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Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update 15 January 2021


VACRC webinar update on COVID-19 in the Victorian aged care sector

When: Today - Friday 15 January, 1-1:45pm AEST

Lessons learned from the Victorian outbreaks will enable Australia’s aged care sector to enhance infection control and prevention methods, resources and protocols, as well as take advantage of new approaches to care delivery.

This webinar will review the experiences of major outbreaks in 2020 and explore how the outcomes will facilitate advancements. VACRC infection prevention experts will also review current epidemiology in Victoria and discuss the future of COVID-19 in Australia, including vaccination, long-term outlook and community transmission. Register to attend.


Australian Government support for single site working arrangements 

Australian Government funding is available to support providers with the out of pocket costs of implementing single site workforce arrangements in a number of hotspot and high risk locations across the country.

Funding support under the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant is available for residential aged care providers who choose to implement single site working arrangements between 8 January and 22 January 2021, in the following Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Greater Brisbane:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

Funding support is also available for providers who have been implementing a single site working arrangement from 31 December 2020 in the following high risk suburbs in Victoria:

  • Brighton
  • Doveton
  • Glen Waverley
  • McKinnon
  • Mordialloc
  • Moorabbin.

Finally, funding support is also available for providers in the Northern Beaches LGA in New South Wales who have been implementing single site working arrangements from 18 December 2020.

In these locations, SACWIC will remain open for providers to submit their applications until 30 June 2021. Providers can submit an application for out of pocket expenses after 22 January 2021 but can apply earlier if a provider is experiencing significant financial strain.

The Department is monitoring local cases and, based on the advice from the Chief Medical Officer, will advise when providers can return to ordinary working arrangements.

In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.


Updated NSW directions for aged care providers and visitors

NSW Health has updated its advice for Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care Service providers as at 8 January 2021.

This advice extends directions to aged care providers to exclude visitors who have been in the following LGAs of Queensland since 2 January 2021: City of BrisbaneLogan CityCity of IpswichMoreton Bay RegionRedland CityLockyer Valley RegionScenic Rim Region or Somerset Region.

Staff who have been to those identified Queensland LGAs since 2 January 2021 and are essential for maintaining the service should have a risk assessment performed in consultation with the local public health unit.

Aged care providers are urged to regularly visit the NSW COVID-19 website on areas of active community transmission.


Updated Queensland directions for aged care providers and visitors

Queensland Health has issued Aged Care Direction no. 20 which came into effect at 11 am on 14 January 2021.

This update specifies that people who have been in Victoria on or after 21 December 2020 may now visit a residential aged care facility. Employees, contractors and other persons necessary for the operation of the facility no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entry.

All visitors must not have any COVID-19 symptoms and comply with all other restrictions of the facility.

The advice for people who have been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 remains, in that unless 14 days have passed since the person left Greater Brisbane, they are restricted from entering a residential aged care facility in Queensland. Greater Brisbane includes:

Despite these restrictions, you may enter a residential aged care facility if you wear a single use surgical face mask and the appropriate PPE and are:

  • an employee, contractor, or student of the facility
  • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
  • providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with a power or function of a government agency or entity
  • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
  • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator
  • attending for an end of life visit and have been granted an exemption.

Anyone providing medical care (including staff, volunteers or family members) must wear appropriate PPE as outlined in Queensland Health’s Residential Aged Care facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance. Visitors are restricted to residential aged care facilities within the current restricted Local Government Areas within the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service regions.


Reminder on IPC lead training requirements

As a part of the second COVID-19 supplement, residential aged care providers are required to put in place an infection prevention and control (IPC) lead.

Nominated IPC leads should now be undertaking specialist IPC training (if not previously completed) in order to complete this by 28 February 2021. Providers are encouraged to support their nominated IPC lead to meet this deadline.

Residential aged care providers were required to report their IPC leads to the Department in December 2020 through the My Aged Care Provider Portal. Providers can continue to update this information in the portal to reflect any changes to nominated leads and/or progression through the training. The Department will be contacting providers who have yet to report or misreported shortly.


Stay up to date with COVID-19 exposure locations and alerts

All approved aged care providers are urged to continue to monitor and remain up to date with the list of COVID-19 exposure sites across jurisdictions. State and territory health authorities continue to update these lists as new information becomes available. We encourage providers to ensure staff are also familiar with these lists.

Unknown Author, 2021, Department of Health (

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