Queensland and COVID-19

Queensland Health advise: all areas are low risk for PPE

Queensland Health has advised that from 6 am on Thursday, 15 April 2021 that all geographical areas will be low risk for PPE use. Further information is available from the Queensland Health website.

COVID-19 Update – 1 April 

Restrictions for All of Queensland

This Direction replaces the former Restrictions for Queensland Direction made on 29 March 2021.  

From 12 pm, Thursday, 1 April 2021, the following directions came into effect:

  • There are no impacted areas in Queensland.
  • All of Queensland will be subject to the same (current) restrictions as outlined below.

Businesses

All businesses must continue to follow the rules outlined in the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction.

Where a business operates under the COVID Safe Framework and a Plan or Checklist refers to a requirement that is different to this Direction, the business must follow the requirements outlined in the Restrictions for Queensland Direction (No. 2).

Face masks

You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. You must wear a mask in indoor spaces, such as:

  • shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets
  • hospitals and aged care facilities
  • hospitality venues such as restaurants and cafés (not required for patrons while seated; customer facing staff only)
  • churches and places of worship
  • libraries
  • indoor recreational facilities and gym (except if doing strenuous exercise)
  • indoor workplaces (where safe to wear a mask and you can’t physically distance)
  • public transport, taxis and rideshare, and waiting places or queues for this transport
  • airports and travelling on planes.

It is strongly recommended you wear a mask when outdoors if you are unable to stay more than 1.5m distance from other people, such as busy walkways and thoroughfares. More information on masks is available from the Queensland Health website.

Face masks do not have to be worn by:

  • infants and children under the age of 12
  • anyone who has a medical condition or disability that may be made worse by wearing a mask, including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on their face, a mental health condition or experienced trauma
  • anyone who is communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • anyone who has past experiences of trauma and is unable to wear a face mask due to psychological impacts
  • anyone whose health and safety would be at risk if they wore a face mask while conducting their work, as determined through Occupational Health and Safety guidelines
  • prisoners of corrective facilities or detainees in detention centres
  • residents of residential aged care facilities or shared disability accommodation services
  • anyone who is being married while in the process of being married
  • people during an emergency.

You must wear a mask when you are indoors, unless it is in your own home or a workplace where physical distancing can be maintained. 

If in doubt, wear a mask.

Protecting our most vulnerable

In all areas of Queensland (including Greater Brisbane), restrictions are in place for visitors to:

The Queensland government website has further information. Speech Pathology Australia members are advised to refer to the Queensland government website for the most recent updates.

COVID-19 outbreak snap lockdown update – 31 March

Queensland Health is continuing to actively response to the declared public health emergency in relation to COVID (19). From 5 pm, Monday, 29 March 2021, the following Directions came into effect.

The full details of these restrictions are available on the Queensland Health website. Decisions regarding the public health response, and the impact that this may have on essential healthcare are made by the Chief Health Officer to ensure the continued safety of Queensland communities.

Allied health professionals working in the impacted areas are considered essential care providers. Attending a health care appointment is one of the reasons for leaving home and these businesses are still permitted to operate. However, it is strongly encouraged that any non-urgent appointments are postponed or converted to telehealth where appropriate. Physical distancing must be observed to the extent possible. As at 5 pm AEST Monday 29 March 2021 to 5 pm AEST Thursday 1 April 2021, Impacted areas include:

Individuals who live outside the impacted areas are only able to travel into the impacted areas to receive healthcare from a Hospital and Health Service, a private health facility or from a prescribed health practitioner or registered NDIS provider under an agreed NDIS plan. This is consistent with the previous Border restrictions for accessing essential healthcare. It is important to note that individuals who enter the impacted area to receive healthcare will then be required to abide by the lockdown rules for the duration of the Direction when they return to their place of residence outside the impacted area. This includes only leaving their house for permitted purposes and wearing a mask when doing so.

A list of prescribed health practitioners is provided in the Restrictions for Impacted Areas Direction (No.3).

How speech pathology practice is affected?

Allied health professionals (including speech pathologists) in these LGAs are considered essential care providers. However, if you can provide care via telehealth, it is preferable to do so.

Greater Brisbane is now considered Moderate Risk for the purposes of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

If you need to conduct a face to face session, you will have to use the appropriate PPE for your setting as per the PPE guideline.

Individual professions are advised to undertake their own risk assessments. The Speech Pathology Australia Risk Assessment Tool (COVID-19) can help you evaluate the number and type of risk factors for transmission of COVID-19 that may be present for you and your clients.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor areas outside home, and strongly recommended in outdoor areas where 1.5m distance cannot be maintained.

There are some exceptions to wearing a face mask, including:

  • children under 12
  • a person eating, drinking or taking medicine
  • where visibility of the mouth is essential
  • where a mask needs to be removed to clearly communicate
  • a person with a particular medical condition or disability
  • a person undergoing medical treatment
  • if a person is asked to remove a face mask for identity purposes
  • if wearing a mask creates a risk to a person’s health and safety
  • for emergencies or when allowed by law
  • in any circumstances when it’s not safe to wear a mask.

Schools will be closed from Tuesday 30 April until Term 2, Monday 19 April, except for vulnerable children, and children of essential workers.

Find More Information

The Queensland government website has further information. Speech Pathology Australia members are advised to refer to the Queensland government website for the most recent updates.

