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Superseded - Hospital Visitors Direction

This direction has been superseded by the Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 5)

To protect the most vulnerable people we are restricting visitors to hospitals. Each patient may have one visit per day for up to two hours, no more than two people per visit.

You may not visit a hospital if you:

  • have been asked to self-quarantine due to travel overseas or interstate or close contact with a person who has novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the previous 14 days.
  • Are unwell in any way, particularly with a fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.
  • Are under the age of 16

One person may remain with a patient at all times when needed for the following:

  • Carers for children under the age of 18
  • Carers for people with a disability
  • Partner or support person when the patient is admitted for care related to the pregnancy
  • Support person for emergency department or outpatient care appointments

Additional exemptions may be granted for End-of-life support. Please discuss with the patient’s treating team.

This direction applies to visitors only, workers are exempt.

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for 'all of Queensland'. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Citation

  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Hospital Visitors Direction.

PART 1 – DIRECTION – HOSPITAL VISITS BY NON-ESSENTIAL VISITORS

  1. The purpose of this Part is to prohibit non-essential visits to hospitals in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  2. These directions apply from 11.59 pm, Friday 26 March 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced.

Directions

Prohibition on entry

  1. A person must not enter, or remain at, a hospital in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency unless:
    1. the person is a patient of the hospital, as defined in paragraph 6; or
    2. the person is a worker, as defined in paragraph 7;
    3. the person is a visitor, as defined in paragraph 8;
    4. the person is present in an area of the hospital in respect of which an exemption under paragraph 12 is in force.

Excluded persons

  1. Despite paragraph 4, a person referred to in paragraph 4(b), (c), or (d) must not enter or remain at a hospital in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency if:
    1. the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19, unless the person is no longer subject to a direction to self-isolate under section 362B or section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005; or
    2. the person is subject to a direction to self-quarantine under section 362B or section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005; or
    3. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
    4. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19; or
    5. the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
    6. the person is aged under 16 years, other than in circumstances where the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of end of life support for a patient.

Patients

  1. For the purposes of these directions, a patient of a hospital means a person who requests or is being provided with health, medical or pharmaceutical services by the hospital.

Workers

  1. For the purposes of these directions, a person is a worker if:
    1. the person is an employee or contractor of the hospital or a student under the supervision of an employee or contractor of the hospital; or
    2. the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a patient of the hospital, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
    3. the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of providing goods or services that are necessary for the effective operation of the hospital, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
      Note: Union and employer representatives are covered by this paragraph.
    4. the person's presence at the hospital is required for the purposes of emergency management or law enforcement.

Visitors

  1. For the purposes of these directions, a person is a visitor if:
    1. in the case of a patient of the hospital aged under 18 years-the person is the parent or guardian of the patient or has temporary care of the patient; or
    2. in the case of a patient of the hospital with a disability—the person is the carer of the patient; or
    3. in the case of a pregnant patient of the hospital whose status as a patient relates to the pregnancy—the person is the patient’s partner or support person; or
    4. in the case of a patient of the hospital attending at the hospital’s emergency department—a person accompanying the patient; or
    5. in the case of a patient of the hospital attending an outpatient appointment—a person accompanying the patient; or
    6. the person’s presence at the hospital is for the purposes of end-of-life support for a patient of the hospital; or
    7. the person’s presence at the hospital is for the purposes of a care and support visit to a patient of the hospital on a particular day.
  2. For the purposes of these directions, a care and support visit (see paragraph 8(g)), in relation to a patient of a hospital, means a visit of no longer than 2 hours made to the patient by one person, or two persons together, for the purposes of providing care and support to the patient.

    Note: Aside from a care and support visit under paragraph 8(g), these directions do not impose any time limit on the period that a visitor within paragraphs 8(a) to (f) may attend a hospital. However, all visitors will remain subject to each hospital’s local operating procedure.

  3. A patient may only have one care and support visit each day.
  4. No more than two visitors may visit a patient at one time.

Exemption power

  1. The Chief Health Officer may, in writing, grant an exemption from these directions in respect of a specified area of a hospital if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied, having regard to the need to limit the spread of COVID-19, that an exemption is appropriate due to:
    1. the nature of the area; or
    2. the existing limits on the number of people that may be present in the area (whether because of the operation of a direction under the Public Health Act 2005 or otherwise).

Operator to take all reasonable steps

  1. The operator of a hospital in the State of Queensland must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises of the hospital if the person is prohibited from doing so under this direction.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:

  1. Hospital means:
    1. a hospital, as defined in schedule 2 to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011; or
    2. a private health facility, as defined in section 8 of the Private Health Facilities Act 1999; or
    3. a multi-purpose service, as defined in section 104 of the Subsidy Principles 2014 made under section 96-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).
  2. Operator of a hospital means a person who owns, controls or operates the hospital.
  3. Disability means an impairment, as defined in the schedule to the Anti-discrimination Act 1991.

PART 2 – PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

    A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
    Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer

26 March 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website 26 March 2020, 8.42pm

Last updated: 6 May 2020