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Western Australia

WA Department of Health

WA Health COVID-19 Hotline – 13 COVID (13 268 43) | www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus

 

Latest News

13 May: WA Health Winter Preparedness for Residential Aged Care Facilities
On 12 May, LASA and ACSA together with WA Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health held a webinar on the topic COVID-19 winter dose for residents of WA Residential Aged Care Facilities. A recording of the webinar is available here.

29 April: Mask wearing requirements for in Home and Community Care settings from 29 April 2022
Please see attached the COVID Transition (Face Covering) Directions (No.6) available on the WA government website here.

Following the announcement of easing of restrictions from 29 April 2022, we sought clarification of the mask wearing requirements for in home and community care settings and day centres.

In response to our enquiry we have received advice from the Chief Health Office as follows:

Masks remain mandatory in high risk settings for people aged 12 years and over, including healthcare settings, correctional facilities, aged care facilities, other residential care facilities, and vehicles used for public transport or passenger transport.

The Directions define a healthcare setting as “a public or private health facility where health care is primarily delivered via face-to-face services provided to residents, patients, clients and others”.

In general, if the service is providing primarily a face-to-face ‘health care’, then the requirement is to wear a mask to enter the client/patient care setting/area (as a staff member and/or client). 

It is assumed that most services will know if they are providers of ‘health care’; some examples of health services are:

  • public and private hospitals and health clinics;
  • public and private ambulance services and patient transport services;
  • day procedure centres and specialist outpatient services;
  • primary health clinics including (but not limited to): general practitioners, Aboriginal health services, private nurse offices, maternal health clinics, child health clinics, dental health clinics;
  • allied health services, including (but not limited to):  radiology services, physiotherapy services, occupational therapy services.

Not included are services that do not have face-to-face interaction with a client/patient, such as: telehealth services, pathology laboratories, and corporate areas within health facilities.

The changes described above represent the minimum mask requirements; individual services are able to impose mask requirements as appropriate to their settings, in line with their own organisational policies.

29 April: Guidance for the management of COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in WA
A recent update has been made to the document Guidance for the management of COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in WA Residential Aged Care Facilities version 2.2
The Changes from the previous version (version 2.1) have been highlighted in yellow within the document and include:

  • Updated close contact definition -see page 4.
  • Updated guidance to help inform when a facility can declare an outbreak over -see text on page 15 and diagram on page 16.

If you have questions, you are advised to contact COVIDPlanning@health.wa.gov.au.

The Department of health are also reminding people that the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Winter dose program in residential aged care is underway. ATAGI recommends that aged care residents and other vulnerable groups receive their COVID-19 Winter dose from 4 months after their initial booster dose.

29 April: Public health measures to ease with WA’s soft landing secured
A Media statement was released on Tuesday 26 April from the Government of Western Australia with information that from 12.01am Friday, April 29, public health and social measures will ease. This affects changes regarding masks, Square meter requirments, close contacts, domestic and international travel, school and early childhood measures and Mandatory workplace vaccination requirements.

13 April: Public health and social measures to ease from 12.01am tomorrow
Public health measures will be relaxed further from 12.01am Thursday April 14, as Western Australia continues its soft landing through the Omicron wave.

11 April: Information for Western Australian Aged Care Providers – Organising PCR testing during an Outbreak
There are a number of Clinipath guidance documents available for Western Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs) on the arrangement and booking of PCR testing when you have a positive resident and/or two positive staff members (RAT or PCR). These include:

WA services should note that a RACF can determine the extent of initial testing, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of their facility.

Testing guidance is provided in the attached Commonwealth document “Pathology Surge Sonic Clinipath RACF Testing during a COVID-19 Outbreak- RACF Guidance”. Wait times at Clinipath Drive Thru clinics can be found on the Clinipath website: Drive Thru hours & wait times. Staff are able to visit any pathology service for testing, for example if it is closer or wait times are shorter.

WA providers should also refer to the WA Department of Health Guidance for the management of COVID-19 outbreaks in WA Residential Aged Care Facilities version 2.1 sent to providers 30 March 2022.

31 March: Public health measures to ease from Thursday, March 31
Public Health Measures will be eased to Level 1 from 12.01am on 31 March 2022. Check in registration will only be required for higher-risk venues that require proof of vaccination. The limit of two visitors per resident per day will remain for residential aged and disability facilities.

29 March: WA winter preparedness PPE pack clarification
Advice for Western Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs) on the delivery of emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packs.

24 March: Easing of public health measures from Thursday, March 31
With Western Australia's soft landing through the Omicron wave on course, public health and social measures (PHSM) will be eased from 12.01am Thursday March 31, 2022.

