Date published: 
20 January 2022
Type: 
Subscriber announcement
Intended audience: 
Health sector

Due to the increasing COVID-19 cases across the country, all residential aged care providers are strongly encouraged to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 exposure or an outbreak in their facility. We again thank you for the enormous work you are doing in caring for aged care residents during the pandemic.

Distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for Residential Aged Care

A bulk dispatch of RATs is underway for all residential aged care facilities with an active COVID-19 outbreak or exposure.

An allocation of RATs will be delivered directly to residential aged care facilities in scope for this dispatch. Deliveries are expected to occur over the period from 19 January to 27 January 2022. The majority of kits being distributed are CTK Biotech On-Site Self-Tests Other RAT brands may also be distributed.

RAT allocations are based on your My Aged Care Portal reported staff and resident figures and assume daily testing for staff and twice weekly testing for residents. Tests can also be used for partners in care and regular visitors where needed.

If you have reported an outbreak or exposure to the Department of Health on or after 16 January please complete the outbreak or exposure online form to request RATs and personal protective equipment (PPE). There is no requirement for facilities who reported an outbreak prior to 16 January to submit an online order.

Personal Protective Equipment

It is critical that residential aged care facilities carefully monitor their PPE supplies, take proactive steps to bolster supplies to make sure they have sufficient PPE on hand.

Due to the extremely high demand for PPE, providers should contact their usual suppliers in the first instance, rather than make a request through the National Medical Stockpile (NMS), if the need for PPE supplies is not urgent or critical.

The National Medical Stockpile is prioritising the immediate distribution of PPE to residential aged care facilities that currently have a COVID-19 outbreak or exposure.

Please note that the current high level of demand for PPE is extending timeframes for delivery and providers are encouraged to place orders at least 5 working days ahead of that date that you will require the additional PPE or RATs.

The process for ordering PPE for outbreak sites has also been made faster and simpler. To place your order, please complete the online form. Orders placed through the online form can be processed more quickly. Please do not submit orders via email to your Commonwealth Case Manager.

Support with costs

Through the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Extension Grant (GO4863), providers will be supported with additional eligible costs of managing the direct impact of COVID-19. The grant reimburses providers for additional eligible costs including:

  • increased staffing costs in a facility with residents/clients who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19
  • increased costs to replace existing staff who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19
  • the purchase of additional PPE and RATs
  • the purchase of additional products and services to manage cleaning and infection control
  • equipment and resources
  • waste removal costs.

For more information please see the Grant Opportunity Guidelines (Grant Opportunity – GO4863) and the regularly updated frequently asked questions available on GrantConnect.