Alert from the Director of Public Health for residential aged care providers
This alert updates the alert provided on 29 November 2021.
Public Health Update: Direction: Residential Aged Care Facilities No.17
The Director of Public Health has signed an updated Direction for Residential Aged Care Facilities No.17 under Section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997, and it comes into effect from 10 December 2021.
Under the updated Direction, the following will apply.
- All persons visiting a residential aged care facility, except for the residents, must wear a surgical face mask while they remain on the premises. This requirement includes children under the age of 12 years, where practicable.
- All visitors to a residential aged care facility must be either fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the intended visit. Vaccination for visitors to an aged care residential facility is not mandatory, if a person who is not vaccinated wishes to visit a facility, they must provide evidence of a negative test result from a test that has been taken within 72 hours prior to the persons’ visit to the facility.
- The testing requirement applies to all persons, regardless of age, (except for infants under up to 1 month old) and there are no exemptions for a vaccine medical contraindication.
- An exemption may be provided in the case of end-of-life care.
- More information will be available shortly at Important Community Updates.
Tasmanian Update: Measures introduced in response to COVID-19 variant Omicron
- Tasmania has introduced additional border measures in response to a new variant (Omicron or B.1.1.529) of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. This new variant has been identified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation.
- Travellers who have spent time in any overseas location on or since Sunday 28 November are not currently permitted to enter Tasmania. Current exceptions include the South Island of New Zealand and some Pacific Island Nations meeting specific criteria.
- Additionally, any traveller intending to travel to Tasmania who has spent time overseas in the 14 days before Sunday 28 November, will not be permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved as an Essential Traveller.
- Further information on border restrictions and requirements for international travellers will be available in the coming days.
- Early data suggests that Omicron is more infectious than other variants of SARS-CoV-2. While there is no evidence to suggest that it causes more severe infection, this and other aspects of infection with this variant are being urgently investigated.
More information on the transmissibility, severity of illness and effectiveness of current vaccines and treatments for the new variant is expected to become available in the coming weeks.
- Direction: Vaccination requirements for Certain Workers No.10 has been updated to include a person required to be sufficiently vaccinated in accordance with the direction must have received all vaccine doses before 8 January 2022 (the second dose must be no later than 7 January 2022).
Interstate Exposure Sites
- Public Health continues to monitor exposure sites on the mainland. Exposure sites are listed at www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travelalert. Anyone who has spent time at any of the high-risk premises at the specified dates and times must self-isolate immediately and call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.
- As the situation is evolving, travellers should check the webpage regularly, monitor their health and call the Public Health Hotline to book a test if they have even mild symptoms.
- Anyone who has spent time in a high-risk area or premises in the last 14 days must not enter a residential aged care facility in Tasmania, unless exemption is granted by the Director of Public Health. This includes all aged care workers, staff and visitors. See Aged care facility visits for more information.
- Continue to test residents for COVID-19, even if they display the mildest cold and flu-like symptoms.
- Keep up to date on our testing clinic locations and opening hours – including mobile testing clinics – at www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/testing.
- The latest information about vaccination centres is available from www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/booking
- To get a booster at a state-run clinic, eligible people should book an appointment by visiting www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/booking or calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
- Details on third doses (boosters) can be found here www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/vaccination-information/covid-19-vaccination/boosters-and-third-primary-doses
COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Information
- Details on booster vaccination for aged care residents including eligibility, consent, safety and the type of vaccine can be found here COVID-19 booster vaccination for aged care residents
- Details for booster vaccination information or residential aged care workers can be found here COVID-19 booster vaccine for workers in aged care
What to do:
- Continue to screen all visitors and staff to ensure that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and have not attended any of the high-risk areas or premises at the dates and times listed on www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/public-exposure-sites-in-tasmania.
- Continue to monitor all residents and arrange testing if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Stay up to date with important community updates – check www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au regularly.
- Get in touch with the Aged Care Emergency Operations Centre via email at email@example.com if you have any questions.
- Call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 and ask for the PHEOC Clinical Nurse Consultant on call for any urgent queries.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Dr Julie Graham
Deputy Director of Public Health
Public Health Emergency Operations Centre