All aged care workers across Victoria will now be required to wear face masks.
The precautionary measure, expanded state wide after consultation between Federal and State Governments, will provide extra confidence that vulnerable senior citizens will receive the highest level of protection against COVID-19.
It applies to both residential care and home support care workers.
To support this requirement, the Australian Government will release a further one million masks from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).
This is in addition to the four million released for aged care workers in the areas of Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire earlier this week.
The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, discussed the issue with his Victorian counterpart, Jenny Mikakos, who provided her full support.
Earlier this week, aged care workers in Victoria’s lockdown zones were required to wear surgical masks, following a recommendation from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
This advice also includes the recommendation of mandatory use of masks for disability workers in the hot spot areas with the provision of a further one million masks. Additional masks will be made available if required.
The Australian Government has also provided one million face masks for primary care workers in Victoria.
The Government secured a large supply of masks and other PPE for the National Medical Stockpile, to equip the nation for the pandemic.
Since late March, more than 295 million masks, more than four million gowns, more than 41 million gloves, and more than five million goggles and face shields have been placed in the stockpile.
Substantial amounts of PPE, including additional masks, will continue to arrive over the coming weeks and months.
Aged care providers in Victoria can contact AgedCareCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au to request masks for in home and residential aged care workers delivering close personal care and clinical care, and other PPE like gloves and gowns to aged care services with a potential or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition, for outbreak sites in New South Wales, half a million masks will be made available to aged care services in the areas of western Sydney in which the NSW Government has declared (Liverpool, Campbelltown and Wollondilly (Picton)) they should be used.
Disability providers and self-managed NDIS participants can request access to PPE from the NMS by contacting NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au, where they cannot acquire the equipment they need through their usual channels.
More information for NDIS participants and their families is available on the NDIS website www.ndis.gov.au and more information for providers and workers about infection control, PPE and preparing for outbreaks in residential settings, is available on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website at www.ndiscommission.gov.au