COVID-19

COVID-19 information for service providers

Health directives might change over time. All providers are strongly encouraged to monitor the Queensland Health website for the latest information and advice, to ensure that your organisation is following directions appropriate to your service and local community.

From 17 December 2021, public health and social measures will take effect. The latest information is available here.

A printable summary on vaccination status restrictions can be found online here.

Child safety

Last Updated – 11 January 2022

Please note that the below is general advice, and not specific to your child or children and the contact you have with them, or the child or children you care for. To understand how the advice relates to your situation, please contact your child safety officer or Child Safety Service Centre (CSSC) to discuss further.

At this time we are experiencing increasing numbers of COVID infections in our community. It is hoped that short-term sacrifices will mean a return to normality as soon as possible.

Family contact decisions – From 4 January until further notice (subject to weekly review)

It is important for children to stay connected to their family for so many reasons. For the next foreseeable period, family contact arrangements will occur via phone or using online options such as FaceTime or Skype, rather than face-to-face arrangements. If online options are not possible, family contact will be postponed, unless there are exceptional circumstances. These arrangements are relevant for all children including those residing in residential care settings.

Where contact happens using phone or online alternatives, child safety staff will consider whether more frequent contact is an option – the department will consider this in the context of each families individual circumstances. There will be some exceptional cases where it may be appropriate to continue face-to-face contact.

Where face-to-face contact is going ahead due to an exceptional circumstance, this will be carefully planned with all parties to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone. Wherever possible, the family contact will occur outside, away from crowds, with appropriate PPE. Staff will have sufficient PPE for themselves, parents and, if required, children and young people.

Where contact requires supervision, this will be made clear with both parents and carers. If you are unsure about an arrangement, please clarify this with your child safety officer or Child Safety Service Centre.

The capacity for home visits to children in residential care, foster care and kinship care will be limited over the coming weeks, however regular contact with children and young people will still occur via phone contact and FaceTime wherever possible. Where technology is to be used to support meaningful connection, and you have concerns about whether you will have enough data – whether that be for you, your child or as the carer for the child – please speak to your child safety officer about how they can assist.

Services to discrete communities will occur with consideration of the particular vulnerabilities of First Nations people and only occur in line with local protocols.

Scheduled meetings, access to CSSCs and court attendance during January 2022

Any meeting planned with the department will become an online meeting. If this is not possible, the meeting may have to be postponed. In making these decisions, we will consider the health, safety and wellbeing of the family, child, carers and others attending. In deciding what is the best way to meet, we will talk with you and others who were to be involved in the meeting.

Court attendance arrangements have not changed at this point, however information is changing daily.

It is the department’s intention to keep CSSCs open and staff available through a staggered team approach which will mean less staff in the office on any one day, so please contact the CSSC directly if you have any questions. Visitors to CSSCs should be minimised wherever possible. Planned meetings with the Department will continue to be online.

Visit the Child Safety website for the latest information.

Housing and Homelessness Providers

Service continuity

Housing assistance is an essential service for government, including community housing and specialist homelessness services. It is expected these services will continue to be provided to required standards. In any instance where you have to withdraw, significantly modify or reduce service continuity, please notify your Contract Officer or Regional Director.

The department will work with the impacted provider and other providers to promote local service continuity. Housing Service Centres across the state and Delivery Services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Housing continue to provide essential housing services to the community. Any servicing on remote and discrete communities will occur in line with the requirements of each community as advised by the Local Councils and stakeholders. Customers are encouraged to contact their local Housing Service Centre by telephone and adhere to Queensland Health advice.

Housing help is available for people who need it. Anyone experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness can call the 24/7 Homeless Hotline on 1800 474 753, or their local Housing Service Centre (HSC), where trained staff are available to assist. Local HSC contact details are available here.

Please continue to stay in touch with your local Contract Officer or Regional Director. The Department will continue to provide updates on its response to COVID-19 and any natural disasters.

Vaccinations – Community, Housing and Homelessness sector

The department and the sector have worked together with Queensland Health to provide vaccination and COVID-19 testing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in several locations across the State.

Key initiatives, supported by the community, housing and homelessness sectors, have been instrumental in increasing the vaccination target rates in recent months including Volunteering Queensland, Care Army and Community Recovery Ready Reserves, Q Shelter, CSIA and QCOSS promoting vaccination uptake across the sector.

Please note that Mandatory Vaccination is being introduced for Queensland’s Disability Workforce by 15 December 2021. This will cover: group and centre-based activities that assist people with disability to access community, social and recreational activities involving skilled and experienced support staff. More information can be found online at the Queenslanders With Disability website.

Please note that Mandatory Vaccination is also being introduced for Workers in a healthcare setting by 15 December 2021. The Directive states that where your workforce is funded under any service agreement with State or Commonwealth Agencies to deliver healthcare, they are required to be vaccinated.

