Table 1

Illustrating some of the scenarios in which a question of COVID-19 status is being asked and where decisions need to be made quickly

GPPerson at homeHomeReferral to hospital?
CarerCare home residentCare homeIsolation required?
ParamedicCallerAmbulanceWhich entrance to hospital?
Emergency doctor/nurseEmergency patientEDWhich ward for referral?
Employer (healthcare)Healthcare workerHome or place of workIs he/she fit to work?
TeacherSchoolIs he/she a risk to pupils?
(public transport)
DriverBus depotIs he/she a risk to the public?
Is he/she a risk to co-workers?
Employer (industry)EngineerFactoryIs he/she a risk to co-workers?
Employer (agriculture)Fruit pickerFruit farmIs he/she a risk to co-workers?
Professional sport clubSports personMajor football club facilityAre other players being put at risk? Can he/she play in the team today?
Any employee aboveAny employee aboveAny workplaceCan I go to work today?
  • Each scenario is described in terms of the questioner, the subject of the question, the setting in which the question has arisen and an example of the question for which a result will enable a decision to be made. All of the scenarios in the upper portion of the table require clinical, organisational and resource management decisions. All of the scenarios in the lower portion focus on two major objectives (1) to get the economy started and (2) to avoid triggering a second wave, and further spread, of infection.

  • ED, emergency department; GP, general practitioner.