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.

Public health and social measures restricting unvaccinated people are currently in effect (as of 17 December 2021). The latest information is available here.

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

Funded organisations: Funding assistance for extraordinary COVID-19 related expenses

Organisations may be incurring extraordinary costs that are not covered within the scope of an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA) or their usual operating expenses and which would not be expected to be incurred during the usual course of delivering their services in a non-pandemic setting. These may be accrued in response to the pandemic and to ensure appropriate compliance with preventative controls, Chief Health Officer Directions, and maintaining a safe environment for staff, visitors, and children and young people.

Examples of extraordinary COVID-related costs include, but may not be limited to, expenses such as:

  • Specialist COVID-19 cleaning
  • Specialised Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Rapid Antigen Tests
  • Specialist dedicated resources engaged to provide COVID readiness and response activities
  • Health Practitioner appointments to undertake testing
  • Design, delivery and/or sourcing of COVID-19 specific training
  • Additional staffing required to cover rosters and maintain the stability of a direct care service.

Where these costs can be directly and legitimately evidenced as a COVID-related expense and are not included within the scope of an IFA or existing funding agreement, organisations can seek funding assistance from the department. The department anticipates these costs will generally be incurred in residential care settings where face-to-face contact must be maintained.

If your organisation wishes to seek funding assistance for extraordinary COVID-19 related expenses incurred to date, and you have not done so already, please contact your nominated departmental Contract Officer to discuss and arrange the approach most suited to your organisation’s individual contract arrangements.

Child safety updates

Guidance on the changed requirements for close contacts

An employee who is a close contact may go to work during the seven day close contact period, including at youth detention centres and other vulnerable or high-risk settings, where the person meets the following conditions:

  • advises their supervisor, and the operator of any high-risk setting they enter, of their close contact status; and
  • remains without symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and is not required to quarantine; and
  • complies with the vaccination requirements that apply; and
  • wears a mask or face shield and complies with any greater PPE requirements while at work; and
  • undertakes a COVID-19 test and receives a negative test result on the day of their first shift and every second day thereafter until Day 6.

With these controls in place, this allows all employees who are close contacts without COVID-19 symptoms to continue working as usual, particularly where other options such as working from home and avoiding high-risk settings during the seven day close contact period may not be operationally available.

If you are a close contact and you have COVID-19 symptoms you must not attend work and you must get tested and follow the Guideline for Close Contacts, which includes the definition for a close contact.

Access the latest information at the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs website.

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.

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.

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.

Mandatory Vaccination was introduced for Queensland’s Disability Workforce on 15 December 2021. This covers: 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.

Mandatory Vaccination was also introduced for Workers in a healthcare setting on 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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 30 May 2022

All Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Queensland have been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the ‘moderate’ risk category – ‘high’ risk exceptions are outlined on the Queensland Health website.

All health and care settings across Queensland are to de-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.

These locations remain at ‘high’ risk:

  • Emergency Departments
  • Inpatient units where known COVID-19 patients are accommodated.

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.

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.

COVID-19 kit for support coordinators

The Growing Space and other support coordination providers have developed an online COVID-19 kit for Support Coordinators.

The free downloadable resource contains a range of useful checklists, contacts and templates for support coordinators to help NDIS participants, their families and carers manage risks associated with COVID-19.

You can download this kit on the Growing Space website.

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.

Critically essential workers

From 28 April 2022, quarantine requirements for close contacts eased. All asymptomatic close contacts are permitted to attend work.

Workers previously able to leave quarantine to work under the critically essential worker exemption are able to work without the need to use private transport by following the steps for close contacts. Requirements of employers of critical industries are removed, including the need to provide a critical worker list to Queensland Health.

If you are an asymptomatic close contact who works in a vulnerable facility (hospital, aged care or disability accommodation) and who cannot work from home, you can attend work provided you:

  • let your employer know that you are a close contact before you return to work
  • wear a mask
  • comply with any additional requirements set by your workplace. This may include additional personal protective equipment (PPE).

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