Superseded - Aged Care Direction (No. 6)
This direction has been superseded by the Residential Aged Care Visitor Direction (No. 2)
Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency
Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
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 17 August 2020 and may be further extended.
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.
This Public Health Direction replaces the Public Health Direction Aged Care (No. 5) made on 2 June 2020.
This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Aged Care Direction (No. 6).
The Public Health Direction for Aged Care (No. 5) made on 2 June 2020 is revoked from the time of publication of this direction.
PART 1 —DIRECTION – MANAGING ACCESS TO AGED CARE FACILITIES
The purpose of this Part is to manage 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.
Care and support visits are limited to a maximum of two visitors at a time per resident.
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 if:
during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person has been in a COVID-19 hotspot; or
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
the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
the person does not have an up to date vaccination against influenza, if the vaccination is available to the person.
Example – the vaccination is not available to a person with a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine
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 6.
Despite paragraph 6(e), a person (other than a person whose presence at the premises is for the purposes of providing health, medical, personal care, or pharmaceutical services to a resident of the residential aged care facility), may enter and remain on the premises for the period reasonably required to provide an emergency service that is necessary for the effective operation of the residential aged care facility or to protect the health and safety of staff and residents on the condition that the person must practise social distancing wherever possible, including maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres.
Example – A plumber may make emergency repairs if an employee or contractor with an up to date vaccination against influenza is unable to attend.
Note – An ambulance officer, nurse, doctor or other health care worker is not permitted to enter premises under this paragraph and must have an up to date influenza vaccination due to the health risks posed by close contact with aged care residents if the vaccination is available to the person.
Despite paragraph 7, the operator of a residential aged care facility may allow a person to enter and remain on the premises in accordance with paragraph 8.
Nothing in paragraph 6 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.
The operator of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland may permit a resident to leave the facility, including to receive end of life or palliative care, receive or access health care, attend small family gatherings, undertake exercise, or attend a funeral, subject to paragraph 12.
Note – residents who form part of a familial group (for example, couples, siblings) or close friends should be permitted to leave the facility together.
The operator of a residential aged care facility in the State of Queensland must not permit residents to leave the facility for external excursions with a group of residents.
Example – a group of residents being taken on a day trip to the beach.
For the purposes of these directions:
Care and support visit, in relation to a resident of a residential aged care facility, means a visit made to the resident for the purposes of providing care and support to the resident.
COVID-19 hotspot means a particular area of Australia decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.
Operator of a residential aged care facility means a person who owns, controls or operates the residential aged care facility.
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.
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
17 June 2020
Published on the Queensland Health website 17 June 2020 at 10:15 am