Protecting Older Australians - COVID-19 Update 13 July 2021

In this edition: NSW Health update for aged care services, ACT Health recommendation for masks in high risk settings and more.

Date published:
Health sector

NSW Health update for aged care services

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers was updated for 9 July 2021. The key messages for this update are:

  • Mandatory Service NSW QR app check-in for residential aged care facilities commenced on 12 July 2021
  • New Zealand has been removed as an affected area
  • People receiving home care services in Greater Sydney are urged to wear a surgical mask during provision of home care services.

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

ACT Health recommendation for masks in high risk settings

The mandatory use of face masks in certain indoor settings and when using public transport ended at 11.59pm on Friday 9 July 2021. Although no longer mandatory, the use of face masks is still encouraged when in spaces where physical distancing is not possible, such as public transport or crowded indoor venues.

The use of face masks by staff and visitors in high-risk settings continues to be recommended by the Chief Health Officer. Please refer to the current CHO alert for more information about mask wearing in high-risk settings.

Further information will be available about the mask-wearing requirement on the COVID-19 website.

The COVID-19 situation can change rapidly and as such, advice for high-risk settings is subject to change regularly. ACT Health will continue to update through these Chief Health Officer alerts.

WA Health - removal of visitor restrictions for RACFs

The WA Government announced that from 12.01am Monday 12 July 2021, transitional restrictions for the WA Perth and Peel regions have been revoked. As such the Visitors To Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions (No. 7) now apply to all of WA. There are no longer any rules around number of visitors and duration of a visit, but visitors must comply with instructions given to them by the supervisor of the facility and align with the specifications in the Direction.

NT CHO - updated directions

The NT CHO has issued updated CHO Directions No. 33 of 2021: Directions for Aged Care Facilities. These Directions took effect at 1pm on 9 July 2021. Directions No.19 of 2021 are revoked.

These directions bring back the previous aged care directions that were in place immediately before the Tanami outbreak, with some additions, which inlcudes:

  • There are no limits on the number of visitors permitted to visit a resident at any one time.
  • Employees and contractors of aged care facilities who work at other workplaces must provide the details of their workplaces to the proprietor, who must keep a record of this information and provide it to an authorised officer upon request.
  • Employees and contractors with other workplaces must, without delay, report to the proprietor of the facility if they become aware that a person is infected with COVID-19 at the other workplace.
  • Aged Care facilities must collect contact information from visitors:
    • The collection of contact information from visitors must now be done via the Territory Check-in app
    • The definition of an aged care facility now includes residential care that is funded by a grant agreement under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program. This change was made during the lock down period and has been retained.

This information can change rapidly so please check the NT Health website regularly for updates.

Vic Health - latest advice for RACFs

The Victorian DHHS has issued updated requirements for residential aged care facilities, applied from 11:59 pm Thursday 8 July 2021.

Visitors are allowed in aged care in line with the following requirements:

  • A maximum of two visitors for each resident at one time (visitors can be from different households)
  • There is no time limit on visits
  • A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged
  • There is a maximum of five visitors per resident per day, including dependents. This daily maximum does not apply to end of life visits
  • Prospective residents can visit an aged care facility accompanied by one other person.

Face mask requirements:

  • Visitors are required to wear face masks while indoors  
  • Workers are required to wear face masks while working in any indoor space: 
    • that is accessible by residents or visitors  
    • where they may have face-to-face contact with a resident or visitor 
  • Face masks for visitors and workers are recommended outdoors where physical distancing of 1.5m from others cannot be maintained. 

Other measures:

  • All workers and visitors must check in to the facility using the Service Victoria check-in app
  • Testing residents with COVID-19 compatible clinical and/or epidemiological risk factors
  • Screening visitors and staff and continuing daily workforce attestations.  
  • Restricting visitors and staff found to have visited exposure sites until they have returned a negative test result. 
  • Tier 3 PPE for high-risk suspected and confirmed COVID-19 residents
  • Where practicable, care facility workers should be limited to working at one site. 
  • Student clinical placements permitted in all settings but restricted from providing care/being exposed to high-risk COVID and confirmed COVID patients. Students restricted to one site only. 

Full details are available in the Guidance for residential age care facilities.

Please monitor the Victorian Health website for the latest information.

Vic - Vaccination information for residential aged care workers

The Victorian Government is now offering the Pfizer vaccine to people in eligible priority groups aged 16 years and over. For people yet to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible to receive Pfizer vaccine, regardless of age:

  • residential aged and disability care workers (nursing, personal care, allied health, and kitchen, cleaning, laundry, garden and office staff) and residents
  • all health care workers (i.e. eligible under Phase 1A and 1B)
  • all hotel quarantine and red zone airport and marine port border workers
  • household contacts (those living in the same primary residence) aged 16 years and over of hotel quarantine and border workers.

Further information is available for you to communicate to eligible residential aged care workers on how to make an appointment, useful resources and a proof of eligibility letter to bring to their vaccination appointment.

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