National Triage Protocol

16 Apr 2020

A number of members have asked what the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection is in the context of new MBS telehealth items – noting the Government’s requirement to bulk bill telehealth services for patients who meet these criteria 

In this regard the Department of Health has advised that the national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection is as follows: 

suspect case is a person who meets the following epidemiological and clinical criteria: 

Epidemiological criteria 

Clinical criteria 

Action 

Very high risk 

Close contact in the 14 days prior to illness onset with a confirmed or probable case 

 

International travel in the 14 days prior to illness onset  

 

Cruise ship passengers and crew who have travelled in the 14 days prior to illness onset  

Fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) 

Test 

High risk setting 

Two or more plausibly linked cases of illness clinically consistent with COVID-19 (see clinical criteria) in the following settings: 

  • Aged care and other residential care facilities 
  • Military – group residential and other closed settings, such as Navy ships or living in accommodation 
  • Boarding schools 
  • Correctional facilities 
  • Detention centres 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rural and remote communities, in consultation with the local PHU 
  • Settings where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, in consultation with the local PHU 

 

People who, in the 14 days prior to illness onset lived in or travelled through a geographically localised area with elevated risk of community transmission, as defined by public health authorities  

Fever (≥38°C)1 or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) 

Test (on site for aged care residents, where feasible) 

Moderate risk 

Healthcare workers, aged or residential care workers 

Fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) 

Test 

Background risk  

(No epidemiological risk factors) 

Hospitalised patients with fever (≥38°C) AND acute respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) of an unknown cause 

Test