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COVID-19 newsflash #43: Restrictions extended and amended

COVID-19 newsflash #43: Restrictions extended and amended

Acting Premier James Merlino has announced a seven-day extension to the circuit-breaker lockdown with some amendments. This will provide a 14-day cycle to understand how and where the COVID-19 virus is moving. Read the Acting Premier’s statement.

Restriction changes for Metropolitan Melbourne

Restrictions will be extended for another seven days from 11.59pm, Thursday 3 June.

The five reasons to leave home continue:

  • shopping for necessary goods and services (one person per household, once per day, a support person can accompany if required)
  • caregiving or compassionate reasons
  • authorised work or permitted education, or work interstate (nurses, midwives and personal care workers are authorised workers)
  • exercise (up to two hours, with one other person or members of your household)
  • receive a COVID-19 vaccination

The travel limit will be extended to 10km from place of primary residence, except:

  • to access necessary goods and services where those goods and services cannot be accessed closer than 10km from home.
  • to visit an intimate partner
  • to visit a person in your “single bubble”
  • allowed to travel for authorised work and permitted education
  • work at an interstate location (where permitted by another state)
  • care and compassionate reasons (specific exemptions apply)

Retail: essential retail can open, all other retail remains closed. All retail required to use the Service Vic QR code app required to record attendance

Education: Year 11 and Year 12 students, students of Unit 3/4 VCE subjects or final year VCAL and IB students can return to the classroom.

Authorised work: The list of authorised work has been extended.

All other restrictions remain in place.

For the complete list see the Victorian Government’s table of restrictions https://bit.ly/34G5J5L

Proposed restriction changes for regional Victoria (subject to health advice)

Restrictions have been extended in regional Victoria, and the Victorian Government is proposing some easing of restrictions (subject to health advice) from 11.59pm, Thursday 3 June. The proposed changes include:

  • regional Victorians will be able to leave home for any reason
  • face masks remain in place
  • public gatherings permitted for up to 10 people
  • if you can work from home, continue to work from home. Capacity limits for workplace
  • schools return to face-to-face learning for all year levels
  • higher-education and training continue to study from home if you can
  • funerals – no more than 50 people
  • weddings – no more than 10 people
  • outdoor physical recreation and sport – a maximum patron cap of 50 people per venue. Group sizes and density limits apply
  • general retail: open, with some density limits. All retail required to use the Service Vic QR code app required to record attendance
  • hairdressing, beauty, personal care: open for services where you can keep a mask on
  • hospitality – food and drink facilities, food courts can open for seated service only with a 50-person cap

For the complete list see the Victorian Government’s table of restrictions https://bit.ly/34G5J5L

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Private aged care worker vaccination blitz – 2 June to 6 June

Workers in private aged care facilities, including nurses and personal care workers, and the residential disability sector have priority access at walk-in vaccination hubs around Victoria from Wednesday 2 June to Sunday 6 June (inclusive).

Private aged care members can walk in to one of the following state vaccination centres, between 9am and 4pm, and present evidence of their employment:

  • Royal Exhibition Building
  • Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC)
  • Sandown Racecourse
  • Melbourne Showgrounds
  • Former Ford Factory – Geelong
  • Bendigo Community Clinic
  • Ballarat Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre
  • Shepparton Showgrounds – McIntosh Centre
  • Traralgon Racecourse
  • Wodonga Vaccination Hub

Bring your Medicare care, photo ID and proof of occupation (such as your work ID card, letter from your employer or a completed Eligibility Declaration Form https://bit.ly/2SOShKe ) to any of the vaccination centres providing priority access.

Private aged care staff are still eligible to attend all other vaccination centres or their GP but if it is not one of the 10 centres named above, they will need to go through the general booking process.

Information about the vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine webinar: Senior Medical Advisor, Executive Director, COVID-19 Immunisation Program, Department of Health, Professor Ben Cowie, Chair, Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation, Associate Professor Margie Danchin and Nurse Unit Manager, Infectious diseases nurse, COVID-19 ward, Royal Melbourne Hospital Grace Carroll are presenting a free webinar for healthcare workers on COVID-19 vaccines next Thursday 10 June from 11am–midday.. Register here.

If you want to read more information about the vaccines, the following links are recommended:

  1. Why we decided to put Pfizer vaccine ahead of AstraZeneca for under-50s’, by Professor Allen Cheng (The Age, 9 April 2021)
  2. Federal Government information about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
  3. Federal Government information about the Pfizer vaccine
  4. What happens after I am vaccinated?
  5. Australian Academy of Science – COVID-19 facts hub
  6. Therapeutic Goods Administration
  7. World Health Organisation – vaccines explained
  8. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
  9. Australian Government translated information about COVID-19 vaccines

Aged care Infection Prevention Control webinar

The Federal Department of Health is hosting a free aged care webinar on the importance of maintaining infection prevention and control practices to protect aged care residents and staff and encouraging aged care workers to get vaccinated.

