COVID-19 update 23 July 2021

On Friday 23 July the NSW Government made changes to the Greater Sydney stay at home orders in place until 30 July 2021. This email provides you with an update on:

1.         COVID-19 tests for workers living in Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, Cumberland and Blacktown LGAs and Greater Sydney workers

2.         COVID-19 testing

3.         DCJ service provision in Greater Sydney areas impacted by the stay at home orders

4.         COVID-19 resources in community languages

Please note: we are sharing this information with all service providers. We realise there is a lot of information in this email, and you may only want to read what is relevant to you.

1.    COVID-19 tests for Fairfield and Canterbury Bankstown and Greater Sydney workers

From Wednesday 14 July, the NSW Public Health Orders required workers living in the Fairfield LGA to get a COVID-19 test when leaving home to go to work.

From Friday 23 July, these rules have been extended to people living in the Canterbury Bankstown LGA who are working in Aged Care or Health Care.

From Saturday 24 July workers in Cumberland and Blacktown LGAs will only be allowed to leave their LGA if they are an authorised worker. No surveillance testing for Cumberland and Blacktown residents has been announced at this time.

You don’t need to get the results of your COVID-19 test before going to or staying at work.

You must have proof of your COVID-19 test such as an SMS text message on your phone or an email addressed to you.

You don’t need to have a COVID-19 test if you are working at someone’s home.

Fairfield LGA

If you live in or are staying in the Fairfield LGAs but you work outside this area, you must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) in order to be allowed to enter a workplace.

Canterbury Bankstown LGA

If you live in or are staying in the Canterbury Bankstown LGAs but you work outside this area and are an aged care or health worker, you must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) in order to be allowed to enter a workplace.

An aged care worker is a person who works in a residential aged care facility.

A health care worker is a person who:

·         provides health services within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997 (whether public or private sector)

·         is a registered health practitioner

·         works for a registered health practitioner or

·         provides ancillary services to a health practitioner, such as cleaners, cooks and security providers at hospitals.

Check the COVID-19 tests for Greater Sydney Workers page for more information.

Cumberland and Blacktown LGAs

If you live in or are staying in the Cumberland and Blacktown LGAs you will only be allowed to leave your LGA if you are an authorised worker.

DCJ has issued a letter to a number of service providers confirming that activities you are doing on our behalf are considered essential. For some service types – e.g. Specialist Homelessness Services where your staff cannot do their work other than face-to-face, you may issue a letter of authorisation for your staff to carry with them. If your staff can perform their work in any other way than face-to-face – e.g. by phone or video call, please do that.

No mandatory COVID-19 testing for these LGAs has been announced at this time.

Greater Sydney

If you live in or are staying in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour LGAs, and your workplace is 50km or more outside Greater Sydney, you must have a COVID-19 test in the 7 days before working. You can check a map of the 50km zone around Greater Sydney.

For employers

You can ask to see an employee’s proof of COVID-19 test if they live in the Fairfield LGA, if they live in the Canterbury Bankstown LGA and work in Aged Care or Health Care, or if you are located 50km or more outside Greater Sydney and they live in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong or Shellharbour LGAs.

You must not allow someone to work if they have not had a COVID-19 test in the set timeframes.

You can find more information on the NSW Government website.

2.    COVID-19 testing

NSW Health is urging anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms to come forward for testing immediately, even if you have been fully or partially vaccinated.

COVID-19 testing clinics are available across NSW and many testing clinics in Greater Sydney have increased their hours of operation with the recent outbreak. You can find up to date information on opening hours and your nearest COVID-19 testing clinic on the NSW Health website.

3.    DCJ service provision in the Greater Sydney areas impacted by stay at home orders

We’ll continue to deliver child protection face-to-face assessments where it’s safe to do so. This includes joint visits with non-government organisations. For more information see the delivering essential services web page.

If you have any questions about joint home visiting, please contact your local Manager Client Services or Director Community Services. If you are unsure who the local Manager Client Services or Director Community Services are, you can contact your contract manager.

We’ll undertake all out-of-home care home visits virtually or postpone them unless there are safety concerns.

Routine client service visits will be rescheduled or held virtually where possible. High risk visits will go ahead where essential only.

Child protection and out of home care services in regional areas not impacted by the stay at home orders will proceed as planned with the appropriate safety precautions including use of PPE.

4.    COVID-19 resources in community languages

You can hear Community Leaders in many languages urging our communities to stay at home.

Social media resources about the stay at home orders, including no visitors in the home are available in almost 60 languages.

Please share these video and social media resources widely with your communities and networks.

We’re actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and we’ll continue to provide regular updates. The NSW Government COVID-19 website is the best place to keep informed on what you need to know about the current situation.

You can also find more information on the DCJ COVID-19 latest updates and DCJ program specific advice webpages. We’re here to support you. If you need help, please contact your contract manager or email us at COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au

COVID-19 – new restrictions from 18 July 2021

Following the NSW Premier’s announcement yesterday, additional restrictions are now in place for NSW.  This email updates the advice that was provided to you on Friday and also provides advice about exemptions.