Healthcare for the purposes of this Directive is defined as any services, support and medical treatment provided to a person to support, promote or improve their health and wellbeing. While housing assistance is considered an essential service, the Department recommend you regularly check the latest Queensland Health restrictions, directives and guidelines via the Queensland Health website, and seek your own legal advice as to whether your organisation needs to comply with Proof of Vaccination for staff or people accessing your particular service.

Under the Chief Health Officer Direction, there is no government mandated requirement for staff or visitors to Neighbourhood and Community Centres to be vaccinated. Neighbourhood and Community Centres activities are covered under the ‘Other Settings: Community facilities’ section of the public health directive. However, occupant density limits do apply.

Shared and Congregate Accommodation sites

Queensland Health’s intent is to protect vulnerable people living in congregate accommodation. Shared accommodation sites, including those with congregate living arrangements, which have communal areas and accommodate four or more people with disability, may need to comply with the Disability Services Accommodation Direction (No. 25).

Under this direction, all staff, students, volunteers, contractors and other workers to disability accommodation sites must show their proof of vaccination or evidence of contraindication to their employer at the facility for recording purposes.

Staff will have to show evidence they have had the vaccination and the employer must sight the evidence of vaccination and maintain a record that they have seen it. More questions and answers from Queensland Health regarding this Direction can be found on the Queensland Health website, here.

As part of an ongoing response, anyone who is a close contact, is in quarantine, isolating awaiting a test result, or who in the last 14 days has been in a declared interstate hotspot or exposure venue of concern must not visit a shared disability accommodation service. There are a limited number of exceptions to this requirement detailed in the Direction.

It is recommended your organisation reviews the Directions and Public Health Directive and consults your own legal advice as to whether your organisation is required to comply.

Positive COVID-19 test result

The department encourages all funded service providers to follow the direction of Queensland Health when considering steps to protect the health and safety of their staff, customers and tenants. If your organisation becomes aware of a staff member or client with a positive COVID-19 test result, please follow Queensland Health advice and call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

For funded housing and homelessness services providers, if your organisation has a staff member or client with a positive COVID-19 test result, in addition to contacting Queensland Health, you must immediately notify your Department Contract Officer or Regional Director. Additionally, a COVID-19 Incident – Notification by Funded Providers Form needs to be completed.

The department will work with the impacted provider and other providers to promote local service continuity.

Our community and clients

The more Queenslanders who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the safer Queensland will be for all of us. The community, housing and homelessness sectors have been encouraged to promote vaccination to community and customers. A communication toolkit has been developed. The toolkit is a shareable resource that helps promote the vaccine and communicate with people to minimise service delivery disruptions and encourage people to protect their family, colleagues and the community from serious illness caused by COVID-19.

Additional information for the community and housing and homelessness sectors is available here:

Disability and aged care providers

You can get support and help in a range of ways:

General information and latest advice

For information about support available to providers, please visit the NDIS Information and support webpage. For information about payments that might be available and billing, please visit the NDIS payments and billing webpage.

Access the latest news and information relevent to Disability providers at the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

Access the latest news and information relevent to Aged Care providers at the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

PPE advice – Last updated: 20 January 2022

As of 3:00pm, 17 December 2021 all Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Queensland have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘moderate’ risk category – exceptions are outlined below.

As of 3:00pm, 4 January 2022, Metro North Hospital and Health Services (MNHHS), Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services (SCHHS) and the below LGAs and towns have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Brisbane LGA (northside, noting that with previous advice of 24 December 2021, all Brisbane LGA is now at the high risk category);
  • Moreton Bay LGA (only postcodes 4019, 4020, 4021, 4022, 4035, 4037 4053, 4055, 4500, 4501, 4502, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, 4507, 4508, 4509, 4510, 4511, 4512, 4514, 4516, 4520, 4521, 4552);
  • Somerset LGA (only postcodes 4520, 4521, 4552);
  • Sunshine Coast LGA (only postcodes 4519, 4551, 4552, 4555, 4556, 4558, 4559, 4560, 4564, 4572, 4573, 4575);
  • Gympie LGA (only postcodes 4570, 4580);
  • Noosa LGA (only postcodes 4566, 4565, 4563, 4567).

