Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update 11 August 2021

In this issue: Lessons from recent outbreaks in RACFs – what you can do now that will help; NSW Health update; Victoria – Update on restrictions; WA – Directions for RACFs; SA Health updated directions and Reminder – Survey to evaluate the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Trauma supports

Date published:
Health sector

Lessons from recent outbreaks in residential aged care facilities – what you can do now that will help

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) has produced a useful document from lessons learned during residential aged care facility (RACF) outbreaks – Lessons from recent outbreaks in residential aged care facilities – what you can do now that will help.

We continue to learn and review the small steps that can make a real difference if one of our RACFs have a COVID-19 outbreak.

NSW Health update

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers have been updated for 10 August 2021.

The key messages for this update include:

  • Stay at home restrictions are in place for:
    • Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook, until 13 August 2021.
    • Armidale LGA until 15 August 2021
    • Tamworth and Northern Rivers LGAs of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley until 17 August 2021
  • There are new close and casual contact locations in Greater Sydney and regional NSW areas.
  • There are restrictions for Victoria and for 2 local government areas in Far North Queensland (Cairns and Yarrabah). To view locations please see latest COVID-19 case locations and alerts.
  • The temporary suspension of disability day programs has been extended in all of the NSW LGAs with stay at home orders.

All staff working in NSW must wear a surgical mask, please read the directions for all restrictions that are in place for the aged care sector in your region.

For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please call the local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for a risk assessment and further advice.

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

Victoria – Update on restrictions

The Victorian Premier announced that from 11:59pm Monday 9 August, the five reasons to leave the home will be removed in regional Victoria.

For further information, please refer to the Premier's statement and the Table of Restrictions Changes.

Please note the Care Facilities Directions are not changing.

Residential Aged Care facilities are advised to note that there are no changes to current PPE and visitor advice for the state of Victoria:

Visitor restrictions remain in place and allows visitors for permitted purposes only.

PPE advice for Metropolitan Melbourne and Rural Victoria remains as previously advised:

  • Face shields are required in addition to surgical masks for all COVID Negative residents
  • Tier 3 PPE required for all residents Low Risk Suspected (plus HR SCOVID and Confirmed COVID).

Please visit the Victorian Department of Health website for more information.

WA – Directions for RACFs

The Residential Aged Care Facility Worker Access Directions have been issued by the WA Government.

Key components of the directions are that they prevent residential aged care facility workers from entering residential aged care facilities if they have not received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

These directions will come into effect 12.01am on 17 September 2021.

You will also note that it will be an offence for a person to fail, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any of these directions, punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for bodies corporate.

SA Health updated directions

Effective 4.57pm on 10 August 2021, the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 39) (COVID-19) Direction 2021 has been revoked and replaced with Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 40) (COVID-19) Direction 2021.

Under the new Direction, RACF staff, contractors and volunteers are required to have received at least one dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine by 17 September and has received or has evidence of a booking to receive, a second dose. This clause applies to any person who is:

  • employed or engaged by or on behalf of a RACF (whether as an employee, contractor or agency staff) to work or perform duties at a premises of a RACF on a full time, part time or casual basis, including:
    • Direct care workers (nurses; personal care workers; allied health professionals; and allied health assistants)
    • Administration staff (reception, management, administration)
    • Ancillary staff (food preparation, cleaning, laundry, garden, maintenance)
    • Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy)
    • Transport drivers of residents of RACFs
  • Volunteers engaged by a RACF to undertake duties at a RACF
  • Students on placement at a RACF
  • Medical practitioners and allied health professionals who attend and provide care to residents of a RACF whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.

It is expected that there will be a limited number of circumstances in which an exemption may apply.

SA Health authorised officers are able to provide exemptions to the Directions if they believe exceptional circumstances exist. All requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing by emailing Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request, including the urgency of the situation.

Information about where to access COVID-19 vaccines for residential aged care workers can be found on the SA Health website.

Reminder – Survey to evaluate the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Trauma supports

The Department is committed to continuous improvement of consumer supports, programs and services.

Please complete this short, 5-minute survey to help us evaluate the aged care COVID-19 grief and trauma response package. The survey will assess:

  • how many people know about the services provided in the package.
  • how many people used the services provided
  • how the services and communication about the package could be improved

Who should fill in the survey?

We’d like to hear from all aged care stakeholders, regardless of your awareness/involvement in the package. This survey is intended to capture the aged care provider experience, so is for:

  • aged care providers, including home care and residential care
  • aged care staff
  • aged care stakeholders
  • Community Visitors Scheme auspices and volunteers

Background on the package

The emotional and psychological impacts of COVID-19 right across the aged care sector have caused grief and trauma for many. The Australian Government has funded a Grief and Trauma Response Package (the Package) to provide grief and trauma support and resources to aged care recipients, their loved ones and the aged care staff.

You can complete the survey which will be open until 16 August 2021.

There will be a subsequent survey to capture the perspective of older people and their loved ones.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact: HealthConsult Project Manager Amy Monk via or the Department project team

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.