18 March: Guide to getting a COVID-19 test at a State-run clinic and RAT kit information
State-run and private COVID-19 testing clinics offer PCR testing. When demand for PCR tests exceeds capacity at a State-run clinic, you may be provided with a rapid antigen test to do at home. Every household in Western Australia can register to receive 5 free COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). Find out more about RAT testing in WA here.

10 March 2022: Emergency PPE deployment to Western Australian residential aged care facilities
Western Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs) should remain alert and prepared for a potential outbreak of COVID-19. To assist facilities with their preparedness and in recognition of increasing levels of COVID-19 across the state, the Australian Government is deploying emergency personal protective equipment (PPE) packs to RACFs.

10 March 2022: Very High Caseload Settings introduced for Western Australia
WA will move to very high caseload settings from 12.01am, Thursday 10 March, to ensure continuity of operations for critical industries as COVID-19 cases approach the peak. Updated advice for Critical Workers, Schools and Childhood Education can be found on the WA Government website. 

10 March 2022: Dedicated Vaccination Hubs for care workers
The Department of Health has provided an updated list of dedicated vaccination hubs for the aged care workforce, as at 10 March. It is important that workers and providers understand that these hubs are time limited. If these hubs offer a more convenient option for getting booster vaccinations, please ensure you book appointments without delay.

4 March 2022: Visitor Directions updated
The latest Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Direction (No. 10) came into effect on Thursday 3 March 2022. The Directions prohibit all persons from entering or remaining at a residential aged care facility in Western Australia if the person:

  • in the preceding 7 days, has returned from overseas or has been informed they are a close contact; or
  • has any symptoms (as defined in the Directions);
  • has not had an up to date vaccination against influenza (this is subject to some exemptions);
  • is providing a service to a resident of the facility and telehealth/alternative model of care/external care could be used;
  • is a quarantine centre worker who has attended a quarantine centre in the preceding 7 days unless they wear a face covering and keeps a personal distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people.

The Directions only allow 2 visitors per day to enter a facility for a care and support visit to any single resident, unless a greater number of visitors is approved by the Chief Health Officer. 

2 March 2022: Level 2 public health measures introduced state-wide on Thursday 3 March
Upgraded public health and social measures will be introduced state-wide from 12:01am, Thursday 3 March. Find out more about Level 2 public health and social measures.

1 March 2022: Guidance for the management of COVID-19 outbreaks in WA Residential Aged Care Facilities
This guidance document has developed to support WA residential aged care facilities respond to and manage COVID-19 outbreaks with the aim of reducing the impact of COVID-19 on residents, staff and the management of the facility. Please note that the WA definition of a COVID-19 RACF outbreak aligns with the CDNA national guidelines for the prevention, control and public health management of COVID-19 outbreaks in residential care facilities in Australia. This document largely replaces the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Plan: Residential Aged Care facilities version 5.1. If you have any questions or feedback, please provide to COVIDPlanning@health.wa.gov.au.

22 February 2022: Aged Care COVID-19 Update for WA Providers - 24 February, 2pm
The department, together with WA Health, are hosting a free webinar on Thursday 24 February, 2pm-3:15pm (AWST) for WA aged care providers on managing COVID-19 in their aged care service. Register now

21 February 2022: New and Updated Directions - Residential aged care visitors and Critical Workers
The following new and updated Directions have been released for WA - Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities (Restrictions on Access) Directions (No.9) and Covid Transition (Critical Worker) Directions (NEW).

21 February 2022: Critical worker furlouging registration system
A Western Australian online critical worker furloughing registration system has launched for employers of workers who meet the critical worker criteria, including residential aged care, and in-home and community care workers. Eligible employers are urged to register their critical roles, in the event they are likely to need them in a very high caseload environment. Read more

18 February 2022: Webinar recording available
The 2 February 2022 webinar recording from the joint initiative between the Australian Government Department of Health and WA Health to update Aged Care providers on COVID-19 preparedness is now available. Watch now.

17 February 2022: Key Action to support outbreak preparedness | Early completion of Clinpath documentation
Clinipath Pathology has been contracted by the Commonwealth Government to provide surge COVID-19 testing for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). Where required, Clinipath will undertake testing of ALL staff and residents onsite, ideally on the same day an outbreak is declared. For same-day testing, Clinipath need completed lists (see two excel attachments above) for all staff and residents onsite by 12 noon. Any lists received after this time will result in testing being delayed to the following day. To avoid delays, each facility is recommended to complete the attached documents now, so you can be ready to send immediately (with minor edits only) when needed. Read more

10 February 2022: Authorisation to supply or administer a poison [SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) treatment - national medical stockpile] (No. 1) 2022
The Authorisation to supply or administer a poison [SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) treatment - national medical stockpile] (No. 1) 2022 Direction enables residential aged care facilities to receive, store and administer COVID-19 treatments.

