Today’s edition provides advice for pregnant aged care workers. Early evidence suggests pregnant women are not at greater risk of developing serious symptoms due to COVID-19 infection. However, not enough is known about the virus and pregnant women should do what they can to avoid infection.
This edition also provides information on testing of workers and residents of residential aged care facilities.
There is also a link to further translated resources on the industry code for visiting aged care homes.
As always, many thanks to you and your teams for your continued support to protect older Australians.
Advice for Pregnant Aged Care Workers
Early evidence suggests pregnant women are not at greater risk of developing serious symptoms due to COVID-19 infection. However, not enough is known about the virus. Pregnant women should do what they can to avoid infection.
As with all workers, it is essential to observe physical distancing and standard infection prevention practices at all times and use personal protective equipment as required.
Pregnant women are at serious risk from other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. They should ensure they have had their free influenza vaccine.
Pregnant workers can stay up to date with RANZCOG advice regarding COVID-19. If they have any concerns they should talk to their General Practitioner or call the National Coronavirus helpline on 1800 020 080 which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The AHPPC offers recommendations for managing vulnerable workers.
Testing of Residents and Workers
Blanket testing of all residents or staff of a residential aged care service who do not have any symptoms, or who have no history of close contact or international travel, is not recommended.
However, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has published advice that recommends testing where staff or residents exhibit symptoms. Given the high risk of aged care facilities, this extends to recommending testing even for those staff or residents who display non-standard or atypical symptoms.
To assist residential aged care facilities in managing the risk of introducing COVID-19 into a facility, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission recently wrote to all residential aged care facilities providing entry screening advice for residential aged care facilities to assist in preventing transmission.