As of 4:00pm, 5 January 2022, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service (GCHHS) and the below LGAs and towns have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Gold Coast LGA
  • Scenic Rim LGA (only postcodes 4272, 4275, 4211)

As of 11:00am, 7 January 2022, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service and the below LGAs have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Ipswich LGA
  • Somerset LGA (only postcodes 4311, 4312, 4313)
  • Lockyer Valley LGA (only postcodes 4341, 4342, 4343)
  • Scenic Rim LGA (only postcode 4340, 4307, 4309, 4310)

From 9:00am, 11 January 2022, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) and the below LGAs have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Douglas
  • Mareeba
  • Yarrabah
  • Cairns
  • Tablelands
  • Cassowary Coast
  • Etheridge
  • Croydon

From 4:00pm, 10 January 2022, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) and the below LGAs have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Bundaberg;
  • Fraser Coast;
  • Gladstone (only postcodes 4670, 4674, 4676, and 4678)
  • Gympie (only postcode 4650);
  • North Burnett.

From 4:00pm, 14 January 2022, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service (DDHHS) and the below LGAs have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Toowoomba;
  • Goondiwindi;
  • Lockyer Valley (only postcodes 4352 and 4359);
  • Southern Downs;
  • Western Downs (all postcodes except 4428);
  • North Burnett (only postcode 4626);
  • South Burnett;
  • Banana (only postcodes 4419 and 4497);
  • Maranoa (only postcodes 4423 and 4427);
  • Cherbourg;
  • Balonne (only postcode 4497); and
  • Gympie (only postcodes 4605 and 4615).

Also from 4:00pm, 14 January 2022, the following towns in South West Hospital and Health Service (SWHHS) and have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Charleville (postcode 4470);
  • Roma (postcode 4455); and
  • Surat (postcode 4417).

From 4:00pm, 19 January 2022, Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) and the below LGAs have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘high’ risk category:

  • Burdekin (only postcodes 4806, 4807, 4808 and 4809);
  • Cassowary Coast (only postcode 4849);
  • Charters Towers (only postcodes 4817 and 4850);
  • Flinders (only postcode 4821);
  • Hinchinbrook (only postcode 4850);
  • Mornington (only postcode 4809);
  • Townsville (including postcodes 4810, 4811, 4812, 4814, 4815, 4817, 4818 and 4819).

All health and care settings in the LGAs listed above are to escalate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ‘moderate’ risk category, including:

  • Hospitals;
  • Residential Aged Care Facilities;
  • Residential Disability Care Facilities;
  • Prison Health Services;
  • Youth detention health services;
  • Community health care settings (including general practice, dentistry and home care settings); and
  • Queensland Health Vaccination Clinics.

Please note that the guidance is additional to, and does not replace, the CHO directives that have been formally issued, and for which compliance is mandatory. View the latest PPE advice here.

Download the Pandemic response guidance:

‘Critically essential worker’ quarantine and contact requirements

Quarantine requirements have now changed for close contacts that are assessed to be critically essential workers.

Health is a critical industry and this includes the disability and aged care sectors. Workforce identified as healthcare under the Workers in a Healthcare Setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction No.2 are considered in scope if their role:

  • Requires a person with particular skills
  • Must be performed in person at the workplace
  • Must be performed to prevent an immediate risk or death or serious injury to a person OR prevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) in the community.

Employers are required to complete a self-assessment and submit this documentation, more detailed information on these processes can be found here as well as common Q&As.

Critically essential workers can only leave quarantine to complete work if they:

  • Have no COVID-19 symptoms and;
  • Are fully vaccinated – this includes two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine PLUS a booster shot where eligible.

When leaving quarantine for work, they must:

  • use a mask when indoors. Also wear a mask outdoors if you cannot physically distance from other people.
  • travel to and from the workplace by private transport, by the most direct route practicable and without stopping (except for refuelling and that should be contactless if possible)
  • monitor symptoms
  • wash hands regularly
  • get tested on day 6 of their quarantine period (and at any point of quarantine if they develop COVID-19 symptoms)
  • practice physical distance from other people until the end of their quarantine period
  • comply with any industry or employer requirements for workers in a critically essential role

The Australian Government has developed Interim Guidance on Managing Workforce in Regards to COVID-19 in Aged Care that the Deputy CHO, Dr James Smith has assessed as relevant guidance for disability providers.

Please note: A staff member wearing appropriate PPE at the time of exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, is not considered a close contact.

Access the latest on critically essential worker declarations.

Disability Accommodation Services in Queensland

For information for Disability Accommodation Service providers on responding to COVID-19, please visit the Queensland Health Disability Accommodation Services webpage. For the latest information, FAQs and a summary of restrictions in place for Disability Accommodation Services please visit the Queensland Government Disability Accommodation Services Direction page.

In-Home Vaccination Access – Information for the people you support

If you have not had the COVID-19 vaccine, and need assistance to get vaccinated in your home, there are a number of ways for you to get the vaccine:

  • You can speak to your GP or other health provider and ask for assistance. They may be able to come to your home to vaccinate you or organise for someone else to do so.
  • You can call the Primary Health Network in your area and talk to them about your needs and ask for assistance.
  • Primary Health Network
  • You can also call 134 COVID (13 42 68) and ask for assistance.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please contact the National Relay Service on 1800 555 727 and ask to be directed to a health service. They can connect you to 134 COVID (13 42 68).

