The COVID-19 situation can change rapidly. WA remains in a State of Emergency, with important public health and social measures in place.
It is important to keep up to date with the most recent information from credible sources and ensure necessary preparedness and planning is in place. Every service is responsible for their compliance with Public Health Directions, planning and preparedness for changing COVID situations in WA, and for an outbreak in their services.
Listed below is a range of available resources and links to key information sources; however, it is not an exhaustive list. The Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing cannot provide specific advice regarding COVID-19. The information provided below is intended as guidance only. All efforts were made to ensure the information is true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information.
As the peak body representing women’s specialist domestic and family violence, community-based women’s health and sexual assault services in WA, we are also available to help with specific COVID-19 related queries. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The principles of preparedness are similar for all services, however the application of the principles will be tailored to individual services. Preparedness and planning includes:
Planning should be supported by organisation protocols, policies, and procedures. Considerations for preparedness and planning should include different scenarios (i.e. staff positive case, client positive case, school closures) and include areas like:
As WA transitions to living with COVID, and caseloads are higher within the community, businesses, facilities and service providers will be required to play a more involved role in managing communications within their workplaces.
The WA COVID-19 TTIQ Plan provides guidance and resources for businesses, facilities, and service providers to assist with this transition.
The key documents for community care providers can be found under the Aged care and community care providers tab here, including advice for use of PPE for workers in community settings and managing the risk of COVID-19 using the Hierarchy of Controls.
There are also key documents under the Business, industry and local government tab here (including infection prevention and control, PPE, ventilation, TTIQ Plan and local government resources) and the COVID-19 in the workplace – Information for employers and employees page here (including COVID-19 TTIQ Workplace Checklist Congregate Living Facilities, COVID-19 Response Checklist for specific settings, preparation and COVID-19 prevention, positive COVID-19 case in the workplace and talking to employees about COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine is an important measure to keep the community safe and healthy. The vaccine is free for everyone in Australia – whether a citizen, permanent resident, an overseas visitor, migrant worker, or asylum seeker.
There are a range of Public Health Directions that prevent workers from entering or remaining at specific facilities and locations if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The mandatory vaccination requirements, including booster vaccination, cover approximately 75% of the workforce in WA, including community services.
The current relevant Public Health Directions can be found here
Services and staff have a responsibility to ensure any information provided about vaccination is clear, factual and from reliable sources. There are many resources available for people who have questions about the vaccine, however it is important to be cautious of misinformation from sources that are not reliable. If staff or clients are concerned about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, or don’t know how to choose the right vaccine for their situation, the best person for them to speak to is their doctor.
It is important to ensure any communication about vaccination is not false or misleading and communication is within appropriate boundaries. In the event of false or misleading communications, organisational policies and procedures should be followed.
Most people with COVID-19 can care for themselves with some support from their GP. Information about managing COVID-19 at home and in the community is available here.
A Community Service Support Referral Pathway for COVID Positive People from the Department of Communities and Department of Health is available here.
For people who require additional support and monitoring WA COVID Care at Home delivers home monitoring and care for people who have risk factors that put them at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation. This is a free service that people need to register for. People are enrolled based on risk factors like age, vaccination status, severity of symptoms medical history and social factors. The program will consider alternative accommodation in some circumstances, including if there is the potential for domestic and family violence.
Read more about COVID Care at Home here
Watch the Health Consumers’ Council WA COVID at Home Community Conversations video with Dr Robyn Lawrence here.
The WA Child and Adolescent Health Service has a useful video with Dr Andrew Martin, Perth Children’s Hospital describing how COVID-19 can affect children and how to care for them at home. Watch the video here
Based on the Chief Health Officer’s advice to the WA Government, from 5 February 2022 a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is required for workers captured under the mandatory vaccination Directions. Currently, anyone aged 16 years and older who had their second COVID-19 vaccination 3 or more months ago is eligible for a booster dose.
Workers captured under the mandatory vaccination Directions, who were eligible to receive a booster dose at or before 4 January 2022, must receive their booster dose by 5 February 2022.
After 4 January 2022, as workers who are captured under the mandatory vaccination Directions become eligible to receive a booster dose, they must do so within one calendar month of becoming eligible. The table below sets out the dates by which the booster is required to have been administered for affected workers.
|Date of second vaccination||Eligible for booster||Due date for booster|
|On or before 4 September 2021||5 months after second dose (on or before 4 January 2022)||4 February 2022|
|5 to 30 September 2021||4 months after second dose (5 to 31 January 2022)||5 to 28 February 2022|
|1 to 31 October 2021||31 January 2022||28 February 2022|
|1 November 2021 onwards||3 months after second dose (1 February 2022 onwards)||1 March 2022 onwards|
The WA COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment is a single $320 payment for workers living in WA who have been directed to quarantine while awaiting a COVID-19 test result, are unable to work from home and do not have access to paid leave or other income. More information is available here
Workers may be eligible for the Australian Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 or are caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, cannot work and have no leave entitlements. More information is available here.
Yes. Community services are essential services and cannot deny services to any client or make those services contingent on vaccine status of clients.
It is important to remember the primary purpose of vaccination is to provide protection to the person who has received the vaccination. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people can be infectious with COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status of clients, all services should implement COVID-19 management strategies at all times (universal precautions) e.g., infection prevention and control measures, density limits, physical distancing, PPE use, accurate record keeping, improved ventilation and use of outdoor spaces.
