Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update 26 July 2021

In this edition: NSW Health update, SA Health update, QLD Health – updated directions and more.

Date published:
Audience:
Health sector

NSW Health update

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers has been updated for 23 July 2021.

The key messages for this update is:

  • The notice effective 23 July 2021 issued under the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021 requires three day surveillance testing of people living in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA in order to be allowed to go to work as a aged care or health worker.
  • Whilst residential Disability Care facility and Home Care Service provider staff are not specifically covered by this requirement, as previously advised it is recommended that staff living in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA also have regular surveillance testing. This advice is subject to change in the next few days.
  • Please note this is in addition to the COVID-19 testing requirements once every 3 days if you live in the Fairfield local government area and are an authorised worker.

Current visitor restrictions for NSW inlcude:

Facilities located in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) must:

  • exclude all visitors, except those providing essential caring functions and end of life visits
  • ensure that all essential care visitors wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see additional advice.
  • ensure all essential visits must be in the resident's room.

Facilities located in Orange, Blayney and Cabonne LGA's must:

  • allow only one visitor to provide essential caring functions and end of life support
  • ensure that all essential care visitors wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see additional advice.
  • ensure all essential visits must be in the resident's room.

For all other facilities located in NSW:

  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see additional advice.
  • Only two visitors should be allowed each day.
  • Visits should be in the resident's room or another suitable location in the facility.

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

SA Health update

As announced last week Level 5 Stay at Home Restrictions are now in place in South Australia.

Please see the updated fact sheet, which provides information for operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) about the Level 5 Stay at Home Restrictions.

The new fact sheet (updated 22 July 2021) provides updated SA Health advice in relation to the routine swabbing of persons prior to being discharged from hospital to a RACF, and clarifies some of the other provisions of the level 5 stay at home restrictions as they relate to RACF. Please disregard previous dated versions of this fact sheet.

Please continue to check Contract tracing and exposure locations as the list of exposure sites is updated.

This information will be updated on SA Health website shortly.

QLD Health – updated directions

On Friday, 23 July 2021 Queensland Health issued Residential Aged Care Direction (No.3) which includes the following updated advice:

  • there are no restricted Local Government Areas. You can now enter a residential aged care facility if you follow visitor requirements
  • students on clinical placement can now enter a residential aged care facility without needing a COVID-19 vaccine as there are no Restricted Local Government areas.
  • you can enter a residential aged care facility if you have been residing in the New South Wales border zone for the past 14 days.

On Friday, 23 July 2021, the Queensland Health Residential Aged Care Facilities (COVID-19 Vaccination) Direction also came into effect which:

  • Applies to 16 Queensland Health residential aged care facilities and 35 Multi-Purpose Health Services, their operators, and to health service employees engaged under the Hospital and Health Boards Act who enter, work or provide a service in those facilities.
  • Requires health service employees to have a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 16 September and second dose by 31 October to enter, work in or provide a service in a facility.
  • Requires employees to notify the operator of their vaccination status, to support the recent mandatory reporting requirements imposed by the Commonwealth Government.
  • Requires operators to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccination, including off-site vaccination.
  • Permits an unvaccinated employee to enter a facility in an emergency to provide emergency care to a resident.
  • Permits unvaccinated employees to enter in a personal capacity to make a personal visit to a resident, or as a support person for a prospective resident.
  • Requires operators to deploy employees who are not vaccinated due to medical contraindication.
  • Provides that an operator may seek an exemption from vaccination requirements to address a critical workforce shortage.

The COVID Vaccination Direction does not apply to private residential aged care facilities.

Stay up to date on the latest advice on the Qld Health website.

ACT CHO update

The ACT CHO has issued an updated alert for ACT residential aged care facilities (RACFs). There are currently no restrictions on the number and duration of visits at ACT RACFs. You are not limited in the number of hours you can spend with your relative or friend. However, you cannot visit aged care facilities if you:

  • Have been in any of the following areas in the past 14 days:
    • Any overseas country (excluding New Zealand)
    • State of South Australia since 15 July
    • State of Victoria, excluding Greater Metropolitan Melbourne (on or after 8 July)
    • Greater Metropolitan Melbourne (for the last 14 days)
    • Greater Sydney region, including Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong.
    • Orange City Council, Blayney Shire Council and Cabonne Shire Council, NSW, since 14 July
    • South East Queensland Region (from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast)
  • Have been told by a health authority (e.g. ACT Health, NSW Health, WA Health) that you need to quarantine or isolate due to recent travel or being in contact with a COVID-19 case.

If a person answers yes to any of the above questions, they must not enter the facility until 14 days after leaving the at-risk area.

Please request that any staff or visitors entering your facility wear a mask if they have been in the Shellharbour LGA in the past 14 days.

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.

Survey: Aged Care COVID-19 grief and trauma supports

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

You are invited to 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.

Complete the survey by 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 email: HealthConsult Project Manager Amy Monk via amy.monk@healthconsult.com.au or the department's project team ageing.and.diversity@health.gov.au.

Help us improve health.gov.au

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