Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update 14 October 2020

What’s new: updated visitor exclusions for NSW aged care facilities; updated visitor restrictions, mask rules and testing requirements in Victoria; mental health support available; translated resource: Six steps to stop the spread of COVID-19; and a reminder to stay home if unwell.

Date published:
Health sector

Today’s newsletter contains updated advice from NSW regarding new exclusion zones for aged care facilities and guidelines for visitors.

Updated advice has been issued in Victoria for visitor restrictions, the wearing of masks, and additional testing requirements for identified close contacts.

We have included an updated fact sheet on digital and telephone mental health support, as well as links to translations of the Six steps to stop the spread; which is now available in 63 languages.

We have also included a reminder for staff about staying home if unwell and using the simple online symptom checker.

Again we encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce and encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support should contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.

Updated visitor exclusions for NSW aged care facilities

The NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has issued updated advice to residential aged care facilities and home care providers. Exclusion recommendations have been extended to:

  • visitors that have been in the Liverpool and Camden Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the last 14 days
  • visitors to facilities in the Liverpool and Camden LGAs.

Facilities are urged to monitor the latest COVID-19 news and updated locations, for any areas of concern. Further advice will be considered this week based on the incidence of COVID-19.

Residential aged care facilities need to remain vigilant to exclude the virus. Read the latest directive from NSW Health for visitor access to aged care facilities including frequently asked questions.

Changes to visitor restrictions in Victorian aged care facilities

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued updated information for visitors in residential aged care facilities.

Under the Victorian restrictions, a resident can only have one visitor at a time except in the case of end-of-life care. The quantity and duration of visits do not apply when support is being provided to a resident who is towards the end of their life.

All visitors to residential aged care facilities in Victoria must now wear a fitted face mask. A face shield on its own is not sufficient to meet the mask requirement. All visitors must also continue to practice physical distancing, by staying at least 1.5 metres from others and practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.

Providers must continue to balance any measures they put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 against the broader responsibilities of care facilities to the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of their clients.

New mask rules and testing requirements in Victoria

Face mask requirements in Victoria have changed this week. All Victorians are now required to wear a fitted mask when they leave home, no matter where they live.

Victorians must wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields, bandannas and scarves on their own will no longer be considered a sufficient face covering. Further information is available on the DHHS website.

Victoria has also issued updated advice on testing requirements. Close contacts of people with COVID-19 must now get tested on day 11 of quarantine to help reduce the spread of the virus. This will help accurately identify whether it is safe for the close contact to be released from quarantine, without the risk of infecting other people.

If a close contact does not agree to take the coronavirus test, they will remain in quarantine for a total of 24 days from their last exposure to the virus to ensure public health is maintained.

Mental health support available

The Australian Government has strengthened a number of digital and telehealth support services available to assist people with mental health issues during COVID-19. These resources include support for vulnerable people and those with severe and complex needs.

This fact sheet outlines a number of available supports for mental health during COVID-19.

Translated resource: Six steps to stop the spread of COVID-19

The 'Six steps to stop the spread' information sheet has been translated and is now available in 63 languages other than English.

The translations are available for:

Reminder stay home if unwell

Workers in residential aged care facilities and home care services are reminded not to work if they feel unwell, even with very mild symptoms.

If you or your staff have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested.


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