Service providers should consider the service and whether the health and welfare of their staff can be protected in line with occupational health and safety requirements. How a service is delivered, and the risk management strategies employed may change dependent on the vaccination status of clients depending on the service delivered. It is important that service providers consider how services can be delivered to clients in a way that ensures the safety of both clients and staff.
It is key that service providers work to establish different models of service delivery that focus on risk minimisation for both clients and staff. This could be a mix of:
Staff should consider the necessity of transporting clients and minimise where possible. When transportation of clients is required, services should continue to use their usual processes e.g., staff transporting clients or rideshares/taxis. The following should be implemented if staff are required to transport clients (including for testing):
Where a client is required to isolate or quarantine there are limited reasons they can leave isolation – see here for more information. If clients in isolation or quarantine are required to travel, they must:
In very limited, case-by-case circumstances transportation may be provided by WA Government agencies where a COVID-19 positive person requires transportation to alternative accommodation as decided by the WA Health State Health Incident Coordination Centre (SHICC).
Many clients may be unvaccinated for a variety of reasons, including a health condition or hesitancy. It is important that staff do not assume clients are anti vaccination and are conscious of their own biases.
Staff can support women and their children by:
WACOSS have vaccine toolkit resources available on their website, including a training webinar on how to start a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines for frontline community care service workers. The resources can be found here.
Staff can support them to obtain it through the following options:
More information can be found here.
To support the WA Health response to COVID-19, the Minister for Health has confirmed that those people who are not eligible for Medicare AND who present to WA Health facilities for assessment in relation to COVID-19 infection, will not be charged out of pocket expenses. This means testing at public COVID-19 clinics (metropolitan and regional) is free and no Medicare card is required.
COVID testing clinics can be found here
Similarly, COVID-19 vaccination is free for everyone in Australia, even if you don’t have a Medicare card. There are many places to access free COVID-19 vaccination. If a client is not eligible for Medicare, GPs can still provide vaccination but cannot bill for the service. A GP may ask a client who does not have Medicare cover to access vaccination at a Commonwealth or State vaccination clinic, or a pharmacy. More information can be found here.
Ventilation and air cleaning can help reduce exposure to COVID-19. Ventilation alone will not protect people from the virus and other public health measures, including vaccination, social distancing, face masks where recommended, good respiratory and hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and objects, must still be implemented.
WA Health have resources with information about air purifiers/cleaners, building ventilation and ventilation at home available here.
WACOSS, Youth Affairs Council of WA and Western Australian Mental Health Commission have worked with the Department of Finance and Department of Communities to develop a process map to assist service providers who are having difficulty supporting their clients and aspects of their contracts due to COVID-19 related skill shortages (vaccine mandate or outbreaks). View the process map here.
No. In line with the national approach, reference to casual contacts has ceased in WA. High risk exposure locations related to close contact, where all contacts cannot be identified, will continue to be listed online. Low risk exposure sites may also be listed in circumstances determined by Public Health.
All close contacts at service sites should be able to be identified based on service record keeping. The Public Health team would also consider the confidential nature of services and the potential negative impact of listing sites publicly.
It is at the discretion of an individual business where the information is stored.
Where evidence of vaccination status is provided, the Directions require all reasonable steps are taken to protect the records from misuse and loss and unauthorised access, alterations or further release.
Evidence of an employee’s vaccination status must be stored for as long as the Directions are in place or the until the Public Health State of Emergency ends.
To support Community Service Organisations (CSOs) the Department of Communities has launched an online ordering system for Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing (PPE/C) and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). More information about eligibility and the online request form can be found here.
Other Government Agencies (including WA Police, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Corrective Services, Department of Communities, Government Trading Enterprises) and third party organisations are required to provide PPE request information first to the Department of Finance via PDWSalesReports@finance.wa.gov.au and establish stocktake and ordering process.
PPE request information includes:
The Department of Finance will then vet these based on an agreed set of guidelines (including PPE use guidelines) and send the request to the Department of Health for review, if the Department of Finance is unable to source directly itself. The Department of Health will then review and approve based on availability and risk as appropriate.
More information on this process can be found here.
Service providers can also purchase PPE through whole of government Common Use Arrangements (CUAs) and therefore be eligible for government pricing. Purchases should be arranged directly with CUA contractors. To be able to access CUAs, service providers must:
For more information, please contact the CUA contract manager or email Community Services Procurement Policy.
Community service organisations are able to apply to the COVID-19 Cleaning Reimbursement Scheme for funds to reimburse costs related to cleaning required in response to a positive COVID-19 case.
The scheme is facilitated by WACOSS and is available for any not-for-profit community service that holds a WA Government contract providing services to vulnerable community members.
More information is available here.
It is the service providers responsibility to manage industrial and employee relation issues. Communicating with staff about their concerns and risk management strategies that are employed may be useful. It is important to remember the primary purpose of vaccination is to provide protection to the person who has received the vaccination. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people can be infectious with COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status of clients, all services should implement COVID-19 management strategies at all times (universal precautions) e.g., infection prevention and control measures, density limits, physical distancing, PPE use, accurate record keeping, improved ventilation and use of outdoor spaces.
If required, legal advice should be sought in relation to the employee relations arrangements for staff working with unvaccinated clients.