Department of Human Services

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Update on Restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

Following yesterday’s South Australian COVID-19 Transition Committee meeting, I am pleased to share that a number of restrictions will ease from Monday 14 December.

The COVID Safe Check-in system for contact tracing will be expanded to include the retail sector, restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities will be removed, and density requirements will return to 1 person per 2 square metres in many settings, including our sector.

In addition, the recommendation to work from home where possible has changed, with workers encouraged to return to the workplace from Monday.

Whilst restrictions are easing across the board, restrictions that apply to the health, disability, allied health and residential care sectors under the current Public Activity Direction will remain in place until 23 December 2020. This date will mark 28 days since the last known case of COVID-19 in the community. This means that masks will remain mandatory in these settings, except where exemptions apply.

The new Direction will come into place from 12.01 am, Monday 14 December, and will be available at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au when published.

Mask exemptions

The department has received some enquiries about how exemptions for wearing masks can be obtained, and I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some clarification.

  • There is no need to seek an official exemption from wearing a mask from SA Health. The directions place that decision-making responsibility with the ‘provider or carer’ or the ‘service organisation’ providing the service.
  • If an exemption is made at the individual client level, it is recommended that you record this decision in case notes. Service organisations may also wish to consider developing policies or risk assessment procedures to document their position on mask exemptions in line with the directions. DHS has confirmed that the NDIA will extend its current PPE arrangements to 23 December 2020.

QR codes and SIL housing

There has also been some confusion regarding the use of the COVID Safe Check-in QR codes in a supported independent living (SIL) setting.

SIL services are listed as a public activity under Schedule 2 of the directions, however we recognise that these services are delivered in many different ways across the sector. The following information provides further clarity about the use of QR codes in homes.

QR codes are required when:

  • SIL services are provided in the traditional group home setting or centre-based respite (usually 1 - 5 people); AND
  • 24-hour care or services are provided; AND
  • There is movement in and out of the home by support staff on shift.

QR codes are not required when:

  • SIL services are provided in a home setting or traditional group home; AND
  • 24-hour care or services are NOT provided; AND
  • There is average or minimal movement in and out of the home by support staff.

SIL services that do not need to implement QR codes are still required to have a COVID Safe Plan for the service, but it does not need to be prepared for each individual home.

Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding as we navigate the implications of these changing requirements for our sector.

As always, the DHS COVID-19 Response team is available to assist where needed.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Thank you for your continued work in support of South Australians at this time.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 9 December 2020

Page last updated : 09 Dec 2020

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