COVID-19 Policy – Click here for Updates.

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COVID-19 Policy

Policy Updated: 24th January 2022

QUEENSLAND UPDATE
Recently, Qld Health have released new information for all to consider and have provided updated guidelines: Changes to requirements for confirmed cases and close contacts , Work permissions and restrictions framework for workers in health care settings

Testing Positive for COVID-19
If you are diagnosed with COVID by a positive PCR test you must:
a. Isolate for at least 7 days from the day you had your PCR test
b. Notify your household, employer, or school that you have COVID-19
c. Can leave isolation after 7 days if no symptoms
d. Wear a mask after leaving the home and avoid high-risk settings for at least 7 days following negative test or end of symptoms
e. If symptomatic at day 6, have another PCR test. If positive stay at home until symptoms gone or have a negative PCR test
f. If still symptomatic on Day 12 perform a PCR/RAT test and continue isolating

Close Contact (No Symptoms)
If close contact* and have symptoms (refer below for definition) you must:
a. Isolate 7 days from the time you last had contact with the person who has COVID-19
b. Have a PCR test and stay at home until results known. If positive, follow steps in point 1 above. If negative continue to stay at home
c. If negative on Day 6 of isolation, take a RAT or PCR test. If negative, can leave isolation after completing 7 days of isolation if no symptoms
d. Wear a mask after leaving the home and avoid high-risk settings for at least 7 days following negative test or end of symptoms

Close Contact (With Symptoms)
If close contact* and have no symptoms (refer below for definition) you must:
a. Stay at home for 7 days since you last had contact with the person who has COVID-19
b. Take a RAT test as soon as possible. If positive, follow steps in point 1 above. If negative, continue to stay at home for 7 days monitoring symptoms and follow steps in point 2 if they develop
c. On day 6 of isolation, take another RAT test. If positive follow steps in point 2 above, if negative and no symptoms can leave home after completing 7 days of isolation
d. Wear a mask after leaving the home and avoid high-risk settings for at least 7 days following negative test or end of symptoms

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS: COVID-19 Symptoms are flu like symptoms including a fever, a runny nose, a cough, sore throat, and/or respiratory symptoms. DO NOT attend the clinic if you have any of these symptoms no matter how mild.

CLOSE CONTACT DEFINITION: The QLD Update states close contact is a household contact, greater than 4 hours in same space – therefore this does not apply to the workplace. You are a close contact if you live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you are a household-like contact (that is you have spent more than 4 hours with a diagnosed person in a house, care facility or similar).
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INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
• Not to attend the clinic if you have any COVID-19 symptoms* at all, irrespective of how mild they may be, instead attend pathology testing clinic for PCR and if positive isolate for at least 7 days. If asymptomatic on day 7 of isolation no further testing or isolation required. Patients can request an exit RAT from the fertility clinic on day 6. If symptomatic* on day 6 a further PCR/RAT is required.
• If patient has been deemed a close contact with symptoms* not to attend the clinic. If no symptoms can attend clinic and undergoing screening including a RAT.
• Wear a mask after leaving the home following isolation and avoid high-risk settings for at least 7 days following negative test or end of symptoms
• If patient has been deemed a close contact with or without symptoms refer to above
• Check in on COVID app outside the clinic (if you cannot get WiFi reception, you can check in at reception using the clinics WiFi)
• All patients attending the clinic for an egg collection, insemination and males having a surgical sperm collection will be required to have a RAT test the day of the procedure which will be performed at the clinic
• All patients attending the clinic for an egg collection and males having a surgical sperm collection will be required to have a RAT test the day of the procedure which will be self-performed under supervision at the clinic.
• Patients attending for egg collection and inseminations/embryo transfers/semen preparations */semen freezes* and surgical sperm collections* (*refers to unvaccinated men only), and the support person for inseminations/embryo transfers who are vaccinated, will be required to have a RAT when presenting to the clinic. Unvaccinated support people will not be able to enter the clinic
• Patients and support person (if applicable), attending for an embryo transfer must have a RAT at the clinic the day before or the morning of the embryo transfer. If the embryo transfer is on a weekend/Monday Public Holiday, the RAT must be performed on a Friday afternoon. The test(s) must be negative before an embryo will be thawed
• Hand sanitise as soon as entering the clinic using the automatic dispenser at reception. Patients must wait 10 minutes after hand sanitising before being taken to a procedure room
• Must wear ‘surgical’ mask correctly (i.e. covering mouth and nose) while indoors (ie clinic), cloth masks not acceptable. If you do not have a surgical face mask one will be provided to you at the clinic. Hands must re sanitised after removal of a cloth mask and before application of a surgical mask
• Provide evidence of vaccination certificate or no certificate to admin team who will record this in the Past History section of Genie in the patient notes for future reference
• Upon entering clinic admin will take the patient’s temperature using a contactless infrared forehead thermometer. If the temperature is =/>37.5 Celsius patient asked to take a seat in waiting room for 10 minutes and temperature repeated. If still =/>37.5 Celsius patient taken to intralipid room where they will be asked to complete a questionnaire to assess COVID symptoms and a nurse will perform a RAT. If Positive patient to leave clinic and attend for a PCR.

If Negative appointment can proceed.

HIGH TEMPERATURES: Patients with temperatures +/<37.5 Celsius will be shown to a consult room where admin will: provide them with a questionnaire to assess COVID symptoms*, assess if you have had recent close contact* with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (*refer to definition of close contact above) & notify nurses to perform RAT if appropriate (egg collections and surgical sperm collections). WEEKEND/PUBLIC HOLIDAY APPOINTMENTS: IUI and FET patients and partner/support person (must be vaccinated to attend IUI/FET procedure), will be required to attend the clinic together the when dropping off the sample. The staff member at the clinic performing witnessing will take and record temperatures and have patients complete the COVID assessment questionnaire. If temperatures within normal range and all COVID questions reported as “No” then scientists can proceed with processing or semen or thawing of embryo.

