Date published: 
24 June 2021
Type: 
Subscriber announcement
Intended audience: 
Health sector

NSW Declaration of hotspot - Eastern Sydney

The Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has declared the Eastern Sydney region a COVID-19 hotspot for the purposes of Commonwealth support from 23 June 2021 to 30 June 2021. This includes the 7 Local Government Areas of:

  • Bayside
  • Canada Bay
  • City of Sydney
  • Inner West
  • Randwick
  • Waverley
  • Woollahra

Declaring a hotspot for Commonwealth support triggers, if required:

  • access to PPE from the National Medical Stockpile for eligible aged care services
  • actions for aged care facilities including PPE, single site workforce supplement and integration of an aged care response centre into the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre
  • assistance with contact tracing
  • asymptomatic testing via General Practice Respiratory Clinics
  • reprioritisation of vaccine supplies, if required
  • access to Temporary COVID Disaster Payment, if eligibility criteria is met, including the state imposed lockdown runs for greater than 7 days.

Please read the important information below including the latest NSW Health directions, single site worker arrangements and supports available to aged care providers:

  • NSW Health - Latest advice
  • Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas of New South Wales
  • In the event of an outbreak
  • Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
  • PPE
  • OPAN services
  • State and territory aged care COVID-19 information

NSW Health – Latest advice

The screening advice for Residential Aged Care Providers and Home Care Providers has been updated on 24 June 2021. The key messages for this update are:

  • Central Coast has been added to the Greater Sydney region for additional restrictions.

This information can change rapidly so please check the NSW Health at least daily for updates.

Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas of New South Wales

Given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Sydney, workers at residential aged care facilities in impacted areas are asked to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents. Australian Government grant funding is now available to support implementation of these arrangements during an initial two week period, from 23 June to 7 July.

Based on advice from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, and in line with advice from the New South Wales Government, these arrangements are limited to residential aged care providers in the specified local government areas.

Providers in these areas are asked to adjust their rosters and ensure staff are only working at one residential aged care facility within this region during this time.

Workers are encouraged to speak with their primary employer and look to work all shifts during this period with the residential aged care provider where they currently work the most hours. To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment. Where these arrangements result in additional workforce expenses, providers are able to seek reimbursement from the Australian Government through the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant. The SACWIC grant opportunity remains open until 30 December 2021.

In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.

In the event of an outbreak

In the event of an outbreak in aged care, Australian Government Department of Health Case Managers would be allocated to any New South Wales residential aged care facility (RACF) experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. The Case Managers will work with the RACF to ensure:

  • Workforce capacity;
  • Application of infection prevention and control measures;
  • Adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Waste procedures are in place, and
  • Communication with family and friends associated with the RACF residents.

Residential aged care providers need to remain alert and prepared for a potential outbreak of COVID-19 at their facilities. The department encourages you to be familiar with the measures you should have in place at all times to prevent and prepare for an outbreak and how to identify and manage an outbreak in residential aged care.

Please visit the our website 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.

Who to notify if you have a confirmed cases

All confirmed cases of a RACF resident or staff member must be notified to the NSW Department of Health on 1300 066 055. All aged care providers should also notify positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test results by email to the Australian Department of Health: agedcareCOVIDcases [at] health.gov.au.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)

Residential aged care facilities should conduct self-audits to maintain required standards of infection prevention and control (IPC) across all areas and all shifts. This should include kitchen, cleaning and laundry staff, and volunteers. Providers should also check that staff maintain safe physical distancing. Facilities are required to have an IPC lead to ensure they are prepared to prevent and respond to infectious diseases.

Hand wash and sanitiser should be available in all parts of the facility. Relevant staff should frequently clean high touch surfaces such as door handles and shared equipment like walking aids.

PPE

Aged care providers are asked to ensure they have a sufficient supply of PPE, to use their own supply of PPE first and to request extra supply for emergency purposes as and when needed.

The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need. The deployment of PPE is only where commercial supply is unavailable, and where there is a government direction regarding COVID-19 PPE requirements or demonstrated clinical need.

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it, please submit an online application. The application will need to be completed for your request to be considered.

OPAN Services

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is an independent, free service to support older people and their family members during COVID-19. Families can call OPAN on 1800 700 600 if they would like to talk with someone about the COVID-19 situation and its impact, or if worried about a loved one and need to talk to someone.

State and territory aged care COVID-19 information

As the COVID-19 situation can change rapidly, aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date on visitor restrictions, PPE requirements and other measures relating to COVID-19 in aged care, from their relevant state or territory website below: