COVID19 – High Case Load Settings – Critical Workers

High Case Load Settings – Critical Workers | Based on Updates 09.03.2022

The WA Government introduced very high caseload settings for Western Australia.

Based on the latest health advice, businesses that have registered their critical workforce will have the options of implementing new testing and isolation protocols for critical workers, if needed, to continue essential operations. This aims to address potential workforce shortages and ensure critical supply chains and services are able to continue without disruption due to more people isolating as a positive case or an asymptomatic close contact. Similar policies have been vital and effective in other jurisdictions.

The definition of a critical worker in WA is someone whose role cannot be undertaken at home and who:

  • performs a role that is critical to the COVID-19 response or continuation of critical services that prevent significant harm (e.g. loss of life, catastrophic impacts to safety or welfare, lack of access to essential goods) to an individual or the community; or
  • performs a role that is necessary for the safe continuation of services and/or has specialist skills in specified industries deemed critical.

Note that critical worker categories include:

  • Services relating to public housing support
  • Services relating to Homelessness, including but not limited to services provider to people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless

These critical workers who are asymptomatic close contacts can attend work as a last resort, if mutually agreed between employer and employee, with the following protocols:

  • record a daily negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to attending or on arrival at the workplace;
  • wear a surgical mask to work and outside your home, and travel alone, if possible;
  • when not at work, you must self-isolate;
  • if symptoms ever develop, you must follow symptomatic close contact protocols; and
  • if a RAT is positive, you must follow confirmed positive case protocols.

Shelter WA’s understanding is that RATs have been / are in the process of being distributed to services.

Further information and frequently asked questions can be found via the below links:

If you have any questions about the Critical Workers Policy, please email them to

For the full list of defined critical workers and for more information, visit:

Children in School

Children in school or early childhood care who are asymptomatic close contacts can continue to attend and benefit from face-to-face learning, as well as before and after school activities that occur on school grounds. However, if the child is a close contact because someone in their home is a positive case, they must isolate for seven days regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Children who are asymptomatic close contacts cannot attend non-school based social, cultural, or community sporting activities. Schools and childcare can utilise the critical worker definitions for staff, if necessary.

To assist with meeting the critical worker requirements, RATs have been distributed to public and non-government schools across WA for use by asymptomatic staff identified as close contacts who agree to return to work.