As of 5 December 2022
NSW is experiencing a COVID-19 wave. Facilities are encouraged to:
This advice includes information for:
Residential disability care facility providers are expected to balance their responsibilities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in RDCFs while meeting the physical, social, and emotional needs of residents.
All NSW residents are recommended to stay at home and to have a COVID-19 test if they develop any cold or flu symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever).
NSW residents who have tested positive to COVID-19 are advised to stay at home until their symptoms have resolved, and not to visit people at high risk of severe illness, hospitals, and aged and disability care facilities for at least seven days.
For the best protection against severe illness it is important to be up to date for all vaccinations including COVID-19 and influenza. Residents should be strongly encouraged to receive both booster doses for COVID-19 if they are eligible. This helps provide added protection during times of increased COVID-19 in the community.
Receiving visitors is essential for the residents' wellbeing and helps to reduce the impacts of social isolation on mental health. RDCFs should ensure their residents are provided the opportunity to safely receive visitors. Facilities may determine their own advice to allow visitations to safely occur. Visits are allowed to occur even if there are COVID-19 cases in the facility.
Simple things can be done to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including:
RDCFs should ask visitors entering the facility if they have:
It is strongly recommended that visitors not enter a RDCF if they have:
If a visitor meets any of the above criteria and a visit must occur, it is strongly recommended that a negative rapid antigen test is undertaken before entry, and the visitor wears a mask whilst in the facility.
Emergency service providers are not considered visitors.
For the best protection against severe illness it is important to be up to date for all vaccinations including COVID-19 and influenza.
For facilities with a number of staff members, they are encouraged to enjoy their meal breaks in areas with good natural ventilation or outdoors.
Staff, including students, contractors, volunteers, pathology collectors and therapists should not enter an RDCF if they have:
If the exposure has been in the workplace, managers should refer to Appendix 2 of the RDCF ARI Guidance to support decision making for when staff can safely return to work, particularly if they are critical to service delivery.
It is recommended that RDCF staff undergo a COVID-19 RAT at least every 3 days.
Wearing a mask indoors is an important risk reduction strategy and is strongly encouraged. Mask should be worn by staff particularly during times of increased COVID-19 in the community. The impact of COVID-19 in a RDCF will vary depending on the facility and individual residents. Facilities are encouraged to refer to their COVID-19 occupational health and safety plan.
When the facility is in an outbreak, refer to the RDCF ARI Guidance for additional PPE advice.
Staff are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with all vaccinations including COVID-19 and influenza to aid protection against severe disease for themselves and the people they care for. Providers should review staff COVID-19 vaccination rates and facilitate acces to vaccination for those who are due.
For further information please see the Department of Health and Aged Care information for disability service providers about COVID-19 vaccines.
Ventilation is an important factor in minimising spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections. The key principle is to bring in fresh air to dilute the indoor air; simply re-circulating indoor air (e.g., fans) is not effective. Natural ventilation should be used wherever possible. RDCFs should consider seeking professional advice from an occupational hygienist or ventilation engineer. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors and HEPA filters can have a role but require users to have a good understanding of how to use them.