CYCLE CANCELLATION: If you commence a cycle and it is cancelled because you/your partner test positive for COVID, you will incur a cancellation fee. If you are concerned about your cycle being cancelled, discuss deferring treatment with your specialist before commencing treatment.

COVID-19 RISKS & COUNSELLING: COVID-19 infection in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of severe disease, hospitalisation, admission to intensive care, mechanical ventilation, and death in pregnant women, along with an increased risk of miscarriage, prematurity, and stillbirth. To further support our patients during this difficult time the clinic is offering a free counselling session to assist with decision making and associated implications.
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ADDITIONAL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Upon entering clinic patient will be shown to a consult room where a nurse will:
• Provide you with a questionnaire to assess COVID symptoms
• Taking and record temperature
• Assess if you have had recent close contact* with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (*refer to definition of close contact above)
• Have RAT performed if appropriate (egg collections, embryo transfers, inseminations, semen preps, semen freezes)
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ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS
To minimize the number of people in the clinic:
• Consultations to be via the phone or ZOOM/SKYPE where possible
• Appropriate spacing of appointment times
• Only a support person who is vaccinated can attend an embryo transfer/insemination after returning a negative RAT test at the clinic
• No children are permitted to accompany patients for any appointments
• In the situation a patient arrives with a child, the child must remain in a pram/stroller
• Male patients should produce semen samples off-site where possible and deliver the sample within 45 min so a RAT can be performed at the clinic
• All visitors (excluding patients), need to be double vaccinated and show proof of vaccination for entry into the clinic
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INFORMATION FOR STAFF
• Not to attend the clinic if symptomatic but attend pathology testing clinic for PCR and if positive isolate for 7 days. If asymptomatic on day 7 of isolation no further testing or isolation required. Patients can request an exit RAT from the fertility clinic on day 6
• Check in on COVID app outside the clinic (if you cannot get WiFi reception, you can check in at reception using the clinics WiFi)
• Hand sanitise as soon as entering the clinic using the automatic dispenser at reception or go straight to the bathroom and wash hands (scientists and other staff if they prefer)
• Must wear ‘surgical’ mask correctly (i.e., covering mouth and nose) whilst indoors – cloth masks not acceptable. Masks to be changed every 4 hours ie at lunch time
• Laboratory staff to wear a N95 or P2 4 ply mask, or equivalent at all times when in the lab and when handling semen samples.
• Must wear eye protection during any face-to-face contact with patients or staff
• If close contact and symptomatic follow steps as outlined above
• If close contact and no symptoms follow steps as outline above
• Departmental Teams to be set up where possible
• Staff to work from home where possible i.e. consultants
• If desk hot spotting, to thoroughly clean the computer, phone and desk at the end of your shift with hospital grade disinfectant wipes i.e. v-wipes
• Any staff member can request a RAT for peace of mind

Work Permissions and Restrictions Framework for Workers in Health Care Settings Summary
• The Australian Health Department Matrix (Table 1), suggests that if a confirmed case (whether patient or co-worker), is wearing a surgical mask, and the other person is wearing a surgical mask and eye protection and are vaccinated, that most clinical contacts would be either low risk, or low to moderate risk
• Non transient, face to face contact would be low-moderate risk
• If low risk exposure, keep working and only test if symptoms develop
• Low-mod risk, keep working but get a test day 2 and 5 post exposure and stop work if symptoms develop or return a positive PCR/RAT test
• Therefore, patients and visitors correctly wearing surgical (not cloth) face masks, and health care workers wearing surgical mask and eye protection, would mean that even if a positive case comes through, we can continue working unless symptoms develop

Critical Essential Workers
If you are close contact who performs a critically essential role, as listed by your employer in a Critical Worker List, you can leave quarantine to carry out that role as long as you:
• Have no COVID-19 symptoms
• Are fully vaccinated
When leaving your place of quarantine to go to work, you must:
• Have a RAT test on their first day of work (before starting work), and on every second day after that, until day 6 of their quarantine period. If positive leave workplace and isolate
• Use a mask when indoors. Also wear a mask outdoors if you cannot physically distance from other people
• Travel to and from your workplace by private transport, by the most direct route practicable and without stopping (except for refuelling and that should be contactless if possible)
• Monitor your symptoms
• Regularly clean your hands
• Take a rapid antigen test (RAT) on day 6 of your quarantine period
• Practice physical distance from other people until the end of your quarantine period
• Comply with any industry or employer requirements for workers in a critically essential role

Critical industries
The following are considered a critical industry in the context of critically essential workers:
• Health
• Emergency services, including police, the Queensland State Emergency Service, maritime rescue, the Coast Guard and the Rural Fire Service
• Power and utilities
• Stores in remote locations or communities
• Essential retail (including supermarkets)
• Freight and Logistics, including freight transported by air, rail, road, or sea
• Public Transport
• Education – secondary, primary and kindergarten school teachers
• Agriculture and Fisheries production
• Resources
• Major manufacturing, distribution, and critical supply chains (food, pharmaceuticals, and petrol)

Fertility Solutions identifies as a critical industry (Healthcare) and have created a list of critically essential roles that are required for us to carry out patient treatments.

These roles are as follows:
• Administration
• Nursing
• Scientific
• Counselling

Management have identified that all the above critical essential roles require people with very specific skill sets that must be performed in person at the workplace and must continue to be performed to prevent the possibility of serious psychological harm to the patient and as such fits the criteria of essential workers as set by the Queensland Government.