Presenters will include: Professor Alison McMillian, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Nigel McGothigan, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) lead in Canberra and Dr Melanie Wroth, Chief Clinical Advisor, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The webinar will be available on the department’s website from Friday 4 June.

Date: Thursday, 3 June 2021, 9am to 9:45am
Register here

Federal Aged Care Services Minister ‘comfortable’ with vaccine rollout

Federal Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck has confirmed the Morrison Government does not have oversight over the numbers of private aged care workers who have been vaccinated.

Senator Colbeck also says he is ‘comfortable’ with the rate of staff vaccination which appears to be under 10 per cent of the workforce – though this is based on the government’s 2016 data.

The Morrison Government does not know how many aged care staff have had one or two vaccination doses or none. Providers will be asked to provide that information through a new portal after completing a survey.

Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt and Senator Colbeck promised in a media release on 16 February 2021 that private aged care staff would be vaccinated in their facilities via an in-reach program. This has not happened unless there have been left over resident vaccines.

Private aged care needs an aged care minister who understands the urgent need for reform. We need a minister who is motivated and has the back of residents, nurses and personal care workers. We need a minister who will not rest until the sector is protected from COVID-19.

ANMF have been calling for the Morrison Government to hand over the vaccinations and responsibility for vaccinating to the state government but like our members, we have been ignored.

ANMF is now calling for Senator Colbeck’s resignation.

ANMF media releases

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Please get tested even with the slightest of symptoms. To find where to get tested, check the Department of Health Coronavirus website for a map of testing sites.

PPE – all Victorian health and aged care services remain on COVID ACTIVE (RED)

Continue to follow the COVID ACTIVE advice the sent in COVID-19 newsflash #42, sent to members 27 May 2021.

Personal protective equipment concern?

Members with concerns about PPE access, supply or level should:

  1. raise and submit OHS incident reports with your employer as well as speaking directly with your manager
  2. involve your Health and Safety Rep if you have one
  3. contact ANMF  (include your report and response if applicable) for further support and advice if after you have raised your concerns they are not addressed by your employer.

How to access ANMF support

ANMF is here to support our members in aged care during this challenging period. Representation and advice are available.

For general inquiries members are encouraged to complete an online Member Assistance inquiry form.

If you feel that you are being disadvantaged by single-site employment direction, please contact ANMF via this form.

$450 test and isolation payment

The Victorian Government provides a $450 test and isolation payment to workers required to isolate after taking a COVID-19 test who don’t have access to paid leave. This is for private aged care workers too.

More information, eligibility, and applications

$1500 disaster leave payment

The Federal Government provides a $1500 disaster leave payment if you tested positive or were identified as a close contact and have to isolate for 14 days. Private aged care workers are eligible for the payment if you do not have access to paid leave during your isolation period.

Call 180 22 66 to make a claim.

More information, eligibility, and applications

Emergency accommodation for healthcare workers

The Victorian Government provides the ‘frontline accommodation program’ for health care workers if they need support to quarantine or isolate safely.

Private aged care nurses and personal care workers are eligible to access this program.

For details

Vaccination adverse event response and special paid leave

Public sector nurses and midwives who experience an expected adverse event following the COVID-19 vaccination that impacts your ability to work are eligible for up to two days special paid leave following each dose.

ANMF is encouraging all other employers to follow the Victorian Health Department’s advice for special leave for these circumstances. ANMF is lobbying the Commonwealth Government to provide this leave to private aged care staff.

For more information see COVID-19 newsflash #40 via https://bit.ly/3wDtjwb

COVID-19 stressed? Take the self-care quiz

This is an uncertain time, and the re-introduction of restrictions will be of concern to many members. All nurses, midwives, personal care workers and nursing and midwifery students are encouraged to reflect on their current circumstances and wellbeing and fill out the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria’s self-care plan questionnaire. You will be emailed a self-care plan.

To contact NMHPV call 9415 7551 or email admin@nmhp.org.au Find out more www.nmhp.org.au

Don’t bring it home: guide to minimise the risk of infection

The ANMF (Vic Branch) ‘Don’t bring it home’ guide is designed to assist members returning home from work after a shift.

Job Reps and HSRs are encouraged to print the poster which is part of this PDF newsflash. You can also download the ‘Protocols for entering your home and minimising the risk of infection’ A4 poster [PDF].

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