These restrictions are serious and exemptions are not given lightly. The intent of the order is to restrict travel as much as possible. Even where DCJ, and NGOs working on behalf of DCJ, have exemptions, we must limit unnecessary movements. Staff should work from home and stay in their LGA, wherever it is possible to do so. Managers should carefully consider if staff must leave the LGA.

Similar advice has been distributed to DCJ staff.

Workers in Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown

If you live in the Fairfield, Liverpool, or Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas you cannot leave the local government area that you live in for work unless you are an authorised worker.

You can go to work in the same local government area you live in if:

·         you live and work in the Fairfield, Liverpool, or Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas

·         the business is allowed to be open

·         you cannot work from home.

If you leave the Fairfield local government area for work as an authorised worker, you need to have a COVID-19 test when required by the rules for testing.

Authorised workers

The list of authorised workers describes the list of workers authorised to travel outside the Fairfield, Liverpool or Canterbury Bankstown local government areas if they are required to leave home for work.

Items described as activities mean that workers involved in services for providing that activity are allowed to leave the local government area they live in if required for work.

Activities that apply to services being delivered on behalf of DCJ are captured in:

·         Item 11 Health care and social assistance – a person employed or engaged by the Department of Communities and Justice to provide housing or homelessness services

·         Item 12 Health care and social assistance – a person employed or engaged to provide services to persons with disability or vulnerable persons

·         Item 14 Health care and social assistance – family violence and sexual assault services

This means that NGOs delivering services to vulnerable children and their families, including community housing, are included.

Evidence of being an authorised worker

DCJ is preparing a letter for service providers confirming that activities you are doing on our behalf are considered essential. This will be sent to you tomorrow and can accompany a letter of authorisation for your staff to carry with them.  

COVID testing requirements for people residing in Fairfield LGA who leave for authorised work remain in place

The current testing requirements for people who live in Fairfield LGA and travel outside of Fairfield LGA continue. A worker who lives in Fairfield is not permitted to leave the LGA for work unless they have been tested for COVID-19 in the preceding 72 hours and they must have evidence available for the employer and police that they have been tested.

New rules – mask wearing, carpooling and construction and non-urgent maintenance

Additional new rules include:

·         Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. A mask must be worn when you are working outdoors, as well as indoors

·         Construction and non-urgent maintenance to be paused.

You may travel by car with other people if it is for an emergency or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person. If you use a vehicle for work, you are allowed to share a car with a person that you do not live with (carpool) if it is required for your work. This means that NGOs delivering services to vulnerable children and their families, including community housing, are permitted to car pool if necessary.

More information

For further information about the new restrictions, please visit common questions about the updated COVID-19 rules in NSW.

Please visit COVID-19 | NSW Government for more information and continue to regularly review the full list of impacted venues which can be found here. This list is regularly updated with the latest health information and I encourage you to keep checking back to the website for further updates.

We’re actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and we’ll continue to provide regular updates. The NSW Government COVID-19 website is the best place to keep informed on what you need to know about the current situation.

We’re regularly updating information on the DCJ COVID-19 latest updates and DCJ program specific advice webpages. This includes COVID-19 CALD resources in community languages and practice guidance for virtual home visits. NCOSS have resources to provide latest information on COVID-19 relevant to health and community services sector. We’re here to support you. If you need help, please contact your contract manager or email us at COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au

COVID-19 – additional information for essential workers 16 July 2021

Following the most recent Public Health Order outlining restrictions for those who are required to travel for work, could you please ensure that the following message is provided to any of your employees currently undertaking work for or on behalf of the Department of Communities and Justice who:

–          Are residents of the of the Fairfield Local Government Area or

–          Are residents of the Greater Sydney Area (incl. Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong LGAs) and are required to travel to a work location that is 50km or more outside Greater Sydney.

This messaging is consistent with messages provided to public sector employees and some of your employees may already be in receipt of similar messages if they have a DCJ (facs/justice) email address.

Also attached is a template letter should your employee be considered an ‘essential worker’ and requires evidence to demonstrate this to relevant authorities.

COVID-19: Public Health Order update – additional restrictions

Based on the latest health advice regarding the growing number of infectious cases of COVID-19 in the community, the NSW Premier has announced that the current lockdown will be extended for at least another two weeks until 11:59pm on Friday 30 July.

This means the restrictions currently in place across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain in place until this time.

In addition to the stay-at-home rules for Greater Sydney, you may need to get a COVID-19 test if you are leaving your home to go to work.

Fairfield COVID-19 tests

If you live in or are staying in the Fairfield local government area but you work outside this area, you must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (three days) in order to be allowed to enter a workplace and must have proof of the test (text message or email) available for inspection on request.

You do not have to wait for a negative COVID test before you can leave the Fairfield LGA for work. However, if a positive test result is received, you must follow the rules for people who are confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Map of the Fairfield local government area

List of suburbs

These restrictions do not apply until the beginning of Saturday 17 July 2021 provided you take reasonable steps to be tested prior to this date.

