Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update 5 July 2021

In this edition: New resident entrance protocol, single site arrangements for NSW and Melbourne, updates for NT, WA and ACT providers.

Date published:
Health sector

New Resident Entrance Protocol – COVID-19 vaccine program for aged care

It is vital that all residential aged care services establish processes to emphasise the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 for new residents during the admission process. Ideally new residents should have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine prior to admission.

It is also critical that all residential aged care services maintain records of the vaccination status of all residents and are able to provide this information in the event of an outbreak.

To assist, the Department has developed a protocol, the New Resident COVID-19 Vaccination Protocol, for RACF providers to support new residents to receive their COVID-19 vaccination, if supported by medical advice.

This protocol provides a flow chart for providers to assess each resident’s vaccination status and advice on how to commence their vaccination if not started. If they have received their first dose, it prompts providers to ensure residents receive their second dose within the required timeframe.

The protocol also includes links to information about COVID-19 vaccination available on this website.

Update on single site work arrangements for impacted areas of NSW and Greater Melbourne

Single site arrangements for residential aged care workers in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour have been extended until 24 July 2021. All providers should continue arrangements to facilitate employees working at one site only during this period. This may be further extended on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. This is a key step in minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19 between aged care facilities. Please reach out to the Support Hub or call 1800 491 793 should you require further advice.

Single site workforce arrangements and funding support for Greater Melbourne will end on 8 July 2021, in line with the de-escalation criteria set out in the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan. A range of materials are available through the Support Hub to assist providers to transition out of single site workforce arrangements.

All providers across the country, particularly those in regional NSW, should also make sure they are prepared to move to single site arrangements if required by ensuring they have a workforce management plan that includes a register of which workers work across multiple sites, a skills and training audit and handover documents, as set out in Appendix H of the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan. This is to ensure providers can move quickly into single site arrangements should they be put in place in other locations in response to emerging COVID-19 risks.

NSW Reminder on visitor restrictions to RACFs

A reminder to residential aged care facilities (RACFs) 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 staff and essential care visitors wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see additional advice. All essential visits must be in the residents room
  • ensure that residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they need to leave the facility for essential purposes.

For all other facilities located in NSW:

  • All staff and 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 please see additional advice.
  • No visitors are permitted from Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour).

NT – restrictions remain for visitors to RACFs

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has ended the lockdowns in Greater Darwin and Alice Springs but several restrictions, including the visitor restrictions to residential aged care facilities (PDF, 221.2 KB), will remain in place until 1pm Friday 9 July 2021.

This information can change rapidly so please check the NT Health website regularly for updates.

WA – restrictions remain for visitors to RACFs

The WA Government announced that from 12.01am Saturday 3 July until 12.01am Tuesday 6 July 2021, WA Perth and Peel regions will move to post-lockdown interim restrictions for three days.

Measures may be eased further after this interim period, based on the latest public health advice. Please note that visitor restrictions for residential aged care remain in place until further notice for these regions - no visitors to residential aged care and/or disability facilities are permitted, except for exceptional circumstances such as essential care, compassionate reasons, end of life and advocacy.

For the full details of the restrictions and the full list of exceptions to visitor restrictions for RACFs please see the Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions on the WA Health website.

ACT Health update

Please read the updated alert from the ACT Chief Health Officer (PDF, 251KB) regarding the COVID-19 situation for high risk settings. In summary, additional areas in NT have been added as geographical areas of risk and the areas subject to a stay-at home requirement have been reduced.

As the stay-at-home requirements are lifted for travellers from certain areas, these areas remain as geographical areas of risk. A geographical area of risk is generally kept in place for 14 days after the last episode of community exposure.

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.

Help us improve

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