COVID-19

COVID-19 information for service providers

8 September 2021

Plain English COVID-19 vaccination resources for culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Queensland Health have produced a Plain English COVID-19 Vaccination Information Deck aiming to answer many of the questions and concerns posed by members of our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The slides examine vaccine safety concerns, a definition of who the official health authorities are, how the vaccines work, who can and cannot receive the vaccine, how to book, and many more. Many helpful videos and links are included.

Access the latest version of the Information Deck here.

Health authorities have provided the following advice for using the deck:

  1. Make sure you have the most up to date version of the Plain English COVID-19 Vaccination Information Deck – it changes frequently! (Access it here. Other resources are available here.)
  2. Depending on your community needs and time available, pick and choose slides that are relevant and tailor the message to fit what is needed.
  3. Contact the CALD COVID Health Engagement Project workers for advice and support in delivering this information here.
  4. It is often helpful to have a clinician who is comfortable working cross culturally and has some knowledge of COVID-19 and the vaccines to answer questions people may have. If you need support to find a clinician, please contact the CALD COVID Health Engagement team and they will try to assist.
  5. Plan and deliver the information in a way that suits communities (E.g.: online session, face to face workshop, video in language). The presentation is best delivered in language with clinician support but if this is not available, in English with an interpreter.

Visits to vulnerable facilities

Visitor restrictions for vulnerable facilities (disability accommodation services, residential aged care and hospitals) in the Logan LGA will be lifted from Wednesday 8 September. The 11 South East Queensland LGAs remain in the “moderate” risk category for PPE.

Visit Queensland Health for the latest.

20 August 2021 – Information about PPE Equipment for Health Services

Queensland Health has issued updated guidance about PPE use in the following facilities:

2 August 2021 – Lockdown support for Queensland businesses

Not-for-profits in Queensland are eligible for financial support through the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants announced by the Queensland Government. $5,000 grants will be made available to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the COVID-19 lockdown that commenced on Saturday 31 July 2021 and lockdowns in other states.

These $5,000 grants will provide cash flow support for businesses to help them adapt to evolving circumstances. Your business doesn’t have to be located in South East Queensland, but you must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of lockdown conditions, and have a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum.

Find out more.

2 August 2021 – Disability and Aged Care facilities

Responding to the South-East Queensland lockdown which began on 31 July, the following Local Government Areas are Queensland COVID-19 restricted areas for the following Directions:

Visitors are restricted to residential aged care facilities and disability accomodation services within the restricted Local Government Areas of:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Gold Coast City
  • Noosa Shire
  • Somerset Region
  • Lockyer Valley Region
  • Scenic Rim Region

Despite these restrictions, persons may enter a restricted facility if they are:

  • an employee, contractor or vaccinated student of the facility
  • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
  • providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical services to a resident
  • administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a resident
  • visiting an end of life resident
  • required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with an order of any court or tribunal of Australia
  • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
  • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator.

Any person (other than a resident) permitted to enter a restricted facility must not enter, or remain on, the premises without wearing a single use surgical face mask. A person does not have to wear a mask if it will create a risk to their health or safety.

These restrictions include:

Visitors

  • No personal visitors – including care and support visitors – are allowed to enter
  • Only people providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter
  • End of life visits will still be allowed
  • Anyone entering a facility must wear a single use surgical face mask

Residents

  • May only leave the facility to receive health care, attend a funeral or for an emergency or compassionate reason.

Facilities located in all other non-restricted areas

For residential aged care facilities and disability accomodation services located in all other non-restricted Local Government Areas, the following measures apply:

Visitors, staff or volunteers at a residential aged care facility should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • has had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless you fit into one of the categories of people who are allowed to enter a facility with a negative COVID-19 test
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and is waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue

You may enter a residential aged care facility if you do not fit into any of the above categories.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the facility
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the resident’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the facility to help keep staff and residents safe.

For full details read the Residential Aged Care Direction (No.3) and the Disability Accomodation Services Direction (No. 21).

7 July 2021 – Disability Provider Alert

Assistance for providers helping NDIS participants in support independent living access the COVID-19 vaccination

Assistance for providers helping NDIS participants in supported independent living access the COVID-19 vaccination. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has added a new temporary support. This is to help NDIS participants in supported independent living (SIL) to access the COVID-19 vaccination.

From 26 May 2021, the NDIA started offering SIL providers that support NDIS participants to attend an offsite location to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. This is as a one-off payment, and can help participants to have their COVID-19 vaccination at their GP or another offsite location like a vaccination hub.

Participants in SIL can discuss with their providers how to best access the COVID-19 vaccination.

The $150 is an all-inclusive price that allows providers to organise the best approach to vaccinate participants offsite. This may include organising the following:

  • administration to arrange vaccination appointments including seeking participant consent
  • transport both ways in a COVID-safe manner
  • appropriate staff to accompany participants to and from the appointments, including remaining with them during the waiting time after the vaccination.

