As of 18 July 2022
This advice includes information for:
With increasing COVID-19 and influenza in the community, it is important that residential aged care facilities (RACFs) 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. In preparedness, RACFs should ensure they are appropriately stocked with antiviral medications and proactively work with General Practitioners to ensure residents receive their second COVID-19 booster (winter booster) and influenza vaccine. See
Guidance on use of antivirals in RACF.
Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information about the current rules and restrictions in NSW.
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 RACF, 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. Operators of RACF may increase the number of visitors for a resident depending on their circumstances. For example:
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 RACF 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.
If there is a staff exposure to COVID-19 in a RACF, 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 RACF 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 RACF 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, a return within 7 days may be allowed with additional risk mitigation measures. For further information, see Managing RACF staff returning to work after 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).