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COVID-19 Update

We currently have in place a COVID 19 Outbreak Management plan and a first 24-hour response plan which details all the response instruction on how to deal and respond in the event of a positive COVID -19 case within the facility.

As of 1 March 2022

  • Staff, health practitioners and students entering an RACF are required to have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Time limitations apply, see below.
  • Providers should support residents to register their positive rapid antigen test results.
  • Managers should refer to the CEC COVID-19 Guidance to support risk assessment and testing of workers, residents and visitors post exposure to COVID-19.
  • There are limits to the number of visitors a resident can have each day.
  • Emergency Service providers are not considered visitors and are not required to do a COVID-19 test prior to entry.

Positive rapid antigen test results

  • From 12 January 2022, a person must register their positive rapid antigen test result through the Service NSW portal.
  • Where a resident is unable to independently complete the information on the Service NSW portal, a provider should register the result on behalf of the resident. This can be done by selecting the "continue as guest" option on the Service NSW portal.
  • A separate form will need to be completed for each resident that tests positive.
  • The requirement to report a positive rapid antigen test result to Service NSW is in addition to other reporting requirements to the Commonwealth and your local Public Health Unit or Local Health District, which will trigger supports.

Visitors

  1. Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over, plus two children aged under 12 years per day:
    • Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.
    • Visitors are strongly encouraged to get a booster vaccine if they are eligible for one, and to have a negative Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to each visit
    • Up to 2 children under 12 years are permitted to visit provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person.
    • Babies and toddlers under 3 years of age should not wear a mask as it is a choking hazard.
    • Wherever possible, the visit should be in an outdoor area. Visits should not be in any inside communal areas. All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth while visiting indoors. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice – Mandatory mask wearing.
    • People who are providing a service to the resident (including a health or other professional service) are not counted as a visitor.
    • Existing requirements in the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021 on visiting residents who are at end of life remain in place.
  2. An exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 3) 2021 has been signed to allow unvacccinated visitors to a resident who is at the end of life:
    • The exemption is subject to the condition that the operator of the facility takes reasonable steps to ensure:
      • no more than 4 people (including children) visit at any one time
      • all visitors wear a mask while in an indoor area, unless the visitor is interacting with the resident they are visiting
      • there is minimal interaction between the visitors and the staff and other residents
    • The visitors in this circumstance do not need to be vaccinated, however appropriate care must be taken if unvaccinated visitors are entering the facility. It is strongly recommended:
      • the visit is solely inside the resident's room and
      • where possible, the visitors perform a Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) just before the visit.
  3. Visitors must not enter an RACF at all if they:
    • have COVID-19 symptoms
    • have been exposed to COVID-19 unless they have completed their self-isolation and testing requirements. People who have had high risk exposures should not enter high risk settings for at least 14 days since their exposure to a COVID-positive person.
    • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
    • have been overseas in the previous 14 days, unless they are:
      • fully vaccinated, it has been at least 7 days after arrival and they have received a negative rapid antigen test 6 days or later after arriving in NSW

Residents

Residents may leave the facility and attend family gatherings or for other reasons but must abide by the current Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (No 2) 2021. Residents who leave the facility to attend a family gathering and return the same day should on return have a RAT on days 2, 4 and 7 after they return. If well, residents do not need to isolate. If they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should immediately be isolated and have a RAT or PCR test.

Residents who do not return the same day should be isolated until they have a negative PCR, (RAT if delays in PCR processing) the day of return with subsequent tests on day 3, 5 and 7 after they return.

Residents should get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible for one.

Residents should not leave the facility if they have COVID-19 symptoms until they have had a RAT or PCR test and have received a negative result. Facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, infection control and mask wearing advice if they leave the facility. See the latest face mask rules.

Staff

All staff, health practitioners and students entering a RACF must have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless the person has received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and it is not after the later of the following
  • 12 April 2022 or
  • 6 weeks from the due date of the persons third dose (due date is 13 weeks after the persons second dose)
New workers can commence employment with 2 doses however, they must receive their third dose within 6 weeks of their due date to continue working.

On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance.

All staff must wear a surgical mask while in the facility. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice – mask wearing.

Managers should refer to the CEC COVID-19 Guidance to support assessment of workers, residents and visitors in Residential Aged Care Facilities for information on assessing level of risk and when staff can be permitted to work including to ensure service continuity. This guidance should be used by all private residential aged care facilities and community aged care providers to support decision making for work restrictions or permission where there has been staff exposure to COVID-19. All NSW Health operated aged care services should continue to use the NSW Health - Health Care Worker COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment Matrix. This includes Multi-Purpose Services (MPSs), state government residential aged care facilities (SGRACFs), Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services and Transitional Aged Care Services (TACP).

Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information about the current rules and restrictions in NSW.



RAT and PCR Testing Protocol

In recognition of the current Omicron outbreak and demand on pathology testing, the Protocol for RAT and PCR testing in residential aged care has been established to ensure appropriate access to pathology services and ensure that residential aged care facilities (RACFs) are able to access the support and resources required. This protocol should be used as the minimum testing requirements. NSW Health recommends the CEC COVID-19 Guidance for risk assessment and testing regime of staff, residents and visitors following COVID-19 exposure.



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