NSW COVID-19 Update: Updated testing, quarantine and isolation advice; booster shots to be included in mandatory vaccination directions
What you need to know
- Most people returning a positive RAT will not require their result be confirmed by a PCR test. However, there are some exceptions
- Where there is not a current confirmed outbreak, workers, residents or clients in high-risk settings should have a positive RAT result confirmed by a PCR test
- NSW Health has developed a risk matrix with information on when staff are permitted to work
- Booster shots will be included in mandatory vaccination directions
NSW Health has released updated information relating to testing and self-isolation protocols.
Getting tested for COVID-19 - NSW Health
Who should do a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)
- People with symptoms
- Household, social, workplace or education contact of a positive case
- Pre-event testing, before visiting vulnerable family members
- A worker, resident, patient or client in a high-risk setting where there is a current confirmed outbreak
- Before going into hospital for a procedure upon request
- International arrivals (passengers and flight crew entering NSW from overseas)
When is a PCR test required?
While most people in NSW will not require a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT, there are some exceptions. These include people who are:
- pregnant (>20 weeks gestation)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- unvaccinated (16 years and over)
- a worker, resident, patient or client in a high-risk setting where there is not a current confirmed outbreak. High risk settings include healthcare, aged care, disability care, and correctional facilities
- asked to by a registered medical practitioner
A new system that will allow people to report a positive RAT result with Service NSW will be available in the next week.
Negative RAT result
People who have been exposed to a positive case and who return a negative RAT result are required to assess their risk and isolate accordingly. NSW Health has provided examples of exposure to assist individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 assess their risk.
Of particular relevance to the disability sector is the general advice for people who are household contacts of a positive case, or assess their risk to be high or moderate, to avoid visiting high-risk settings (unless for their own personal care) once they leave isolation.
Positive RAT/PCR Test
Anyone returning a positive RAT or PCR test should isolate for seven days from the time they were tested, and only leave isolation if they do not have any symptoms. After leaving isolation, the person should wear a mask and avoid visiting high-risk settings (unless for their own personal care) for a further three days.
People working in high-risk settings should speak to their employer before returning.
Staff in essential roles who have been exposed to COVID-19
Providers should note that NSW Health has developed an Aged Care and Disability Risk matrix [PDF] to support managers determine when staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or are a confirmed case, are able to return to work and the risk management strategies (including the use of daily RAT) that should be used.
NSW Health has also announced that the current requirements for disability staff to be vaccinated to deliver disability supports in person to people with disability will include booster vaccinations. A booster vaccination can be given four or more months after the first two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
NDS will provide additional information on the timeframes for boosters once this becomes available.
Senior Leader Forum
Members are encouraged to join our next NSW COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness: Senior Leader Discussion Forum on Tuesday 18 January 2022. We will be joined by NSW Health who will provide an overview of the current situation including any updates to advice for the sector.
- COVID-19 Disability Service Providers - NSW Health
- For Providers - COVID-19 - NDIS website
- Disability provider alerts - Australian Government Department of Health -
- Providing disability support services during COVID-19 - Australian Government Department of Health
- NDS COVID-19 hub for information and resources including PPE