SIL providers that have taken a participant to their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment before 26 May 2021 can access this support. However, the provider must facilitate subsequent COVID-19 vaccination appointments. This is to ensure the NDIS SIL participant receives the full two-dose course of the vaccine during the time that support is available. SIL providers can claim this one-off support once the NDIS participant in SIL receives all required doses to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

SIL providers can claim funds by directly invoicing the NDIA. The $150 is not claimed from the participant’s NDIS funds.

When claiming the $150, SIL providers must invoice the NDIA within 28 days of the COVID-19 vaccination. The NDIA may ask providers to supply evidence that the vaccination took place. Please keep records of vaccination dates, location etc. The need for this support to continue will be reviewed by 30 November 2021. The NDIA website has more information about how SIL providers can claim for this support

Mandatory vaccinations for aged care workers

The Department of Health acknowledges that some disability workers also work in residential aged care. The most recent announcement from National Cabinet on 28 June 2021 may have implications for some people who work across both sectors.

On 28 June 2021, National Cabinet agreed that the COVID-19 vaccination of residential aged care workers will become mandatory by mid-September 2021, and all residential aged care workers must have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this time.

The National Cabinet agreed that COVID-19 vaccinations are to be mandated for residential aged care workers as a condition of working in an aged care facility through shared state, territory and Commonwealth authorities and compliance measures.

If you work in residential aged care you will need to comply with their respective state or territory public health orders.

All disability workers are strongly encouraged to have a COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself, other colleagues and the people with disability you support.

Find out more or read the alert.

Auslan videos on COVID-19 vaccines

New Auslan videos are available on the Department of Health website. The videos include information on where to get vaccinated, information on thrombosis and (TTS), providing consent, the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine.

16 June 2021 – Disability Provider Alert

The Commonwealth Department of Health has issued the next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 10 June 2021. This includes details of the recent announcement that all NDIS participants 16 years and older, and their carers, are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Queenslanders can register their interest to make a booking online. To receive priority access:

  • NDIS participants and other people with disability should select “Persons 16 and over with an underlying medical condition, including people with a disability”
  • Carers, disability sector workers and volunteers should select “Other healthcare workers, including carers and support volunteers”

Step-by-step instructions to register for priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine are now available on Queensland Health’s website for:

  • People with disability
  • Disability workforce
  • Carers

Information about the priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Commonwealth Department of Health website. This page will be updated regularly.

15 April 2021 – Easing of COVID-19 restrictions

Disability Accommodation Services

Under Queensland COVID-19 Restricted Areas (No. 14), there are no longer any Local Government Areas declared as restricted areas. As such, Part 3 of the Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No.16) is no longer in effect for any shared disability accommodation services in Queensland.

Part 3 restricts visitors from entering these services and requires the wearing of face masks for those permitted access to these services (excluding residents).

Similar requirements have been lifted under the Aged Care Direction (No. 26) and Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 18).

Furthermore, in regards to PPE guidance, all geographic areas are now low risk for PPE usage.

Revocation of Restrictions for Queensland

A summary of the changes in restrictions can be found here. Further information on Public Health Directions is available here. Easy read versions will be made available here once finalised.

31 March 2021 – Who needs to wear a mask?

Greater Brisbane is in lockdown for three days from Monday 29 March until 5:00pm Thursday 1 April. According to Queensland Health advice, you must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to. The following advice for business has been provided by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.

For those in the Greater Brisbane Area:

  • If you or your staff are working in customer facing roles you must wear face masks (unless you have a lawful reason not to i.e. medical condition).
  • Queensland Health advises that businesses should not refuse service to people who are not lawfully required to wear a mask.
  • More information here

For those outside the Greater Brisbane Area:

  • If you or your staff are working in customer facing roles you must wear face masks (unless you have a lawful reason not to i.e. medical condition).
  • More information here
  • Queensland Health advises that businesses should not refuse service to people who are not lawfully required to wear a mask.
  • More information here
  • Your patrons are not required to wear face masks whilst they are seated to dine-in.

Patrons must wear a mask when ordering at a bar or counter (which is permitted).

22 March 2021 – Priority groups for COVID-19 Phase 1b confirmed

Important points

  • COVID-19 vaccination is free for everyone and voluntary.
  • The Department of Health will contact people eligible for phase 1a for their vaccine appointment.
  • This provider alert outlines who is in Phase 1b and how to make a booking.
  • We encourage people to be patient if they are not able to get a vaccination appointment right away to check again as more GP clinics come online over the coming weeks.

Phase 1b commences on 22 March 2021

The following people are eligible to receive a vaccine in this Phase:

  • Healthcare workers currently employed and not included in Phase 1a
  • Critical and high risk workers currently employed
  • People 70 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 55 years and over
  • People 18 years and over with an underlying medical condition, including disability

Eligible people with disability

People with disability 18 years and over with an underlying medical condition are eligible for Phase 1b. The Department of Health have developed a presentation about priority groups for COVID-19 Vaccination Program: Phase 1b, which includes a list of underlying medical conditions.

