Beyond Care is taking specific action to maintain client and staff safety.
Read the latest updates and alerts relating to Beyond Care’s pandemic management plan.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND BEYOND CARE
Updated as of 21 April 2022:
- A person who provides a disability service is required to have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccination. Time limitations apply, see below.
- Providers should support residents to register their positive rapid antigen test results
- Residents should only have 2 fully vaccinated people aged 12 years and over plus 2 children aged under 12 visit them within a 24-hour period.
Preparing for winter flu season
- RDCFs should take precautionary steps in preparing for the 2022 winter flu season.
- All residents should be strongly encouraged to receive the 2022 seasonal flu vaccine, which can be given on the same day or at any time before or after the winter COVID-19 booster. The COVID-19 winter booster can be given 4 months after their first booster dose, or 4 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection if they’ve had COVID-19 since their first booster dose.
- It is strongly recommended that all visitors and staff be vaccinated for influenza before this winter and that facilities communicate with their staff, families and other visitors to remind them about the importance of influenza vaccination.
Positive rapid antigen test results
From 12 January 2022 a person must register their positive rapid antigen test result through the Service NSW portal.
Where a resident is unable to independently complete the information on the Service NSW portal, a provider should register the result on behalf of the resident. This can be done by selecting the “continue as guest” option on the Service NSW portal.
When a positive RAT result is registered the person will be asked a series of questions that will help determine whether they are at risk of severe disease and will trigger additional NSW Health supports.
The Commonwealth has confirmed that eligible NDIS participants can purchase rapid antigen tests with funding from their NDIS plan, to ensure safe access to their supports in current COVID-19 outbreaks.
Disability day programs
Disability day programs are permitted to operate.
In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices these include:
- encourage all people with disability to be fully vaccinated
- all people providing a service must have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, this includes volunteers (see staff section below)
- encourage everyone to wear a mask when indoors
- encourage regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people where practical
- have COVID-19 safety plans in place
Staff and participants should not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or if they 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.
A residential disability care facility should allow visitation as follows:
- Two visitors aged 12 years and over plus 2 visitors under 12 years per resident per day
- All visitors aged 12 years and over should be fully vaccinated (unless in exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF). Visitors should get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible for one and have a negative Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to each visit.
Visitors must not enter the facility at all if they:
- have COVID-19 symptoms,
- have been exposed to COVID-19, unless they have completed their isolation and testing requirements,
- are waiting for a COVID-19 test result,
- have been overseas in the previous 14 days, unless they are:
– fully vaccinated, it has been at least 7 days after arrival, and they have received a negative rapid antigen test at least 6 days after arriving in NSW
Please read Exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF.
Where RAT is available, residents who leave the facility to attend a family gathering should on return be supported to have a RAT on days 2, 4 and 7 after they return. Should RAT testing not be available, continue to follow infection prevention strategies. If they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should immediately be isolated and have a PCR test.
Residents should get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible for one.
Residents should not leave the facility if they have COVID-19 symptoms until they have had a RAT or PCR test and have received a negative result.
All facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, infection control and mask wearing advice if they need to leave the facility.
See the latest face mask rules, although mask wearing restrictions have eased, it is strongly recommended residents wear masks when they leave the facility to attend indoor events.
Includes all people providing a service e.g. volunteers
All facilities located in NSW must ensure that all staff wear a surgical mask.
For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional advice.
Staff who have not yet had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine should have regular RAT testing (for example twice per week for a full time staff member). Staff who have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine do not need to have regular RAT testing.
PCR Tests should not be used for asymptomatic surveillance of staff or residents where there has been no exposure or outbreak.
A person must not provide a disability service unless:
- they are able to provide evidence of having received at least 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine OR if the person has received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and it’s is not after the later of the following
- 12 April 2022 or
- 6 weeks from the due date for the persons third dose (due date is 13 weeks after the persons second dose)
Note – New workers can commence employment with 2 doses however, they must receive their third dose within 6 weeks of their due date to continue working.
An exemption has been made to allow a person who has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue working without the third dose, only if they have been assessed as being essential to the operation of a residential aged care facility or the provision of disability or aged care services by the operator of the residential aged care facility or the responsible person for the disability or in-home and community aged care service. See further information on Public Health Orders and Exemptions.
The exemption is also subject to the condition that the worker take reasonable steps to get vaccinated as soon as practical. The exemption will be repealed on 1 June 2022.
Note – On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance.
Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:
- have COVID-19 symptoms
- are waiting for a COVID-19 test result
- have been overseas in the previous 14 days, unless they are fully vaccinated, have a negative rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival and their manager has agreed to risk mitigating measures. Managers should refer to the COVID-19 Guidance to support assessment of workers, residents and visitors in Residential Disability Care for information on assessing level of risk and when staff can be permitted to work, including to ensure service continuity.
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.
Current as at: Thursday 21 April 2022
Any questions, please call our team on 02 8678 0345