Date published: 
28 May 2020
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

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.

There is some evidence a pregnant woman with COVID-19 may pass the virus on to their unborn baby, although there is currently no evidence of harm to the baby, see the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) website for further information.

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.

Importantly, where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a residential aged care facility, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia – Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan then recommends broader testing to assist in containing any outbreak.

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.

Resources

Coming Soon

  • Workforce guide and FAQs
  • Further testing information