Please find the following updates and information on the current restrictions and requirements for Mercy Connect facilities. There are some key changes since the last communication.
New Isolation Rules
Residents of New South Wales and Victoria will no longer be required to isolate for seven days if they are deemed to be a close contact of COVID-19. Household close contacts will be free to leave the home but must still perform regular rapid antigen tests.
From 6pm Friday 22 April
- NSW household and close contacts will no longer need to isolate for seven days. Conditions apply and household contacts:
- must wear a face mask in all indoor settings outside of their home,
- must undertake a rapid antigen test daily, and
- are not allowed to visit aged care homes, hospitals, disability or correctional facilities.
From 11.59pm on Friday 22 April
- Victorian household and close contacts will no longer need to isolate for seven days.
- Conditions apply and household contacts must:
- wear a face mask in all indoor settings,
- avoid all “sensitive” settings such as aged care and hospitals, and
- perform five rapid antigen tests over the course of seven days.
In both NSW and Victoria people who test positive to COVID-19, either via rapid antigen or a PCR test, must still isolate for seven days.
Residents that are considered close contacts will not be permitted to enter disability (Mercy Connect) facilities.
All staff, participants and families / guardians should take precautionary steps in preparing for the 2022 winter flu season.
- All accommodation residents should be strongly encouraged to receive the 2022 seasonal flu vaccine, which can be given on the same day or at any time before or after the winter COVID-19 booster. The COVID-19 winter booster can be given four months after their first booster dose, or four months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection if they’ve had COVID-19 since their first booster dose.
- It is strongly recommended that all visitors and staff be vaccinated for influenza before this winter and that facilities communicate with their staff, families and other visitors to remind them about the importance of influenza vaccination.
It is important to get the flu vaccine every year. The virus strains that cause the flu change each year and the vaccine changes each year to match these strains.
A reminder that all staff and visitors are required to wear masks in high-risk settings including in Disability Care Facilities. This includes homes, vehicles, corporate offices and when providing support to participants.
- If a person is required to wear a mask but cannot because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either
- a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
- a statutory declaration.
Group Homes (Albury and Central West)
Visits to Mercy Connect Group homes remain in line with the NSW Health directives.
- Two visitors aged 12 years and over plus two visitors under 12 years per resident per day.
- All visitors aged 12 years and over should be fully vaccinated (unless in exceptional circumstances for visiting an RDCF). Visitors should get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible for one and have a negative Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to each visit.
- Visitors must have valid proof of vaccination
Visitors must not enter the facility at all if they:
- have COVID-19 symptoms,
- have been exposed to COVID-19, unless they have completed their isolation and testing requirements,
- are residents that are considered close contacts from the 22 April are not required to self- isolate,
- are waiting for a COVID-19 test result,
- have been overseas in the previous 14 days, unless they are
- fully vaccinated, it has been at least 7 days after arrival, and they have received a negative rapid antigen test at least 6 days after arriving in NSW.
Corporate Offices (Albury and Central West)
Corporate Offices at both locations remain open to visitors with the current provisions:
- All visitors are to complete a COVID Declaration. Completed declarations to be submitted to Debbie White at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- All visitors must provide valid proof of vaccination or exemption.
- All visitors must follow current PPE requirements i.e., face masks to be worn at all times when indoors.
Residents may leave the facility to exercise, for recreational activities or to attend family gatherings while adhering to the requirements within the Public Health (COVID-19 General) (No 2) Order 2021 (the Order).
Where Rapid Antigen Testing is available, residents who leave the facility to attend a family gathering should on return be supported to have a RAT on days 2, 4 and 7 after they return. Should RATs not be available, continue to follow infection prevention strategies. If they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should immediately be isolated and have a PCR test.
Residents should get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible for one.
Residents should not leave the facility if they have COVID-19 symptoms until they have had a RAT or PCR test and have received a negative result.
All facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, infection control and mask wearing advice if they need to leave the facility.
It is promising to see restrictions easing, although it is important for all staff and visitors to remain vigilant in adhering to our PPE regulations, social distancing practices and good hygiene, especially as the winter session is approaching.
Survey seeking cross border community feedback
The Office of the NSW Cross Border Commissioner advocates for border communities and raises awareness regarding policy, processes and decision making that can deliver better outcomes. This survey is one way that you can share your experience of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic related to cross-border communities.
The information you share will be collated with other responses to provide a picture of the experiences of cross-border communities from 2020 to 2022.
The survey focuses on three key areas related to the COVID-19 related border restrictions:
- Access to essentials, such as health, education, goods and services.
- Exemptions for travel, including critical/essential workers, relocation and compassionate reasons.
- Cross-border community zones and ‘border bubbles’ and how they were managed.
You are invited to participate in the survey due to your lived experience as a person who lives and works in a cross-border community. The survey is specifically for people who lived and worked in cross-border communities from 2020-2022 and you are welcome to share the survey link with others.
This survey will take around 5-10 minutes to complete. It closes 5pm on 29 April 2022. You can complete the survey here: https://forms.office.com/r/ynQFxUqbSV
Together we grow.