Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update August 10, 2022

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Date published:

August 11, 2022

Targeted audience:

Health sector

Weekly webinar on COVID-19 in elderly care – reminder

A reminder for aged care providers that the Department of Health and Aged Care is hosting a webinar tomorrow to provide key updates and guidance on COVID-19 as providers continue to manage outbreaks.

When: Thursday, August 11, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (AEST)

If you would like to participate and have not yet registered, please register to attend.

There will be a moderated Q&A session with Ministry officials and we encourage you to submit your questions in advance through the registration link.

Clarification on access to vaccination history

In our Monday August 8, 2022 newsletter, we provided information on how to contact the Australian Immunization Register (AIR). We would like to point out that a resident can call the AIR information line at 1800 653 809 (8am-5pm, Mon-Fri AEST) and request their own paper statement, residents can also ask their doctor or vaccine provider to print a copy of the vaccination statement, or the resident can access the records through their own myGov account.

Antigen Rapid Test Kits – continuous supply for residential aged care homes

The Australian Government continues to provide a regular weekly deployment of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits to care homes for the elderly through the National Medical Stockpile. This regular weekly deployment should be part of your surveillance check of at least 2 times per week and no more than 72 hour intervals for staff, or at the entrance for each visitor. During an outbreak, this should shift to daily testing of staff and visitors. Additional provision is also provided to allow testing of residents during an outbreak, noting that PCR testing is preferred and can be arranged.

RAT kits will be delivered weekly to every aged care home in Australia, with outbreak sites given priority for earliest delivery. Although deliveries take place weekly, regardless of outbreak status, nursing homes in outbreak automatically receive a larger quantity of kits.

Unless a nursing home for the elderly has specifically requested to be removed from the mailing list, all will receive regular shipments of RAT kits. To request removal from the mailing list, please email: care for the elderlyCOVIDliaison [at] health.gov.au.

The volume of RAT kits allocated is based on the state of the outbreak and the number of staff, residents and visitors expected in the nursing home. It is inappropriate for institutions to charge for the use of these RATs.

Visitors can also use their own RAT kits before their visit. Visitors may be asked to provide proof of their test result.

Some residential nursing homes for the elderly have purchased RATs at their own expense, to undertake RAT screening of visitors and staff. Reimbursement for this cost may be available through the COVID-19 Elderly Support Program Extension Grant (GO4863).

If you are an outbreak or exposure site with an urgent need for RAT, please contact your Commonwealth Case Management Team.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Antiviral Treatment Fact Sheet

The Department has developed a new resource, the COVID-19 Vaccination and Antiviral Treatments Fact Sheet, with information and answers to frequently asked questions for residents living in nursing homes and their families.

Please share this resource with your residents and their families if they have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or the use of antivirals to treat COVID-19.

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