Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 update 27 June 2021
In this edition: lockdown in NT aged care; restrictions in WA; updated QLD and ACT Health advice; NSW Health clarifies mask wearing for home care recipients; QR Code check in required at VIC aged care facilities; stay up to date as conditions change during COVID-19.
NT - CHO announces lockdown
Please find attached CHO Directions (No.11) 2021: Directions for Aged Care Facilities, signed by the Chief Health Officer (CHO) at 3:36pm on 27 June 2021.
These Directions took effect upon signing. CHO Directions No.7 are revoked.
The main changes are to the Direction include:
- No visitors are permitted to enter aged care facilities, unless attending for end of life support.
- Persons who are permitted to enter are:
- Persons providing goods or services necessary for the operation of the facility
- Persons providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a resident
- Persons required for emergency management or law enforcement
- A legal practitioner providing legal services to a resident regarding end of life matters if the services cannot be provided remotely.
- Masks must be worn by workers on the premises and by residents who are outside of their room unless the resident has a medical reason not to wear a mask.
- Residents and workers are subject to testing as required by the CHO.
- Workers are prohibited from working at any other workplace.
There are other requirements in this direction which have been carried over from Directions No.7.
If you have symptoms regardless of where you are living, you are urged to get tested and stay isolated until you receive a negative result.
This information can change rapidly so please check the NT Health website regularly for updates.
A 24-hour hotline has been established by NT Health to provide information about the lockdown arrangements: 1800 193 111.
WA Health - Restrictions announced
The WA Perth and the Peel region will face a number of new restrictions for a minimum period of three days, starting from 12pm on Sunday 27 June 2021, read the Premier's media release.
Mask wearing will be mandatory indoors, on public transport and outside where physical distancing is not possible.
All these measures will be reviewed regularly and the Chief Health Officer will continue to monitor the serious situation and provide more ongoing advice. Visit WA Health for further information.
QLD Health updated advice
COVID-19 update for residential aged care - local government areas in NSW declared hotspots and escalation of PPE to moderate risk.
Local government areas (LGAs) in NSW declared hotspots from 10am Sunday 27 June – anyone who has been in any of the 35 Local Government Areas in NSW must follow the requirements of the Interstate places of concern (stay at home in Queensland) Direction.
This means anyone in Queensland who has been to the LGAs in the Greater Sydney region (including Shellharbour, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after 1am AEST 21 June 2021 must follow the stay at home requirements for a period of 14 days since leaving the area.
Anyone in Queensland who has been to the City of Sydney, Randwick, Woollahra or Waverley LGAs on or after 11 June 2021 must continue to follow the stay at home requirements for a period of 14 days since leaving the area.
Escalation of PPE to moderate risk
To best protect vulnerable persons, as of 13.00 hours on 27 June 2021, the following LGAs have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the "moderate" risk category for the purposes of PPE:
- Sunshine Coast Region
- City of Brisbane
- City of Ipswich
- Logan City
- Moreton Bay Region
- Redland City
- Gold Coast City
- Scenic Rim Region.
Read the letter from the Acting Deputy Director-General about PPE escalation for these areas.
ACT Health CHO update
Please read the updated alert from the ACT Chief Health Officer regarding the COVID-19 situation for high risk settings. In summary, there are 3 main updates:
- Shellharbour has been included in the stay-at-home requirement that applies to anyone who has been in the Greater Sydney and surrounding area. Anyone who has been in the Shellharbour LGA on or after 21 June 2021 is also required to comply with stay-at-home requirements. Shellharbour has now been added to the list of geographical areas of concern.
- A new Public Health Direction will come into effect at 11:59pm 27 June requiring face masks to be worn in certain public settings, including residential aged care facilities. This is in response to the risk posed by the NSW outbreak. Residents are not required to wear masks. Staff, visitors and volunteers will be required to wear a mask.
- Three local government areas in NT have been added to the list of geographical areas of risk from 18 June.
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.
NSW Health - clarification for home care recipients
Please note mask wearing also applies to care recipients: residents receiving home care services in Greater Sydney must wear a mask whilst a healthcare worker is in attendance.
Our update yesterday was advice for mask wearing by home care staff or visitors:
Until further notice all staff providing home care services in Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Nepean Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour) must wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Mandatory Mask Wearing.
- A staff member or visitor may remove their mask:
- while communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
- if wearing a mask creates a risk to health and safety
- where clear enunciation or visibility of your mouth is essential
- Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should maintain 1.5m distance from others wherever possible.
This information can change rapidly so please check NSW Health at least daily for updates.
Zoom meeting for aged care residents and families in Greater Sydney
Do you have questions about how the COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney affects you or your older family members living in residential aged care?
Seniors Rights Service and the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) invite older people living in residential aged care in Greater Sydney and their families to a Zoom meeting at 3.00pm on Tuesday 29 June.
This meeting will allow you to ask questions you may have about the outbreak and how it affects you and your older family members.
Date: Tuesday 29 June 2021
Time: 3.00pm – 4.30pm
VIC Health - Visitors and QR Code check in requirement
Face masks must be carried at all times and must be worn indoors at aged care facilities, unless a lawful exception applies.
You must check in upon entry at a care facility. Find out more, read the Advice for residential aged care facilities check-in requirements - QR codes.
All Victorian businesses and workplaces are now required to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service. While an enforcement amnesty has been in place from 11.59pm on 1 July 2021, use of the Victorian Government QR Code Service is mandated. Consequently, all residential aged care facilities (RACFs) must have the Victorian QR Code Service in place from 11.59pm on 1 July 2021.
The use of the QR Code Service will simplify and expedite Department of Health contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. RACFs must ensure that every person attending a facility has checked in no matter how long they are at the premises. This includes all:
- staff (including contractors, volunteers and students)
For more information see the Checking in with QR codes and the Service Victoria app and visit the Victorian Health website for further updates.
Aged care providers are asked to ensure they have a sufficient supply of PPE, to use their own supply of PPE first and to request extra supply for emergency purposes as and when needed.
The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need. The deployment of PPE is only where commercial supply is unavailable, and where there is a government direction regarding COVID-19 PPE requirements or demonstrated clinical need.
If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it, please submit an online application. The application will need to be completed for your request to be considered.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is an independent, free service to support older people and their family members during COVID-19. Families can call OPAN on 1800 700 600 if they would like to talk with someone about the COVID-19 situation and its impact, or if worried about a loved one and need to talk to someone.
State and territory aged care COVID-19 information
As the COVID-19 situation can change rapidly, aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date on visitor restrictions, PPE requirements and other measures relating to COVID-19 in aged care, from their relevant state or territory website below: