Latest COVIDready (as of 4 January 2022)


Members of the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW will recall the NSW Department of Education's announcement (on 23 December 2021) to support Rapid Antigen Home Testing (RAHT) in order to avoid or minimise service discroption.


Use of and access to RAHTs are via the Department's online form by services as of today (4 January 2022).


CLOSE CONTACT VS HIGH/MODERATE/LOW RISK


As a consequence of the NSW Government's recent change in the definition of who are to be deemed Close Contact, please note that NSW Health has also begun using new terminology (ie High/Moderate/Low Risks) as outlined below (which have been contextualised for NSW's early childhood education and care sector).


Please use your service's own good judgement when assessing the level of risk (as there appears to be no measures/yardsticks published by the NSW Government).


  • HIGH RISK: ​I live with someone who has COVID-19 (I am a household contact).
    ACTION: You must follow the Self-Isolation Guideline and self-isolate for 7 days from the last time you in contact with the COVID-positive person. Get a PCR test as soon as possible and Rapid Antigen Home Test on Day 6. If both tests are negative, you can leave isolation after 7 days. If either test positive, you are required to continue your isolation and follow the Testing Positive to COVID-19 advice.

  • HIGH RISK: ​I spent a long time with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g. I stayed overnight at their house or I spent the evening indoors at the house) or I interacted closely with someone who has COVID-19 and we were not wearing masks (e.g. we drove a long distance together, or I looked after children who are now positive.)
    ACTION: ​Self-isolation for 7 days from the last time you were in contact with the person with COVID-19 is the most effective way of protecting others. You should have a PCR test (nose and throat swab) as soon as possible, and a rapid antigen test on Day 6 before leaving self-isolation. If you have a positive rapid antigen test or symptoms, please get a PCR test to confirm you have COVID-19. For a further 7 days after leaving isolation, you can help prevent spread of COVID-19 by following the recommendations under How can we all help slow the spread of COVID-19?

  • MODERATE RISK: ​I spent some time with a person who has COVID-19 (e.g. we had dinner together or met at a pub, club or other social function.)
    ACTION: If you do not have symptoms, it is recommended that you have a rapid antigen test as soon as possible. A second rapid antigen test around Day 6 after exposure can also help to identify early infection. If you have a positive rapid antigen test or symptoms, please get a PCR test and isolate until you receive a negative result.

  • LOW RISK: ​I had brief or distanced contact with a person with COVID-19 (e.g. I dropped off shopping, or we went for a walk outdoors), or I received a case alert in the Service NSW App.
    ACTION: ​Monitor for symptoms. If symptoms occur, get a PCR test immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

Hence, if your service deems your educator(s), teacher(s), support staff and/or child(ren) to be of Moderate Risk and possibly Low Risk, your service can minimise service disruption by participating in the NSW Department of Education's Rapid Antigen Home Testing (RAHT) test-to-stay program. Your service can register to receive these RAHTs using the NSW Department of Education's on-line form.


(A) HOW QUICKLY CAN THESE RAHTs BE DELIVERED?


According to the NSW Department of Education, generally and assuming there are RAHT kits available:


  • For metropolitan Sydney based services - Order by 9.30 am on a normal work day and delivery should be by the same afternoon.
  • For regional NSW based services - Order by 10 am on a normal work day and delivery should be by the next work day.

(B) WHAT IF THE RAHTs ARE NOT DELIVERED QUICKLY ENOUGH OR IF THERE IS A TEMPORARY SHORTAGE?


As highlighted in ACA NSW's broadcast on 23 December 2021, ACA NSW strongly suggests that ECEC services purchase and maintain a sufficient quantity of RAHTs for their own use while they await the ordered supply from the NSW Department of Education.


The NSW Department of Education has advised that they will understand and not object if services were to use appropriate RAHTs while they await those RAHTs in transit.


(C) WHERE ELSE CAN AVAILABLE RAHTs BE PURCHASED?


ACA NSW has been able to identify a reliable supply channel via one of its trusted First Aid training partners, Australian Frontline Solutions (AFS).


AFS will be able to distribute the TGA approved Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test (clinically rated as "Very High Sensitivity"). Delivery costs can apply for regional and rural services.


Please submit your order request via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RJDTPQP.


Please note: ACA NSW will not be receiving any financial benefit from this supply.


(D) WHICH RAHTs WOULD BE RECOGNISED BY NSW HEALTH & NSW DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION?


ACA NSW has been advised by the NSW Department of Education that ECEC services should only use TGA approved RAHT kits with the clinical sensitivity of "High Sensitivity" or "Very High Sensitivity".


The current list of RAHT kits is available via https://www.tga.gov.au/covid-19-rapid-antigen-self-tests-are-approved-australia.



The ACA NSW team will officially be back on Monday, 10 January 2022. In the meantime,, please e-mail the ACA NSW team via nsw@childcarealliance.org.au for any further information.


PUBLISHED: 4 JANUARY 2022

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