20 February 2023 - Reporting to SA Health

Effective from 20/02/2023 there will be a change in the way RACFs notify SA Health of COVID-19 Outbreaks. RACFs can now notify SA Health by completing the online Outbreak Notification Form.

To improve the simplicity of reporting multiple COVID-19 cases, RACFs can now use the COVID-19 multiple Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) reporting tool. For more detailed instructions, please refer to the link.

COVID-19 management

To reduce the impact of COVID-19 in RACFs, the Chief Public Health Officer has released recommendations in the Guidance for managing COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities (PDF 247KB).

Please refer to this document for relevant information for staff and providers in the management of COVID-19.

Workplace health and safety policies

Effective from 23 November 2022, all remaining COVID-19 legislation in South Australia expired, including the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 49) (COVID 19) Direction 2022 (RACF Direction).

This change means that the COVID-19 management in RACFs which was previously mandated in the RACF Direction, needs to be incorporated in workplace health and safety policies.

Antiviral Access

Early treatment of COVID-19 or influenza with antiviral medication can reduce disease severity. GPs and RACF staff are encouraged to discuss the use of oral antiviral treatment with all residents (or substitute decision makers) in advance.

The Oral Antiviral Treatment Plan (COVID and Influenza) for Residents of South Australian Aged Care Facilities template (DOC 31KB) can guide these discussions and document treatment eligibility and consent ahead of time. This allows timely access to treatment in the event of infection or outbreak. The RACF should notify the usual or locum GP of a positive COVID-19 result as early as possible and within 24 hours.

COVID-19 vaccination for residents

Vaccination remains to be the most effective protection against severe illness, hospitalisation, and death from COVID-19. Vaccination is strongly recommended for staff and residents in residential aged care facilities.

Please see the latest recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) regarding COVID-19 boosters in 2023. These recommendations replace previous ATAGI COVID-19 vaccine booster advice.

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 or visiting a local pharmacy.

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 the ATAGI guidelines.

Face masks

Staff and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask in an RACF. However, visitor and staff mask use should be reinstated when when a facility has one confirmed COVID-19 case or when advised by SA Health.

Particulate filter respirators (PFR) are the recommended face mask for COVID-19 outbreaks.

PFRs are also appropriate for health care workers to use for aerosol-generating procedures (and behaviours) with clients suspected of having an infection transmitted by droplet or airborne route, including COVID-19. For further information see:

Further information

COVID-19 vaccinations information

Fact sheets