Greater Sydney COVID-19 tests

If you live in Greater Sydney (incl. Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong LGAs) you must have a COVID-19 test in the seven days before working if your workplace is 50km or more outside Greater Sydney. This means if you live in Greater Sydney and are working for more than seven consecutive days outside of Greater Sydney, you will be required to re-test and must have proof of the test (text message or email) available for inspection on request. Employers must not permit a person who lives in Greater Sydney to attend work outside greater Sydney unless they have provided proof of a test.

These restrictions do not apply until the beginning of Monday 19 July 2021, provided you take reasonable steps to be tested prior to this date.

Map of 50km zone around Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas.

Premises owners

Premises owners who have people working on their premises must ensure that workers comply with the testing requirements and must not permit anyone who lives in the City of Fairfield LGA to work on their premises outside the LGA, unless they have provided a valid COVID test.

This applies to all people working at the premises (e.g. employees, contractors and other service providers).

Proof of Covid-19 test

You must have proof of your COVID-19 test such as an SMS text message on your phone or an email addressed to you and of your home address or temporary accommodation in Greater Sydney.

You must show the proof of your test when asked at your workplace to the manager/supervisor/occupier or to a police officer who can ask for identification and evidence of having been tested for COVID-19 from people to determine if they are complying with these requirements

Penalty for workers

If you don’t take a COVID test within 72 hours of leaving the City of Fairfield LGA for work, you will be subject to a $1,000 penalty infringement notice.

People who do not need a mandatory COVID-19 test

 You do not have to get a COVID-19 test:

·         to go outside the Fairfield LGA to go to the supermarket, seek medical attention or provide caregiving. The COVID test requirement only applies for people in the City of Fairfield LGA leaving for work purposes

·         if you are entering the Fairfield LGA for work purposes the restrictions are only people who live in the Fairfield LGA leaving for work, not vice versa.

·         If you live and work in the City of Fairfield LGA you do not need to get tested

·         if you are working at residential premises (someone’s home)

·         if you do not live in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas (excluding the Fairfield local government area).

·         if you live and also work in Greater Sydney including Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour local government areas (excluding the Fairfield local government area).

Exemptions

As always, NSW Health will consider circumstances on a case by case basis.

Getting tested

If you have visited any of these areas and have any symptoms, make sure to follow the NSW Health advice and get tested at one of the many COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. Anyone with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms is also asked to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received.

Please remember that we all have a role to play in slowing the spread of the virus and the best chance we have to keep the community safe and come out of lockdown is to follow the health advice.

If you are required in the office, speak to your manager, make sure you wear a mask, use the Service NSW app to check in and out of the office and wherever you go, and maintain good hygiene.

More information

Please visit COVID-19 | NSW Government for more information and continue to regularly review the full list of impacted venues which can be found here. This list is regularly updated with the latest health information and I encourage you to keep checking back to the website for further updates.

We’re actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and we’ll continue to provide regular updates. The NSW Government COVID-19 website is the best place to keep informed on what you need to know about the current situation.

We’re regularly updating information on the DCJ COVID-19 latest updates and DCJ program specific advice webpages. This includes COVID-19 CALD resources in community languages and practice guidance for virtual home visits. NCOSS have resources to provide latest information on COVID-19 relevant to health and community services sector. We’re here to support you. If you need help, please contact your contract manager or email us at COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au

Template for essential workers providing DCJ services:

Please click here to download.

Template for essential workers providing essential services:

Please click here to download.

COVID-19 update 6 July 2021 for Service Providers

Update: NSW Government
Stay at Home Orders from 6pm Saturday 26 June 2021 until 11:59pm 9 July 2021

1. Joint home visits with NGO and DCJ Staff

Joint home visits can still take place as part of normal service provision.  However in line with NSW Public Health Orders staff must use personal protective equipment (PPE), including wearing face masks.

It is advisable to call ahead before you provide direct support and visits (where safe and appropriate to do so) and ask families and individuals if they have been to any venues of concern across NSW and/or are isolating after getting a COVID-19 test.

For more information see the delivering essential services webpage.  If you have any questions about joint home visiting, please contact your local Manager Client Services or Director Community Services. If you are unsure who the local Manager Client Services or Director Community Services are, you can contact your contract manager.

2. NSW Health COVID-19 resources supporting vulnerable communities

NSW Health have a variety of printable posters, flyers and videos that can help create better awareness about COVID-19 for service users especially in our frontline service delivery areas in regional and remote communities. These can be displayed in your workplaces, and shared with service users.

Please take a look at the following resources to see how they can further strengthen your workplace’s response to COVID-19:

·           NSW Health’s COVID-safe tool kit (face mask and hand hygiene etiquette, encouraging testing and physical distancing, and various translated posters)

·           NSW Health’s COVID-19 Aboriginal health resources:

Video: COVID-19 test process

Video: Wearing a mask

Flyer: How do I self-isolate?

Flyer: Get tested

Flyer: Keep our mob COVID safe

Flyer: Stop the spread

Brochure: Just got tested for COVID-19?

The NSW Government COVID-19 website is the best place to keep informed on what you need to know about the current situation.

You can also find more information on the DCJ COVID-19 latest updates and DCJ program specific advice webpages. We’re here to support you. If you need help, please contact your contract manager or email us at COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au