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Aged Care

To protect people who live in residential aged care facilities from novel coronavirus (COVID-19), visits to facilities have been restricted.

Under these restrictions, some people will not be allowed to enter a residential aged care facility, regardless of the purpose of visit. This direction provides information on who can or cannot be on the premises of a residential aged care facility, and any conditions that need to be followed.

Keeping connected is important, so consider keeping in touch by phone or video calls. Read further advice for people in aged care facilities and advice for the health and aged care sector.

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to s362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

PART 1 — RESTRICTING ACCESS TO AGED CARE FACILITIES

The purpose of this Part is to restrict contact between residents and non-residents of a residential aged care facility and direct measures that aged care facilities must put in place for visitors to the facility.

Directions

  1. A person must not enter, or remain on, the premises of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency unless:
    1. the person is an employee or contractor of the residential aged care facility; or
    2. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of providing goods or services that are necessary for the effective operation of the residential aged care facility, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
    3. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of providing health, medical or pharmaceutical services to a resident of the residential aged care facility, whether the goods or services are provided for consideration or on a voluntary basis; or
    4. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of a care and support visit to a resident of the residential aged care facility on a particular day, and is the only care and support visit made to the resident on that day; or
    5. the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of end of life support for a resident of the residential aged care facility; or
    6. the person's presence at the premises is required for the purposes of emergency management or law enforcement; or
    7. the person's presence at the premises is in the person's capacity as a prospective resident of the residential aged care facility.
  2. Despite paragraph 1, a person referred to in paragraph 1(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g) must not enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency if:
    1. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
    2. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19; or
    3. the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
    4. the person does not have an up to date vaccination against influenza, if such a vaccination is available to the person; or
    5. the person is aged under 16 years, other than in circumstances where the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of end of life support for a resident of the residential aged care facility.
  3. The operator of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises of the residential aged care facility if the person is prohibited from doing so under paragraph 1 or 2.
  4. Nothing in paragraph 1, 2 or 3 is to be taken to prevent a resident of a residential aged care facility from entering or remaining upon the premises of the residential aged care facility.
  5. The operator of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland must not permit a resident, excluding an end of life resident, to leave the facility except to receive or access health care or in the case of emergency.

Definitions

For the purposes of the directions in paragraphs 1,2, 3, 4 and 5:

  1. Care and support visit, in relation to a resident of a residential aged care facility, means a visit of no longer than 2 hours made to the resident by one person, or two persons together, for the purposes of providing care and support to the resident.
  2. Operator of a residential aged care facility means a person who owns, controls or operates the residential aged care facility.
  3. Residential aged care facility means a facility at which accommodation, and personal care or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth.
  4. End of life resident means a resident of the facility who is in the end stage of life or receiving palliative care.
  5. Resident of a facility means a person who ordinarily resides at the facility.

PART 2 — PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

Failure to comply with public health directions

    A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
    Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer
21 March 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website 21 March 2020, 6.32pm

Last updated: 27 March 2020