10 February 2022: Chief Health Officer issues advice on COVID-19 contacts
Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer has issued advice on the definition of ‘close’ contacts of COVID-19 cases as the virus situation in the State continues to evolve. Read more

7 February 2022: Mandatory registration of positive results on Rapid Antigen Tests
In addition to PCR testing, Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be used as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19 with a compulsory registration system for positive test results, in line with health advice for high caseload settings. People who have self-administered a RAT test for COVID-19 at home or in the workplace and tested positive must register their result online with the Department of Health at www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/ratregister - Read more

7 February 2022: WA begins next phase of pandemic, new protocols to commence
As Western Australia begins to experience a high caseload environment, new protocols announced in January will be introduced across the State from Tuesday, February 8. Based on the latest health advice, considering the high level of Omicron in the community and the number of cases in self-quarantine, the new settings will help manage community transmission and minimise disruption caused by the virus in the community and to the economy. Read more

29 January 2022: Proof of Vaccination Directions (No 2)
These directions set out vaccination and proof of vaccination requirements for certain premises in Western Australia for the purposes of preventing, controlling or abating the risks associated with the State of Emergency. View here

28 January 2022: Department of Health COVID-19 Webinar for WA RACFs, Wednesday 2 February
The Department, together with WA Health, are hosting a COVID-19 webinar for WA residential aged care facilities to update the sector on COVID-19 preparedness in WA. This free webinar will be held on Wednesday 2 February, 9am-10.10am AWST. Participants will have the opportunity to submit their questions prior via the registration link, or on the day via the Q&A function. Register now

28 January 2022: Very high caseload environment critical worker definition and protocols
The definition of a critical worker has been released for when Western Australia enters into a very high caseload environment and new testing and isolating protocols take effect. The critical worker definition is vital to maintain critical services and avoid catastrophic losses, such as loss of life, ongoing access to care and essential goods and workplace safety. It will only take effect when WA reaches a very high caseload environment, triggered by epidemiological and outbreak response, subject to the latest health advice. Read more

28 January 2022: High COVID caseload settings under WA's Updated Transition Plan
The State Government has released the settings that will apply to Western Australians when WA moves into a high COVID-19 caseload environment. When WA will reach a high caseload environment, will be based on the State's epidemiological and outbreak situation, and subject to the latest health advice. In a high caseload environment, a new close contact definition will apply and new testing and isolation protocols will take effect. Read more

27 January 2022: Masks mandatory in Wheatbelt and Great Southern from 6pm
Based on the latest health advice, a mask mandate for all indoor public settings will be extended to the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions at 6pm, January 27. The mask rule will also apply to anyone who has been in these regions since January 20 and has since travelled to another region. Read more

20 January 2022: Full border opening delayed as part of updated transition plan
Based on the latest health advice, Western Australia's Safe Transition Plan has been updated with new hard border settings from Saturday, February 5 to respond to serious concerns around the impacts of the Omicron variant. The updated plan means the full border opening will be delayed given the full impacts of Omicron in Australia are still unknown, with the peak of infections not yet reached in jurisdictions with widespread transmission. Read more

17 January 2022: Mask mandate introduced for South-West region from 6pm 17 January 2022
Based on the latest health advice, a mask mandate for all indoor public settings will be introduced for the South-West region at 6pm, Monday January 17. The mask rule will also apply to anyone who has been in the South-West since January 12, and has since travelled to another region. Masks must be worn in all indoor public settings, including in vulnerable settings like aged care facilities and hospitals - usual exemptions apply. Read more

16 January 2022: Masks required in all indoor settings in Perth and Peel from 16 January 2022
Mandatory mask wearing in all indoor public settings will come into effect for the Perth and Peel regions at 6pm tonight (January 16). Anyone who has been in the Perth or Peel region from January 6 is also required to wear a mask indoors when travelling to another regional area. Read more

13 January 2022: Proof of vaccination will be required state-wide for visitors to aged care facilities from 31 January
Premier McGowan has today announced that proof of vaccination will be required state-wide for visitors to aged care facilities from 31 January 2022. For more information, view the Premier's media release and the updated WA Government advice.

10 January 2022: Updated WA Booster Directions for mandated workforce
Aged care workers will be required to be administered their COVID-19 Booster vaccination by 5 February 2022, in accordance with the updated Booster Vaccination (Restrictions on access) Directions (No. 2).

10 January 2022: COVID-19 Outbreak Response Plan: Residential Aged Care Facilities - version 5.1
The COVID Planning Cell WA Health has released version 5.1 of the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Plan: Residential Aged Care Facilities. WA Health has advised that there are a number of significant and rapidly evolving issues, including how outbreaks in residential aged care facilities are defined, that impact the Plan. Please follow the Public Health advice provided to you at the time of an exposure of COVID-19 in your facility, or in the event of an outbreak. If you have any questions about the Plan, or would like to provide any feedback, please email COVIDPlanning@health.wa.gov.au.