As of 14 January 2021

Key points

Until further notice all residential aged care facilities must:

Until further notice all residential aged care facilities in Northern Area of the Northern Beaches, Wollongong LGA, Cumberland City Council , the Canterbury Ward of Canterbury Bankstown Council Mt Druitt (suburb) and Rooty Hill (suburb:

  • must exclude all visitors, except those performing essential caring functions
  • should avoid residents leaving the facility unless it is essential (for example, a medical appointment) or for exercise
  • should ensure that residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they need to leave the facility.

On this page

All residential aged care facilities must maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 is still circulating in some areas, particularly in some areas of Sydney. If an outbreak was to occur in your area, your facility will need to be able to rapidly implement additional protections.

Exclude any staff or visitors (including exempted visitors) who:

  • have a fever (37.5°C or higher) or any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, even if mild. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, headache, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or loss of smell. Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite and acute blocked nose congestion.
  • during the last 14 days have been:

Visiting

  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask whilst within the facility.
  • Facilities must exclude visitors:

  • Residents may have a maximum of two visitors each day and may have different visitors each day this applies to Greater Sydney (including Blue Mountains and Central Coast LGAs ) only.
  • Record every visitor's name, phone number and date and time of entry (and time of exit where possible). Electronic check-in methods (such as QR codes) are recommended by NSW Health and should be used where possible. Hand-written records (when they are collected) should be legible and need to be provided to NSW Health as soon as possible, but at least within 4 hours, when needed for contact tracing. Records should be kept for a minimum of 28 days.

Exceptional circumstances

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for exempt visitors to be allowed entry into the facility on compassionate grounds (e.g. imminent death of a loved one), or for essential care purposes. Similar provisions exist for staff members if their exclusion will result in significant compromise to patient care. Please contact your local Public Health Unit if you require advice as to how to appropriately manage these visits.

  • An essential care purpose can include people visiting their loved ones who are receiving end-of-life care, or for visiting a resident with a serious mental illness (including advanced dementia), where the resident requires a trusted carer to support and maintain social and emotional wellbeing.
  • An essential care person is someone who has frequently and regularly visited a resident to provide aspects of care and companionship to that person. An essential care person is not a casual visitor, or visitor not providing an aspect of care, or visitor who the resident does not want to have assisting with their care.
  • A decision to admit otherwise exempt visitors must be based on an assessment of the risk posed by the visitor, and the ability of the facility to manage their visit. Added precautions, including being escorted directly to and from the room of the resident, and remaining within the room during the visit, would need to be in place. Visitors and staff with symptoms, or who have been identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19, should not be exempted.

Advice for accepting new permanent or respite residents, and returning residents discharged from hospital

  • Residential aged care facilities should undertake their own screening and risk assessment of new and returning residents for COVID-19. Depending on the risk assessment, facilities may implement additional infection prevention and control measures on admission.
  • Admission of new residents from the community, either permanent or respite, can be accepted if the person has not been to any areas where testing or monitoring of symptoms is advised, has had no contact with anyone with confirmed, suspected or probable COVID-19, is not awaiting a COVID-19 test result, and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is not mandatory for new or returning residents unless they have symptoms.
  • When a resident has been admitted to hospital and is ready for discharge back to the residential aged care facility, the hospital treating team will medically screen and risk assess the resident for COVID-19 prior to discharge. The receiving facility should undertake their own screening process when the resident is returned. Local Health District aged care outreach teams / specialised staff should be engaged as early as possible to assist with discharge planning if required.

Additional COVID-19 measures for staff and facilities

  • Minimise staff working across different care facilities. Where ceasing staff movement across facilities is not practical, additional measures should be put in place, such as maintaining records of staff and work locations.
  • All staff must wear a surgical mask whilst in the facility.
  • Keep your outbreak preparedness plan up to date.  Include provisions in your plan to ensure that your facility:
    • is able to quickly require all staff to wear surgical masks should it be recommended in the future because of an increased risk of local transmission. NSW Health will notify you of this requirement should your location be affected
    • has sufficient stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) held on site. This should include PPE for business-as-usual service delivery as well as to respond quickly to elevated risk from a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case
    • has a designated infection control lead
    • all staff have regular infection control training.

Residents leaving the facility

Until further notice all residential aged care facilities in the Northern Area of the Northern BeachesWollongong LGACumberland City Council or the Canterbury Ward  of Canterbury Bankstown Council, Mt Druitt (suburb) and Rooty Hill (suburb) should avoid residents leaving the facility unless it is essential (for example, a medical appointment).

If you need additional public health advice contact your local NSW Health Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

Additional resources

Up to date information about COVID-19 can be found at:

Current as at: Thursday 14 January 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW