COVID-19 Update for Tasmanian RACFs 7 January 2022

Tasmanian RACFS should remain alert and prepared for a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

Date published:
Subscriber announcement
Health sector

COVID-19 Update for Tasmanian RACFs 7 January 2022

Tasmanian RACFS should remain alert and prepared for a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

Residential aged care facilities:

  • hold primary responsibility for planning, preparedness, prevention and response to COVID-19 outbreak within your facility
  • should develop, maintain and test a robust and current Outbreak Management Plan to ensure preparedness in the event of an outbreak
  • lead and manage implementation of the Outbreak Management Plan in response to an outbreak
  • support the safety, care and wellbeing of residents and staff as required by legislation
  • should regularly communicate with residents and their representatives.

The department encourages you to be familiar with the measures you should have in place to prevent and prepare for an outbreak and how to identify and manage an outbreak in residential aged care.

See the Advice for the aged care sector during COVID-19 for information and resources to assist in preparing and managing a COVID‑19 outbreak, including what to do in the first 24 hours of an outbreak in a residential aged care facility.

Updated interim guidance for managing aged care workforce impacted by COVID-19

The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has approved an update to the Interim Guidance to support safe assessment and decision making when determining whether to place work restrictions on residential aged care workers.

This guidance follows the updated advice on the definition of contacts issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). This guidance has been endorsed by both National Cabinet and AHPPC. The changes should assist in managing the aged care workforce, noting the challenges many providers are facing given the increasing number of cases in the community.

All providers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this guidance and consider its application, noting local PHUs may implement additional requirements above those set out here.

PPE and Rapid Antigen Tests for outbreak sites

All residential aged care providers with a COVID-19 outbreak or exposure can request PPE and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) from the National Medical Stockpile. The current high level of demand for PPE and RATs is extending timeframes for delivery.

It is critical that residential aged care facilities carefully monitor their PPE and RAT supplies and place orders in a timely way. We recommend that you place your order at least 5 working days ahead of that date that you will require the additional PPE and or RATs.

We have changed the process for ordering PPE and RATs for outbreak sites to make it faster and simpler.  To place your order, please complete the online form - the form will go live from 9am on 8 January 2022. Orders placed through the online form can be processed more quickly. Please do not submit orders via email to your Commonwealth Case Manager.

Due to the extremely high demand for RAT kits, we are prioritising immediate distribution to residential aged care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks or exposure. Further details on broader distribution to the sector will be available in coming days.

Update on SONIC testing services

In line with the updated testing guidance issued nationally, PCR tests are not being used for surveillance testing. This approach is also being adopted for aged care and testing services through SONIC will not include surveillance testing of asymptomatic staff and residents.  Residential aged care facilities are encouraged to use RATs for surveillance testing where required.

The current very high community demand for PCR testing is also being reflected in the aged care sector. The current pressures on testing services are causing delays in provision of results for some services. SONIC are managing requests as quickly as possible. To ensure that testing is appropriately prioritised for outbreak sites, Commonwealth funded SONIC testing services can only be booked through the Commonwealth Case Manager. SONIC will not accept direct bookings from RACFs.