), unless an exemption has been granted
  • is a close contact, unless their quarantine period has ended
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless they have received a negative COVID-19 test since entering Queensland
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to receive the results (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

You may enter a hospital if you do not fit into any of the above categories.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the hospital
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the patient’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the hospital to help keep staff and patients safe.

Can I visit someone who is near their end of life in a hospital if I have been to an interstate exposure venue, hotspot or overseas in the last 14 days?

Visitors who have been to an interstate exposure venue, hotspot, or overseas (other than a Queensland safe travel zone country) in the last 14 days must be granted an exemption by the Chief Health Officer for an end of life visit in a hospital. You must comply with all the conditions given under the exemption.

The hospital must also take reasonable steps to manage your visit in line with the conditions of the exemption. For example, this could mean:

  • the hospital needs to ensure the patient you are visiting is in a single room
  • you wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • you are escorted to and from the room
  • you avoid common areas and contact with other patients, visitors and staff.

To apply for an exemption for an end of life visit, complete the form online using the COVID-19 Services Portal. Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) if you need help making your application.

I am a NSW border zone resident, can I visit a hospital in Queensland?

Yes. You can enter a hospital if you can prove you have been residing in the New South Wales non-restricted border zone for the past 14 days and have not been outside the non-restricted border zone.

Can I visit someone with COVID-19?

You will not be able to visit a patient with COVID-19. If end of life support is required, you will need to discuss this with the patient’s treating team.

Will visitation rules differ across hospitals and regions?

The Hospital Visitors Direction applies to all hospitals across all regions in Queensland. Each hospital and even wards within hospitals can make decisions around visiting that are in the best interest of the patient. These decisions are based on clinical risk and may change depending on the situation at the time – such as the number of cases in the community, a visitor’s travel history and whether the patient is a vulnerable patient or not.

Visiting hours may also differ across hospitals. Please respect each hospital’s visitor rules.

I have received a negative COVID-19 test after returning from an interstate area of concern, when can I return to work/study/volunteer/at a hospital?

You may enter a hospital if you have been in an interstate area of concern (excluding interstate exposure venues) in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter) if you obtain a negative COVID-19 test in Queensland. If you do not get tested you must wait 14 days before you can enter a hospital.

If you have been in an interstate exposure venue you cannot enter a hospital in Queensland for any purpose. You must get a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.

Are there penalties if I don't comply?

Yes. If you don’t comply you may receive an on the spot fine of $1,378, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,785 or 6 months imprisonment.

What is a vaccinated student?

Only vaccinated students on placement (including paramedicine students) are allowed to enter hospitals in a restricted or impacted area.

Students cannot enter hospitals in a restricted or impacted Local Government Area for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study, unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

A vaccinated student is a student who:

  • in connection with an enrolled course of study (with any education provider), is completing a placement under the supervision of an employee or contractor at a hospital; or
  • is entering a hospital in a restricted or impacted area as part of a placement; and
  • has received the prescribed number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or endorsed or two doses of another COVID vaccine endorsed by WHO-COVAX if the vaccine was received overseas.

Students who are not vaccinated, including due to medical reasons, cannot enter a hospital in a restricted or impacted area as part of their placement.

Students that are not fully vaccinated can still enter a hospital in a restricted area or impacted area for personal reasons:

  • for an end of life visit
  • as a support person of a prospective resident

From 11 November 2021, a student cannot enter a hospital for placement unless they are fully vaccinated.

Why do only students need to have received the COVID-19 vaccine to enter a hospital?

In Queensland our approach has always been to restrict access to vulnerable facilities when there is evidence of community transmission. Ensuring students entering hospitals in a restricted or impacted area as part of their placements are fully vaccinated is another measure we are putting in place to protect the most vulnerable in our community during times of heightened risk.

Unlike employees and contractors of hospitals, whose work is essential to ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents, students undertaking a placement can have their placement delayed without putting patients at risk.

Are students allowed to undertake a placement at hospitals?

Students may only undertake a placement at a non-restricted hospital, where they are under the supervision of an employee or contractor.

  • Students can only enter a hospital located in an impacted area for a placement connected to their enrolled course of study if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Students who have not been to an impacted area and have placements outside of these areas can continue their placement without being vaccinated.

Facilities may also impose their own additional requirements on students.

Questions about close contacts

Who is considered a close contact of a person with COVID-19?

The Hospital Visitors Direction states that a person must not enter a hospital if they are a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

A close contact is someone who has:

  • had face-to-face contact for any amount of time or shared a closed space for at least 1 hour with a confirmed case during their infectious period.
  • been to a venue or location where the risk of transmission is considered high based on public health assessment.
  • been identified by public health authorities to be at high risk for developing COVID-19 as they have or may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, for example in a school or other institutional setting.
  • been advised they will be provided with a quarantine direction by an emergency officer – by text, email or phone call.
  • been confirmed a close contact or casual contact by an interstate government authority.

The Management of Close Contacts Direction outlines the quarantine, travel and testing requirements for close contacts.

Are healthcare workers considered to be close contacts?

The Hospital Visitors Direction states that a person must not enter a hospital if they are a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Hospital workers, healthcare workers or practitioners providing health or medical care may provide care for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. These workers are not considered close contacts for the purposes of the Direction where they have been wearing appropriate PPE (PDF) and followed recommended infection control precautions.

Questions about the collection of contact information

Why do visitor, volunteer and contractor details have to be collected?

From 9 July 2021, hospitals must collect contact information of visitors, volunteers and contractors using the Check In Qld app, unless an exception applies. This is so public health officials can contact individuals in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland.

Exceptions to using the Check In Qld app includes not requesting information from:

  • a person entering in an emergency to provide emergency services
  • a child under the age of 16 years who is not accompanied by a responsible adult
  • a person based on compassionate grounds or if it may pose a risk to a person's safety.

How will visitor, volunteer and contractor details be collected? What is the responsibility of an individual?

From 9 July 2021, the operator of a hospital must collect contact information by requesting visitors, volunteers and contractors use the Check In Qld app. If this can’t be done because the individual is unable to use the app – for example, because of age, disability or language barriers, or they do not have access to the app – the operator must register them through the Business Profile of the app. The Check In Qld app QR code must also be displayed at all entries to the hospital.

All visitors, volunteers and contractors are responsible for providing their contact information by using the Check In Qld app upon entry to a hospital, unless an exception applies. A person accompanying a person who is unable to use the app is also permitted to check in that person on their behalf.

What if contact details can't be collected using the Check In Qld app?

From 9 July 2021, if contact information can’t be collected using the Check In Qld app due to issues with the Check In Qld app or no mobile data connection, hospitals must collect this information using another electronic or paper-based method.

For each visitor, this information must include:

  • name
  • phone number
  • email address (residential address if unavailable)
  • date and time period of the visit.

Hospitals must use best endeavours to transfer this information to an electronic system within 24 hours and comply with the requirements for collection and storage. If asked, this information must be provided to a public health officer within the stated time.

Other

Who is a contractor to a hospital?

A contractor to a hospital is an individual who provides construction, repair, or maintenance services on an unscheduled or intermittent basis.

A contractor does not include a visiting medical practitioner or health practitioner providing health services on the hospital premises. It also does not include Hospital and Health Service staff employed in maintenance roles at a hospital.

For example, a contractor may visit the hospital to provide electrical services such as repairing or maintaining a lift or plumbing services such as repairing a broken toilet.

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Questions and requests for exemptions

If you are seeking clarification on a Direction or have any questions, please call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

You can apply for an exemption to a Direction online.