Record of meeting between the Minister for Health and the Chief Health Officer 21 February 2022 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Minister for Health: The Hon. Martin Foley Chief Health Officer: Adjunct Professor Brett Sutton Secretary, Department of Health: Professor Euan Wallace Deputy Secretary, Public Health Policy and Strategy: Nicole Brady ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Minister Foley I have sought advice on a range of matters over the last few days. I will ask the CHO to take me through the table. Let’s start with face masks. Professor Sutton I note this builds on my previous advice which was focused on office spaces and there was continued work by the Strategy and Policy public health team re workers and visitors in other indoor spaces. For the workers in public facing roles continuing the requirement to wear face masks recognises that there are members of our community who are vulnerable to serious consequences from COVID 19, they will in all likelihood be in masks themselves and placing the continued obligation on those in public facing roles to do the same gives these at-risk people additional protection. Minister Foley I understand this, it will be important to ensure it translates properly into the communications so it is clear and straightforward for people to understand. Elective surgery – that is as per what we foreshadowed last week from my reading of it? Professor Wallace Yes it is. The seven-day average is 387 cases in hospital, today we have 361 in hospital with 11 ventilated. This places us firmly in stage 1 of the health system response framework. That is not to say we don’t have workforce challenges but it ought be up to individual health services from the start of next week to manage their elective surgery lists - as they would normally do. Minister Foley regarding extending the deadline for the mandate for education workers, the last figures I saw is that the 3rd dose figures are increasing in the education sector. Why does the mandate deadline need to be extended? Professor Sutton yes they are Minister, but we are informed by the sector they would be hit with a wave of workforce challenges if we don’t allow more time for workers to get their 3 rd dose. Minister Foley and the booster exemption at item 5? Professor Sutton some individuals who are genuinely not due, for example if they are arriving from overseas and the third dose is not available in their country of origin, need additional time to be able to get their 3rd dose of the vaccine. The next item is so that employers can understand who is exempt and follow them up appropriately. And then there is the clarifying note that needs to be added for those who have recently been infected with COVID-19. The last item is to enable employers to voluntarily use the QR code system. It is an enabling piece of Pandemic Orders. Meeting concludes OFFICIAL Table 1. Changes for approval by the Minister (25 February) Ite m Theme Issue summary Face Coverings and Work-From-Home recommendation 1 Removing face Persons aged 8 and above are covering required to wear a face covering requirements for in indoor spaces, unless an indoor spaces, exception applies. except for some high risk and vulnerable Face coverings can become settings recommended in indoor spaces and continue to be required in higher transmission risk and vulnerable settings. Proposed Orders change PH Rationale for change or retaining current position Movement and Gathering Order Remove face covering requirements for indoor spaces As community transmission of COVID-19 continues to reduce throughout Victoria and in the context of high vaccination coverage, mitigation strategies such as face covering requirements in lower-risk indoor settings can be eased. Amend face covering requirements so that, unless an exception applies, a person must wear a face covering:  While on public transport, in a commercial passenger vehicle (e.g. Taxis, Uber), or in a tour vehicle  While inside an aircraft  While in an indoor space at an airport  While working at or visiting a hospital  While working at or visiting a care facility, indoors  While in an indoor space at a justice and correctional facility (a prison, remand centre, youth residential centre or youth justice centre), if the person is a work

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