Staff will not be permitted to enter an aged care facility from today, October 25, unless they have received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine - in line with restrictions for visitors.
Restrictions were eased from October 11 - so-called 'Freedom Day' in Sydney - to allow people to visit aged care centres and allow residents to leave facilities.
However, a number of measures remain in place for staff and visitors to protect residents under the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2021.
According to the NSW Government's Advice to residential aged care facilities, from October 11, aged care residents are permitted to have two visitors per day provided they are aged 12 and over and have received a second dose of a COVID vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.
The only exception is an end-of-life visit for a resident, in which case up to two unvaccinated people will be allowed to visit.
All visitors must wear a surgical mask during the entirety of the visit and must stay inside the resident's room at all times.
"Facilities should consider Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) if readily available for visitors attending an end of life visit," the NSW Government said.
"People who are providing a service to the resident including a health service or professional or other service are not included as part of the visitor limitations.
"All visitors must wear a surgical mask while visiting indoors.
"Apart from end-of-life visits, visits may be permitted in either the resident's room or an outside area but not in any inside communal areas."
Visitors must not enter a facility if:
- they have been to any close or casual locations in NSW OR Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania OR New Zealand in the last 14 days
- have COVID-19 symptoms
- are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and are within their isolation period
- live in a household with a person who is currently isolating
- are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
Residents can leave an aged care centre to attend family gatherings or for other reasons but must abide by the current public health orders.
Residents must be fully vaccinated in order to visit hospitality venues such as a café or restaurant, cinemas, group classes and activities at recreation facilities and retail outlets such as shopping centres (not including critical services such as a supermarket or pharmacy).
Facilities must ensure residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they leave the facility.
If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or a statutory declaration.
All aged care staff must wear a surgical mask.
Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:
- are a close or casual contact of COVID-19, prior to completing their isolation and testing requirements. (Staff who are casual contacts are no longer excluded from entry for 14 days from their date of exposure, however should be risk assessed by the facility before returning to work.)
- have not received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9am 25 October 2021
- are unable to provide evidence of having received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as per the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2021. 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.
- have been to any close or casual locations in NSW OR Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania OR New Zealand in the last 14 days;
- have COVID-19 symptoms - fever (37. 5°C or higher) or other symptoms of COVID-19
- live in a household with a person who is currently self-isolating
- are waiting for a COVID-19 test result (except for surveillance purposes).
Details: click here.