As of 18 July 2022
This advice includes information for:
With increasing COVID-19 and influenza in the community, it is important that residential disability care facilities (RDCF) maintain a high degree of vigilance and continue to take precautionary actions such as regular screening of staff and visitors for symptoms, use of rapid antigen tests in addition to screening, mask wearing and hand hygiene. It is also important for staff and visitors to maintain social distancing where possible, and visits are encouraged to occur outdoors.
In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices these include:
Staff and participants should not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or if they are a household or close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or have had a high risk exposure to COVID-19.
Managers should refer to the COVID-19 Guidance to support assessment of workers, residents and visitors in Residential Disability Care to help with assessing the risk exposure for residents, visitors and staff and to determine when staff can return to work.
Where participants are not fully vaccinated, providers are encouraged to continue to provide flexible options including online service delivery, individual activities and avoid group interactions unless the participants are from the same household.
Visitors should provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) result taken just before entry. Visitors providing essential care and entering on a regular basis can, with the agreement of the RDF, do less frequent testing. In these circumstances, the minimum recommended interval is twice weekly.
Emergency service providers are not considered visitors and are not required to do a COVID-19 test prior to entry.
Visitor restrictions are no longer included in the Public Health Order. However, the recommended limit for visitors is 2 adults and 2 children per resident within a 24-hour period. Providers may increase the number of visitors for a resident depending on their circumstances, for example:
Visitors must not enter a RDCF if they:
Residents should get a flu vaccine, COVID-19 booster dose or a second booster (winter booster) as soon as they are eligible.
All staff should be vaccinated according to the recommended schedule in the
ATAGI guidance for residential aged care workers.
Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022, all staff, health practitioners and students entering a RDCF must have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The third dose is due 3 months after a person's second dose. For staff (including new staff) who have had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they must have their third dose within 6 weeks of their third dose being due.
Exemptions under the
Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022 relating to the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccination may apply to some staff, including:
See further information on Public Health Orders and Exemptions.
These exemptions do not permanently exempt the person from the requirement to have a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Staff who do not meet the conditions in the exemption instrument must comply with the vaccination direction in the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022. Facilities should work with staff to make sure that they are able to access their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is due.
Staff who have a medical contraindication to all reasonably available COVID-19 vaccinations will require a COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate.
Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:
If there is a staff exposure to COVID-19 in a RDCF, managers should use Appendix 2 in the Acute Respiratory Infections Guidance to support decision making.
Staff who are a household or close contact must comply with the NSW Health Household and Close Contact Guidelines and must not enter a RDCF for at least 7 days after the last person in their household had a positive COVID-19 test. After 7 days, the employer must undertake a risk assessment before approving their return to work. This may include asking the staff member to take additional precautions to decrease the risk of transmission. This applies to all workers entering a RDCF to provide a service, including pathology collectors, therapists and other contractors, however does not apply to emergency service providers.
If a staff member is critical to service delivery and their absence would compromise ongoing care for residents, please discuss with the local Public Health Unit whether a return to work within 7 days may be allowed with additional risk mitigation measures.
Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information on NSW rules and restrictions.
For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please see the advice on Exceptional circumstances for visiting a RDCF.
Please read Additional information for residential disability care facilities (RDCF).