Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information for primary health care providers.

Page last updated: 9:30am, 19 January 2022

Key messages

  • Chief Health Officer Daily Update 19 January 2022

    Victoria’s Chief Health Officer released a COVID-19 Daily Update at 5:45pm on Wednesday, 19 January 2022.

     Read the full update
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    This Chief Health Officer update is intended to provide clinicians and the Victorian public with information about the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria as well as relevant public health response activities in Victoria.

    Chief Health Officer Alerts will continue to be issued when there are changes to the public health advice related to COVID-19.

    What’s new

    Victoria was notified of 20,769 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This includes:

    • 10,043 who tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and who reported their result
    • 10,725 who returned a positive result on a PCR test

    Of those who reported a positive result on a Rapid Antigen Test yesterday:

    • Approximately 62 per cent were from tests undertaken yesterday, 18 January.
    • Approximately 19 per cent were from tests undertaken 17 January.
    • With the remainder from tests undertaken over the previous five days.

    There are 253,827 active cases in Victoria.

    Sadly, the Department was notified yesterday of 18 deaths of people aged in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.


    Vaccination blitz and updated dose interval

    Victorians can bring forward their third COVID-19 vaccine dose, with the recommended minimum dose interval between second and third doses at state-run vaccination centres reducing to three months.

    As part of a third dose vaccination blitz, hours have been extended at major state-run vaccination hubs. More than 60,000 appointments have been added and walk-up capacity increased.

    For more information, visit Victoria Reduces Third Dose Interval Ahead Of Vax Blitz

    Exemptions to isolation requirements for critical workers

    A range of critical workers in emergency services, education, critical utilities, custodial facilities, transport and freight have joined workers in the food distribution sector and healthcare workers as being potentially eligible for an exemption from quarantine as close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19.

    For more information, visit Checklist for COVID contacts.


    5,341,913 vaccine doses have been administered by Victoria’s state-commissioned services, with 22,121 administered yesterday at state-run centres. 5,144 of these doses were for children between ages 5 and 11.

    26 per cent of Victorians aged 18 and over have had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 93.3 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had two doses.


    49,838 PCR tests were processed yesterday. The total number of PCR tests performed in Victoria since the pandemic began is 18,522,171.

    When you test positive on a PCR test, you will be sent a message from the Department asking you to fill out a short online form. Please fill out this form because it helps us determine your care needs.

    Advice for cases and contacts

    Helpful information is available online for cases and household, social, workplace, education and other contacts.

    See the checklists and recommend them to your patients.

    General advice

    COVID-19 symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste. If you are experiencing symptoms, wear a fitted face mask when you get tested.

    The Department publishes expected wait times at testing sites as well as updated information about locations and hours of operation at Where to get tested.

    For more information call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398or visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria.

    Current advice to clinicians

    Notifications to the department of a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 can be done online. You can submit an online form to our public health team, rather than calling us, saving you time and resolving your case load more efficiently.

    COVID-19 testing criteria

    Practitioners should test any patients who meet the clinical criteria below:

    • Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation* OR
    • Acute respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss or changes in sense of smell or taste)
    • Note: testing is also recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19** AND who are from the following cohorts: close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19; those who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days; or those who are healthcare or aged care workers. Testing is recommended for those cohorts with onset of other clinical symptoms**. Asymptomatic testing is not recommended at this stage except for targeted programs.
    • *Clinical discretion applies including consideration of the potential for co-infection (e.g. concurrent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza)
    • **headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.

    If a symptomatic patient that presents for testing, confirms exposure to a known COVID-19 case within the past 14 days, and the outbreak definition is met, the test sample is to be treated as an ‘outbreak sample’.

    Read the full update: COVID-19 CHO update for more information.

  • COVID-19 vaccines

    Key messages for primary care providers

     Visit our COVID-19 vaccines page for the latest information for vaccine providers in our region.

    We are updating general practices, pharmacies and primary care providers regularly in our e-bulletins. Subscribe and read our latest e-bulletins.

    Key messages for the community

    Vaccines are safe and very effective at preventing severe illness and death. They protect you and your loved ones, and will help us get back to doing the things we love.

    Everyone 5 years and over can now access a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Use the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder to find an appointment at a GP clinic or pharmacy near you. You can also visit for more information on vaccinations at Victoria’s state run vaccination hubs.

    Quick links

    COVID-19 vaccine information in your language.

    Is it true? Get the facts on COVID-19 vaccines.

    Find out more about how COVID-19 vaccines are developed, tested and approved.

     More information about how COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered in Australia.

  • Rapid antigen tests

    • Anyone who tests positive on a rapid antigen test is a case. You must report your positive rapid antigen test result as soon as you can.
    • To report your result, visit to fill in an online form or call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 (press zero for a translator). All patients will then receive text messages from the Victorian Department of Health.
    • You don’t need a PCR test if you have a positive rapid antigen test. If you are still waiting on the result of a PCR test but you tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you are now a case and you must report your rapid antigen test.
    • If you test positive, you must immediately isolate for 7 days from the day you took the rapid antigen test.
    • Follow the checklist for COVID cases and tell your contacts you have COVID-19.
    • You will be able to purchase a test kit from supermarkets, pharmacies or online from selected suppliers. The Victorian Government is in the process of purchasing additional rapid antigen tests which will be made available free of charge in coming weeks. Visit for more information.
  • What to do if you test positive

Key information for clinicians

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