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Introduction

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities

The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) in consultation with the aged care sector has developed Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities. 

The guideline is provided to assist public health authorities, residential care services, health care workers and carers by providing best practice information for the prevention and management of COVID-19 outbreaks. The  guideline captures the knowledge of experienced professionals and provides guidance on good practice.

While all respiratory viruses can cause outbreaks and significant morbidity and mortality, COVID-19 is acknowledged as a significant health risk particularly for the elderly and individuals with co-morbidities or low immunity.

Residential care facilities must ensure that they are prepared for outbreaks of COVID-19, including for the occurrence for their first case of COVID-19. A well-functioning infection prevention control (IPC) program working in concert with a well-functioning occupational health (OH) program, is the basis for an effective response during a COVID-19 pandemic.

Education for staff, residents and their families is vital to inform their behaviour and help manage the potential occurrence for ongoing transmission in an outbreak setting. Prompt and clear information needs to be provided to residents and families regarding the outbreak including respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene and restrictions on visitation if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

The guidelines can be accessed at:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/06/coronavirus-covid-19-guidelines-for-outbreaks-in-residential-care-facilities.pdf