This includes people with disability who require frequent assistance with activities of daily living as well as people living with Down Syndrome, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, or severe intellectual disability.

12 March 2021 – Disability provider update

Verifying data about residential disability accommodation sites

On behalf of the Department of Health, Healthdirect will be contacting disability providers in the coming weeks to verify data about your residential disability accommodation sites. This data verification process remains critical to ensure people with disability can be offered the vaccines at the earliest opportunity and to avoid any impact on the timing for vaccinations to be administered at your sites.

Disability Provider COVID-19 Vaccine Readiness Toolkit now 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.

Disability Provider webpage

A Disability Provider webpage on the Department of Health website is now available and contains information and resources to help disability service providers plan for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. The page will update frequently as new information becomes available.


COVID-19 Vaccination – Eligibility under Phase 1b

On behalf of the Department of Health, Healthdirect will be contacting disability providers in the coming weeks to verify data about your residential disability accommodation sites.

This data verification process remains critical to ensure people with disability can be offered the vaccines at the earliest opportunity and to avoid any impact on the timing for vaccinations to be administered at your sites.

The Commonwealth Government has released additional information about people with disability, and people working in the disability sector, eligible for vaccination under Phase 1b.

Included in Phase 1b are:

  • Essential carers (paid and unpaid) including carers who are also family members of someone with disability or an elderly person
  • Disability support volunteers who provide support to people in their homes, respite care, educational employment and leisure settings
  • People with a disability attending centre-based services (eg, day programs, support employment).

For more visit the Health website.

COVID-19 Vaccination Disability Service Providers Toolkit

The Federal Government has released the COVID-19 Vaccination Disability Service Providers Toolkit. This collection of resources is designed to assist residential disability service providers to prepare for Phase 1a vaccinations.

The toolkit resources includes:

  • Clinical Governance at Disability Residential Accommodation
  • Disability Residential Accommodation Checklist
  • Information for Disability Service Providers on Consent
  • Monitoring and Reporting Side Effects for Disability Service Providers
  • Excess Dose Policy
  • What to Expect on Vaccination Day at Your Disability Residential Accommodation

Access the toolkit.


The Queensland Chief Health Officer and the Director General – Health are working with lead agencies for response and recovery, including Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, which chairs the Human and Social Recovery Committee.

To support funded service providers and foster and kinship carers the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to COVID-19. Updated Information for service providers includes answers to questions such as what does the relaxation of restrictions mean for face-to-face delivery of services and how will eased restrictions affect your organisation’s business.

If your organisation has any further questions or issues due to the impacts of COVID-19 contact your contract manager promptly.

People sitting in a meeting room. A woman is standing, pointing at notes stuck to the wall.

Easing restrictions – implications for community services

The Queensland Government has released its Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions: A step-down approach to COVID-19. As restrictions ease, it remains critical that we continue to follow the advice of health professionals in maintaining social distancing and practising good hygiene.

The latest public health directions can be found on the Queensland Health website.

The Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website includes information to assist in developing a workplace health and safety plan to demonstrate how your organisation is COVID Safe.

Our Community and the Institute of Community Directors have created a guide to creating a COVID-19-safe workplace.

Guidance on using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Queensland Health has provided guidance on personal protective equipment in residential aged care and disability care accommodation services. From 25 September 2020 the entire state is on ‘low risk’ for PPE decision-making. PPE utilisation should not change until further notice. This is important to preserve stock of critical supplies.

Queensland Health’s PPE information guide for clinicians provides further information on the use of PPE in Queensland with regards to COVID-19 and is based on national and international guidelines.

The Australian Government Department of Health’s new video, Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wearing personal protective equipment for disability workers, explains how and when disability support workers should use PPE.

Services Australia resources for community groups

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.

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission extends COVID-19 compliance arrangements

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has extended COVID-19 compliance arrangements to 31 December 2020. Under these arrangements, the ACNC will not investigate certain breaches of the Governance Standards and the External Conduct Standards that occur from 25 March until 31 December 2020. Significant breaches may still be investigated.

For more detail, visit the ACNC’s webpage on compliance during COVID-19.

Under the original arrangements, before 18 September 2020, the ACNC would not take action on breaches of Governance Standard 5 (which includes the duty to ensure that the financial affairs of the charity are managed responsibly) on the condition that charity informed its members and the ACNC if it was trading while insolvent.

This requirement has now been removed and replaced with a statement that reminds charities they need to follow relevant legislation. Justice Connect has a summary of these requirements on its COVID-19-governance webpage.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support

NDIS and disability services

Support for culturally and linguistically diverse community members

Lessons from Victoria

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