The Queensland Government has updated their advice to aged care providers in Queensland (Aged Care Direction No. 18) while contract tracers work to ensure the UK strain of COVID-19 is not circulating in the community.
From 6pm Friday 8 January 2021, the additional restrictions in Part 3 of the Aged Care Direction apply to all residential aged care facilities in specific Local Government Areas (LGA)s. A list of restricted LGAs is available on the Queensland Health website. These restrictions include:
- Visitors are not permitted.
- Only specific individuals identified in the direction may enter a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF).
- Residents (excluding an end of life resident) must not be permitted to leave the RACF except:
- To receive or access health care
- To attend a funeral
- In the case of an emergency or on any other compassionate grounds.
- Any person (other than a resident) entering a restricted RACF must wear a single use surgical face mask.
- Any person providing direct care to a resident in a restricted RACF must wear appropriate personal protective equipment in accordance with the Residential Aged Care Facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance.
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 as and when needed. 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 Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) is in the process of contacting all facilities in the Greater Brisbane area to establish that services have put the necessary arrangements in place to keep consumers safe, and are ready to activate their outbreak management plans. All aged care providers are also encouraged to have their Workforce Management Plan in place and ready to be enacted if needed.
It is critical to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the QLD Health website and to check for these updates regularly.
Please note that aged care providers are reminded they need to urgently contact both their local PHU and the Commonwealth Department of Health at agedcareCOVIDcases@health.gov.au in response to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member. A Commonwealth case manager will be assigned to you and a range of supports will be made available to help you manage the outbreak. The PHU will also advise and assist you with testing arrangements.
Further information and advice
The Queensland PHU contact number is 13 432 584 (13 HEALTH).