COVID-19 outbreak snap lockdown – 29 March

The Queensland Premier has announced a 3-day lock down as of 5 pm 29 March 2021. 

People who have been in the greater Brisbane region since the 20 March 2021 will be subject to home confinement restrictions. The impacted Local Government Areas are:

The Queensland government website has further information. Speech Pathology Australia members are advised to refer to the Queensland government website for the most recent updates.

People in the impacted local government areas (LGAs) will be required to stay at home except for essential reasons. Anyone who was in Greater Brisbane on or since 20 March but has since left must follow the same lockdown rules as for Greater Brisbane.

Schools will be closed from Tuesday 30 April until Term 2, Monday 19 April, except for children of essential workers.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor areas outside your home and strongly recommended in outdoor areas where 1.5m distance cannot be maintained. 

Allied health professionals as healthcare workers are considered essential workers.

Medical care (i.e healthcare) is one of the essential reasons that individuals can leave home during lockdown.

If services can be conducted via telehealth it is preferable to do so.

If conducting in person sessions, members will need to use the appropriate PPE for their setting as per the PPE guideline.

Those who transit into Greater Brisbane from surrounding areas for work, healthcare, study or to support a vulnerable person may do so if it is not reasonably practicable to make other arrangement, such as work or study from home.

COVID-19 outbreak – 26 March

On 26 March 2021, the Queensland Government instituted heightened precautions in response to a positive COVID-19 case being identified with possible community exposure. These precautions are intended to limit the further spread of this variant in the community and allow an assessment of risk of any further exposure in the community.

In order to assist with the efforts to limit spread, Queensland Health is providing advice on escalated use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This guidance sets out which PPE should be used in three categories of community risk – low, moderate and high.

In application of the PPE guidance, the Chief Health Officer has the responsibility to determine which level of risk is applicable in a Local Government Area (LGA) or other specified geographic area. Queensland Health facilities, residential aged care facilities, and disability accommodation services are required to comply with implementation of this guidance.

For entities external to Queensland Health, a decision on whether to follow the PPE protocols in the Guidance for health services will then rest with the responsible Chief Executive or equivalent for that entity, except where a Directive requires use of PPE (such as for residential aged care facilities).

The following Local Government Areas (LGAs) have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the moderate risk category.

  • City of Brisbane
  • Moreton Bay Region

Other areas in the Brisbane South region remain at “low”:

  • Logan City
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim Region

The following health and care settings are to escalate use of PPE:

  • Hospitals
  • Residential Aged Care Facilities
  • Residential Disability Care Facilities
  • Prison Health Services
  • Youth detention health services.

In addition to these specific settings, personnel who work in facilities in the affected area who also work in other facilities outside the escalated LGAs should follow the requirement for escalated PPE.

Please note that this PPE guidance is additional to and does not replace the CHO directives that have been formally issued, and for which compliance is mandatory. The PPE escalation will remain in place until notification that it has been rescinded by the Chief Health Officer.

A range of guidance notes have been released relating to PPE.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Residential Aged Care and Disability Accommodation Services  This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Community health services and in-home care settings This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in for healthcare delivery in Correctional Services This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Health care delivery  This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Further guidance on PPE in Queensland

Queensland Health has advised that from 12 pm on 19 March, all geographical areas will be low risk for PPE usage. Further information is available from the Queensland Health website.

COVID-19 outbreak – Brisbane 13 March

On 13 March 2021, the Queensland Government instituted heightened precautions in response to a healthcare worker case being identified. These precautions are intended to limit the further spread of this variant in the community and allow an assessment of risk of any further exposure in the community.

In order to assist with the efforts to limit spread, Queensland Health is providing advice on escalated use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This guidance sets out which PPE should be used in three categories of community risk – low, moderate and high.

In application of the PPE guidance, the Chief Health Officer has the responsibility to determine which level of risk is applicable in a Local Government Area (LGA) or other specified geographic area. Queensland Health facilities, residential aged care facilities, and disability accommodation services are required to comply with implementation of this guidance.

For entities external to Queensland Health, a decision on whether to follow the PPE protocols in the Guidance for health services will then rest with the responsible Chief Executive or equivalent for that entity, except where a Directive requires use of PPE (such as for residential aged care facilities).

The following Local Government Areas (LGAs) have now been determined by the Chief Health Officer to be in the moderate risk category.

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

All other LGAs remain in the low risk category.

The following health and care settings are to escalate use of PPE

  • Hospitals
  • Residential Aged Care Facilities
  • Residential Disability Care Facilities
  • Prison Health Services
  • Youth detention health services.

In addition to these specific settings, personnel who work in facilities in the affected area who also work in other facilities outside the escalated LGAs should follow the requirement for escalated PPE.

Please note that this PPE guidance is additional to and does not replace the CHO directives that have been formally issued, and for which compliance is mandatory. The PPE escalation will remain in place until notification that it has been rescinded by the Chief Health Officer.

Further information for clinicians regarding Queensland Health’s response to COVID-19 can be found online from the Queensland Health website.

A range of guidance notes have been released relating to PPE.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Residential Aged Care and Disability Accommodation Services This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Community health services and in-home care settings This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in for healthcare delivery in Correctional Services This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Pandemic Response Guidance – PPE in Health care delivery This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.