Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update 10 August 2021

In this issue: NSW Home Care Update, QLD residential aged care update: Movement of healthcare, aged care, and disability workers, Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas in NSW and Queensland and more.

Date published:
Health sector

NSW Home Care Update

The advice for Home Care service providers has been further updated as at 05 August 2021. The key message for this update is:

  • The suspension of disability day programs also applies to the Hunter/Newcastle Local Government Areas.

QLD residential aged care update: Movement of healthcare, aged care, and disability workers

All aged care workers are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as a priority, further information about vaccination can be found on the Queensland Government website.

The Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) Direction (No. 4) was updated on 4 August 2021 by Queensland Health to clarify directions around the movement of healthcare workers between restricted facilities (hospitals, aged care facilities and disability accommodation services). In general, the Direction is designed to limit the amount of movement between facilities as much as possible, and provides the operator of the facility with the decision-making ability to determine what workforce is required where.

Aged care providers can find more information about the updated direction at Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) Direction (No. 4) and further information on restrictions for aged care can be found on the Queensland Government website.

Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas in NSW and Queensland

The Australian Government is closely monitoring the situation across the country, particularly in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Single site workforce arrangements and funding support has been activated for the following areas Local Government Areas in:


  • Armidale Regional LGA
  • Regional Council of Tamworth
  • Byron Shire
  • Richmond Valley
  • Ballina Shire
  • Lismore


  • Regional Council of Cairns
  • Shire of Yarrabah

Given recent COVID-19 cases in regional NSW and Far North Queensland and following the COVID-19  far north Queensland hotspot declaration by the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, 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 in the above areas for an initial two-week period from 8 August to 23 August 2021. Based on advice from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, and in line with advice from NSW and Queensland governments, these arrangements are limited to residential aged care providers in the specified areas in Queensland (as defined on the Listing areas of COVID-19 local transmission as Hotspots website). This may be expanded if required.

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 were working the most hours prior to the outbreak.

To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer and continue to meet take home pay during the ordinary pay cycle to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment.

Facilities should also be prepared a line listing of all staff and residents, including date of birth and vaccination status in the event this is required in an outbreak scenario. Ensuring adequate staff members are suitably trained in administrative processes, including rostering and cohorting staff, is also essential.

Where this results 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 31 December 2021.

In addition to funding support, a reminder that 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.

On 8 August 2021, the Queensland Government announced restrictions will be eased in South East Queensland. The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has subsequently lifted the declaration across South East Queensland areas as a hotspot.

Although the hotspot declaration is lifted, single site workforce arrangements will remain in place until 14 August 2021 as previously announced. Public health measures will remain as per the Queensland Health advice, such as the wearing of masks, to help prevent ongoing community transmission.

Please visit Restrictions for Locked Down Areas - Cairns and Yarrabah for further information.

2021 Census - Residential Aged Care Facilities

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducts the Census of Population and Housing every five years. The 2021 Census is on Tuesday 10 August 2021 and will be Australia’s 18th Census.

Census Field Managers have been engaging with Residential Aged Care Facilities across the country to ensure  residents can be safely counted in the Census.

In lockdown areas, the ABS has simplified 'contactless' procedures available, in order for residents to be safely counted in the Census. These procedures are being communicated to Census Field Managers who will focus on seeking a minimum set of  administrative data from each facility. Residential Aged Care Facilities will also be provided more time to complete this information. This approach will negate the need to appoint an establishment officer within these facilities.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in ensuring high quality Census data is collected on residents in aged care.

DVA clients and emergency leave during COVID-19

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients who are living in residential aged care and who would like to access emergency leave during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for extra support from the DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP).

Until 30 June 2022, people living in permanent residential aged care may temporarily move out of residential aged care and return to the community or a family home during COVID-19.  A national model of emergency support, including a range of home help services, may be available through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), managed by Department of Health.

DVA can also provide support during emergency leave. DVA clients who clinically require an aid or appliance that the residential aged care home cannot provide, can access these items through RAP.

For contracted RAP items, assessing health providers should 1) use the relevant RAP form to order the item, 2) check that the question regarding Residential Aged Care Facility is answered with a note regarding emergency leave, and 3) advise the DVA-contracted supplier in their email:

  • Email marked as COVID19 – Emergency Leave and urgent
  • The start and end dates of the client’s emergency leave
  • the temporary residential address during emergency leave (and not the aged care home address)

For non-contracted RAP items and items that require a prior approval, the assessing health provider should email with:

  • Email marked as COVID19 – Emergency Leave and urgent
  • The start and end dates of the client’s emergency leave
  • the temporary residential address during emergency leave (and not the aged care home address)

Additional information about emergency leave and how CHSP can provide support in the home can be found in this fact sheet.

ACT Health Update

The advice for high-risk settings, home-based care providers and General Practitioners and other community health practitioners has been updated for 9 August 2021 on the ACT COVID-19 webpage.

The key messages for this update are:

  • Geographical areas of risk added: Tamworth Regional Council, Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore, Ballina Shire.
  • Geographical areas of risk removed: Regional Victoria (Greater Melbourne remains a geographical area of risk).
  • COVID-19 areas of concern added:
    • Tamworth Regional Council  has been added as a COVID-19 Affected Area and there are quarantine requirements in place for anyone who has been in this area on or after 5 August 2021 and has subsequently entered the ACT. 
    • Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore, and Ballina Shire have been added as COVID-19 Affected Area and there are quarantine requirements in place for anyone who has been in these areas on or after 31 July 2021 and subsequently entered the ACT.
  • COVID-19 areas of concern removed: Regional Victoria has been removed as a COVID-19 area of concern (Greater Melbourne remains a COVID-19 area of concern).
  • Staff should continue to wear masks in high-risk settings or when providing home care.

Please refer to the ACT Health webpage for the full list of geographical areas of risk.

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