Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 21 July 2021

In this edition: Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas, SA Health – restrictions, NSW Health updated RACF visitor restrictions

Date published:
Health sector

Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas

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

Single site funding support remains for Greater Melbourne and Greater Sydney areas as announced on 16 July 2021 and is now also in place for the Metro Adelaide area. Workers at residential aged care facilities in these areas are asked to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents.

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 to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment.

Where these arrangements result 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, 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.

SA Health – Restrictions

The SA State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities (RACF) in South Australia, the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 39) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect at 12:01 am on 16 July 2021 and Level 5 – stay at home – restrictions are in place across SA.

A summary of the Direction amendments include:

  • Limitation on Care and Support Visits: Visitors providing care and support to a resident (eg. family and friends) are limited to a maximum of two visitors per day in RACF where less than 70% of residents have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This may be two visits of one person each time, or one visit or two people together. RACF with 70% or more of residents vaccinated against COVID-19 (with at least a first dose) are not impacted by these visitor restrictions.
  • Wearing of Masks: A person (other than a resident or a child under 12 years) must not enter or remain on the premises of a RACF, unless the person is wearing a face mask (covering mouth and nose) at all times when in the physical presence of other persons, with exceptions as described in the Direction.

Please see the fact sheet which provides information for RACFs about the Level 5 stay at home restrictions as well as the list of level 5 essential workers.

Keep up to date with the latest on the SA Health website.

NSW Health updated RACF visitor restrictions

The screening advice for Residential Aged Care Providers and Home Care Providers has been updated on 20 July 2021.

The key messages for this update are:

  • Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021 staff who live in:
    • Canterbury-Bankstown LGA from the 23 July 2021 are not permitted to enter residential aged and disability care facilities, or home care service providers outside of the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA unless they have been tested for COVID within the past 72 hours.
  • Facilities located in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) must continue to exclude all visitors, except those providing essential caring functions and end of life visits
  • Facilities located in Orange, Blayney and Cobonne are permitted one visitor per day to provide essential caring functions or end of life support
  • Victoria and South Australia are considered Areas of Concern. People arriving in NSW from Victoria since 17 July and South Australia from 20 July 2021 must not enter aged care facilities.

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

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