Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter as well as other announcements for the aged care sector on the department's website.
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.
Webinar – aged care COVID-19 update
The next webinar will be held on Friday 16 September 2022, 1pm - 2pm (AEST). Please note that webinars will now be held fortnightly.
In this week's session you will hear from Professor Michael Kidd (Deputy Chief Medical Officer) on National Cabinet's isolation period changes and on tips for refreshing your infection prevention control practices. The Department will also provide an update on the Commonwealth's workforce support and key messages from last week's webinar on outbreak recovery.
Please register to attend.
This session will include a moderated Q&A session with Departmental officials and we encourage you to submit questions in advance through the registration link.
To find more information please visit our website or email us if you have any questions:
National Cabinet and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Statements
National Cabinet met on 31 August 2022 and agreed to reduce isolation periods from seven to five days for the wider community.
This change in isolation requirements only applies to people with no symptoms at five days and the seven day isolation period remains for workers in high-risk settings such as the aged care sector, disability care and those providing in-home care.
Links to both statements are here:
- National Cabinet statement on COVID-19 settings
- Statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)
Changes to the isolation period for COVID-19 positive cases came into effect on Friday 9 September 2022, following the release of the AHPPC statement on 8 September 2022.
While COVID-19 cases with no symptoms after five days may leave isolation, the AHPPC strongly advises that these individuals should be excluded from attending high-risk settings (such as residential aged care homes, disability care facilities and hospitals) until at least seven days following their positive test result and they remain symptom-free. This applies to both staff and visitors.
All aged care providers are encouraged to remain up-to-date with any changes to the public health orders in their regions, including those about requirements for visitors and staff.
Your state or territory has the latest information on the COVID-19 isolation requirements in your region, which are also provided in the links below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Australia's first Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine join rollout
The Australian Government has accepted advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to include the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1 (Moderna Bivalent) in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program for boosters in people aged 18 years or older from 10 October 2022. You can view the ATAGI statement here.
ATAGI has made no changes to the current booster recommendations and is not advising any extra booster doses beyond the second booster dose (fourth dose) in selected populations. The Moderna Bivalent vaccine is not recommended as a primary course of vaccination (first two doses in most people or first three doses in severely immunocompromised people).
We encourage residential aged care homes to continue to arrange vaccinations for their residents who are eligible for COVID-19 booster doses, with whichever vaccines are available.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has extended its Expression of Interest (EOI) process for COVID-19 in-reach vaccination clinics until 31 December 2022.
Residential aged care homes that are unable to secure a primary care provider to administer COVID-19 doses, either with a GP or pharmacist or through their Primary Health Network, are still able to request an in-reach Commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination clinic. This will allow any residents who were unable to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations over winter to catch up with their COVID-19 vaccination schedule.
Useful links for the sector from last weeks' meeting
- Winter Plan - A guide for residential aged care providers pages 23-25 contain information on the recovery and resilience phase of an outbreak, along with a preparedness checklist.
Telephone support services:
- Head to Health provides free advice, assessment and referral into local mental health services. Call 1800 595 212 between 8:30am and 5pm on weekdays (public holidays excluded)
- Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) provides a free and confidential aged care advocacy support line on 1800 700 600
Recording available - COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience webinar
The Department of Health and the Aged Care held the third webinar in the Winter Readiness series of webinars on ‘Recovery and Resilience on 7 September 2022.
A recording of this webinar is now available to watch on demand: Preparing your aged care service for winter – Recovery and Resilience
This webinar marks the third and final session in our winter preparedness series. You can view previous sessions here:
Session 1 (Readiness): Preparing your aged care service for winter - Readiness
Session 2 (Response): Preparing your aged care service for winter – Response