From 12.01am 23 November 2022, all remaining COVID-19 legislation in South Australia expires, including the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 49) (COVID 19) Direction 2022 (RACF Direction).
This change means COVID-19 management in RACFs - previously mandated in the RACF Direction - will need to be incorporated in workplace health and safety policies, including:
- COVID-19 vaccination requirements for RACF workers.
- Exclusion of COVID-19 cases from RACFs (unless residing in the facility) for seven days or until symptoms resolve.
- Exclusion of close contacts from RACFs for seven days.
- Use of face masks by staff and visitors.
- Infection prevention and control training for RACF staff.
- COVID-19 infection control plans for communal areas at RACFs.
- PPE requirements for staff caring for residents.
- Recording COVID-19 vaccination status of RACF residents.
COVID-19 cases and close contacts
- Isolation is no longer legally required for COVID-19 cases.
- Staff and visitor COVID-19 close contacts are no longer legally prohibited from entering a RACF.
- Visitors and staff who are COVID-19 cases are strongly encouraged not to enter a RACF for at least 7 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is later.
- RACFs should update health and safety policies to include management of residents, staff and visitors who are COVID-19 cases and close contacts, as well as those with acute respiratory symptoms (e.g. runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever).
- Refer to the Guidance for managing COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities for recommendations.
Staff and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask in an RACF. However, visitor and staff mask use should be reinstated when one resident tests positive to COVID-19 or when advised by SA Health.
With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the community and in RACFs we must do everything we can to protect those most at risk of serious disease. Effective from 14 November 2022, the Chief Public Health Officer has strongly recommended face mask policies be activated in RACFs for both workers and visitors for a period of four weeks, to the 16 December 2022.
COVID-19 vaccination for staff
Vaccination is important for managing COVID-19 related risks in RACFs.
Staff vaccination is now the responsibility of RACF providers and should be included in workplace policies. Staff (employees, contractors, agency), students and volunteers are strongly encouraged to be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations, as per ATAGI guidelines.
COVID-19 vaccination for residents
Up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged for RACF residents.
COVID-19 vaccine access
Residents who wish to be vaccinated should be supported by the RACF to access a COVID-19 vaccine, such as arranging onsite vaccination by a GP or travel to one of the vaccination sites.
Third and fourth (booster) dose
Residents who received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least three months ago are eligible to receive a third (booster) dose.
A fourth (booster) dose of COVID-19 vaccine is available for people to ensure maximum protection, and is recommended for people aged 50 years or older (three months after the third dose).
Eligible residents can access a vaccination through RACF COVID-19 booster dose clinics, SA Health vaccination clinics, GPs, and community pharmacies.