Please find the following updates and information on the current restrictions and requirements for Mercy Connect facilities. Whilst there may be limited changes since the last communication, it is important that staff are reminded of the current restrictions for residential disability care facilities (RDCF).
COVID-19 Vaccination – Boosters
On 1 March 2022, the NSW Government updated its advice to residential disability care facilities to include the requirement for workers to have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.
From 12 April 2022 disability workers can only enter a facility if they:
- have received at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- It is six weeks from the due date of the person’s third dose (due date is 13 weeks after the persons second dose).
If not already done so, all staff are required to submit evidence of their 3rd dose of a COVID-19 vaccination to Rochelle Taylor, Payroll Officer Rochelle.firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 5 April 2022.
Staff who have not yet had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine should have regular RAT testing (for example twice per week for a full-time staff member). Staff who have had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine do not need to have regular RAT testing.
PCR Tests should not be used for asymptomatic surveillance of staff or residents where there has been no exposure or outbreak.
Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:
- Are unable to provide evidence of having received at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine OR if the person has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and it’s not after the later of the following;
- 12 April 2022 or
- 6 weeks from the due date for the person’s third dose (due date is 13 weeks after the person’s second dose).
Flu Vaccine Program
Arrangements for all staff to access the Flu Vaccine Program have been made with Chemist Warehouse.
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. Chemist Warehouse will be using the 2022 quadrivalent vaccine from mid-March for the flu immunisation service.
Please follow the below steps:
- Please contact Debbie at email@example.com or call 02 6043 3500 to receive a voucher. You must obtain a voucher before proceeding to step 2.
- Click here to make a booking.
- Type in your postcode to show your nearest participating pharmacy.
- Select the date and time you would like to book.
- Enter in your contact details (email, phone number, name, DOB, Medicare, address, etc.).
- The voucher location for 2022 can be entered by selecting “Voucher” from the drop down “discounted by” box under each attendee. This will allow Chemist Warehouse to accurately identify which customer in each booking has used each voucher.
- Under “Got a voucher code? Add it here”. Type in your code, click ‘Apply’ and continue with your booking details.
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.
- A staff member or visitor may remove their mask:
- while communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
- if wearing a mask creates a risk to health and safety
- where clear enunciation or visibility of the mouth is essential
- when the removal of a face mask is necessary for the provision of a good or service.
- Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should maintain 1.5m distance from others wherever possible.
- 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
Corporate Offices (Albury and Central West)
Corporate Offices at both locations remain open to visitors with the current provisions:
- All visitors to complete a COVID Declaration. Completed declarations are 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 RAT is available, residents who leave the facility to attend a family gathering should on return be supported to have a RAT on days two, four and seven after they return. Should RAT testing 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.
Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment, infection control and mask wearing are available to all participants if they need to leave the facility.
A reminder to all staff who are performing personal care with participants that full PPE is required, this includes shield / eye wear, gown, mask, gown and gloves. Complete PPE should also be worn when working with CPAP machines. PPE orders can be made through email@example.com.
With post lockdown re-openings and reduced restrictions in our community; mask wearing, social distancing and hygiene may begin taking a back seat. Reports of a new virus dubbed the “super cold”, has been spreading in our community, with similar symptoms to COVID-19.
The familiarity of symptoms leaves many to initially suspect a COVID-19 diagnosis, however subsequent testing continually returns negative results.
Reported symptoms include “sandpaper throat”, head and body aches, runny nose and fatigue, with the illness sometimes lasting weeks.
Staff are strongly encouraged to get tested and stay at home if they show any symptoms. I urge all staff and visitors to Mercy Connect to be vigilant in adhering to our PPE regulations, social distancing practices and good hygiene.
Together we grow.
Chief Executive Officer