Disability Gateway service

The Disability Gateway provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Helpline can help families, carers and support workers, too. The Disability Gateway is free, private and fact-checked.

You can contact the Helpline in the following ways:

  • Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
  • If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677
  • If you require support in another language, you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by:
    calling the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter, or
  • calling TIS on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.

To chat online, click on the weekday live chat link, then on the button in the bottom right corner.

The Disability Gateway is available Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm (AEST). It is not available on national public holidays.

When you call the Helpline, you will speak to a person who will:

  • Listen carefully to you.
  • Use their connections to find things out, check the facts, and get information for you.
  • Transfer you to services that can help you.
  • Transfer you to a phone counsellor for emotional support, if you would like.
  • Give you clear and accessible information.

The Disability Gateway is funded by the Australian Government. Visit the website.

Disability Provider COVID-19 Vaccine Readiness Toolkit available

  • The COVID-19 vaccine disability service provider readiness toolkit is a collection of resources designed to assist disability service providers with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It includes:
  • Information on what to expect on COVID-19 vaccination day at your disability residential accommodation (information for people with disability, families and carers)
  • Checklist for planning and delivering vaccinations
  • Information on roles and responsibilities for COVID-19 vaccination at disability residential accommodation sites
  • Information on site readiness requirements for vaccination sites
  • Consent guidance material
  • Information on how vaccine providers should allocate excess doses of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Information on monitoring and reporting side effects

The tool kit is available on the Disability Provider Webpage.

National Coronavirus Helpline priority support

There is now a dedicated priority service on the National Coronavirus Helpline to support the disability care workforce. Clinical call handlers are available through this service to help with enquiries and concerns and guide callers through the Vaccine Clinic Finder to make a booking. Call 1800 020 080 and choose option 4 to use this service.

People who need support in a language other than English can contact the Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS National) on 131 450, with priority connection through to the National Coronavirus Helpline. TIS National has interpreters in 150 languages.

Use TIS interpreters to speak to clinical agents, for people who need clinical information. These calls are followed by an SMS with links to translated materials.

Notifying of an outbreak or changing services due to COVID-19

Registered NDIS providers are required to notify the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner of certain changes and events, especially those which substantially affect your ability to provide the supports and services you are registered to provide. To notify the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner of changes or events resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission webpage.

Ensuring Continuity of Care for People with Disability

Queensland Health has developed a fact Sheet for disability service providers in Queensland to provide preparation and planning guidance to continue essential services.

Workforce response service

The NDIA has contracted the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) to provide a workforce concierge service to link NDIS service providers to temporary staffing agencies (RCSA members).

The concierge service is available to NDIS service providers who have exhausted their normal workforce supply options.

To use this service, NDIS service providers can contact the RCSA Workforce Response team by email [email protected] or phone 1800 943 115. This service is available nationally until 16 January 2022.

Easy read information

The National Disability Insurance Agency has published Easy Read information relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Easy Read – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information (PDF 3MB)
Easy Read (text only) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information (DOCX 50KB)

The Council for Intellectual Disability has developed easy read health information including a guide on viruses and staying healthy, which may be helpful to share with participants. Similarly, Access Easy English offers a wide range of easy read resources.

General resources

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN), working with the University of Sydney and Queensland Government, has developed practical tools and information to help people with disability develop their own Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness plans for dealing with COVID-19. For the latest person-centred, easy-read information access the QDN website.

Down Syndrome Australia has developed a video on the COVID-19 vaccination, in partnership with the Department of Health.

Auslan videos produced by Deaf Services Queensland have been added to the Queensland Health home quarantine website, along with some other useful factsheets. Access resources here.

Amaze, in partnership with National Disability Services, has developed social scripts that outline the process of getting a COVID-19 vaccination for autistic people. Autistic people may find getting the vaccination stressful. These scripts are available on the Department of Health webpage for people with disability.

Services Australia has a range of resources for community groups to help people in your community who are affected by COVID-19. You can download a COVID-19 eKit with resources on how Services Australia is supporting people including an easy read guide, information on income support payments and a family and domestic violence checklist. There is also a range of audio content, including files in other languages, which you can access on the Services Australia playlist on the SoundCloud website.

The federal Department of Health has information and resources concerning the COVID-19 vaccine program for aged care. Find resources for residential, in-home and community aged care here.

Related Updates

Q+A: Queensland Housing Investment Growth Initiative
More grants on offer for Queensland’s social enterprise sector
Blog: Three common pitfalls when properly considering human rights