South Australia and COVID-19

Changes in South Australia’s Stay at Home directions

As an update to changes in South Australia’s Stay at Home directions and return to face-to-face services, the advice from the Chief Public Health Officer is that all allied health professionals are to wear masks at work and follow the guidance in the use of PPE

All Allied Health businesses are encouraged to have a Voluntary COVID-19 Safe Plan, however while it is not mandatory, the Association strongly recommends members have a COVID Safe plan in place to protect them, their colleagues, clients and the community.

In a general message to South Australians, the state government has advised the following:

COVID-19 mask advice

To further protect our community from COVID-19, people are strongly advised to wear a face mask whenever they can't keep 1.5 metres from other people. Places people should wear a mask:

  • shopping centres
  • supermarkets
  • hospital, health, or aged care sites
  • on public transport.

Further information is available online.

New contact tracing data

As announced on Friday, based on new contact tracing data, the South Australian Government plans to lift the six-day lock down early. As of 12.01am on Sunday 22 November, the Stay at Home direction will be lifted.

The Association has been advised that allied health, including speech pathologists, can resume face-to-face services from Sunday, providing you have a COVID-safe plan in place, maintain social distancing, apply infection control practices and risk assessments, and continue to use telehealth where possible. These are similar restrictions to what was in place as of Monday 16 November.

Speech pathologist requested to help with COVID-19 testing

The Allied and Scientific Health Office in SA Health, is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from allied health professionals who are available to provide assistance in COVID testing clinics.

Roles will involve either swab testing or scribing. This may be of interest to allied health practitioners including physiotherapists and speech pathologists in private practices who are unable to work under current restrictions. While some staff may be sought in regional areas, at present the demand is highest in the metropolitan area.

Interested staff should email SA Health providing:

  1. Full name
  2. Profession
  3. Registration details (as appropriate)
  4. Contact mobile
  5. Contact email
  6. Current place and hours of employment

In addition, information is sought regarding whether or not interested individuals have current:

  1. National Police Check
  2. Working with Children Check
  3. FIT testing (mask)
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training.

Individuals will be contacted by SA Health if required, and could be called upon at any point in the near future, at short notice.

COVID-19 Update for SA Members

Following announcements of the South Australia (SA) six-day lock-down yesterday, the SA Government has now made an official statement around Stay-at-Home declarations as well as reference to allied health under the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Stay at Home) Direction 2020, which came into effect from 12.01 am today Thursday 19 November and ends at 12.01 am on 25 November. View further detail online.

The information includes that people can access and/or leave home for ‘essential health services’ which is defined under Schedule 1 of the linked material above. Schedule 1 refers to allied health (which includes Speech Pathology services) and defines essential health services in the following contexts only:

  • allied health services provided by allied health professionals working as essential workers in hospitals providing critical clinical care or as directed by the hospital;
  • allied health services provided by allied health professionals working in private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options;
  • students, medical/nursing/midwifery/allied health on placement providing essential care in hospitals or through telehealth.

As stated in previous SA member Facebook posts, these six-day exemptions in relation to allied health do not include:

  1. Any other allied health professionals other than above
  2. Any students other than the above.

Refer to the FAQ for detail.

Clarification has also being sought in relation to allied health (including speech pathology) services within aged care facilities.

Allied Health services can be provided to residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities, but if doing so, speech pathologists must let each facility know that they are visiting other facilities, with these details to be registered by the RACF.

The advice from the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 13) includes that:

- a person who provides nursing, medical, allied health or personal care services to a resident at a RACF must wear appropriate personal protective equipment, in accordance with the Australian Guidelines, at any time that they are providing those services and cannot maintain a distance of more than 1.5 metres from the resident.

Members are advised that allied health professionals should not be considered by the facility as a ‘visitor’. It has been reinforced in the following Aged Care industry code that residents retain the right to access required medical care and that providers needed to facilitate this access, including if it is needed to be done by telehealth.

SA Health – Urgent Request (Private speech pathologists)

SA Health is seeking speech pathologists who won't be working in their private practices for the next six days, who can assist with duties in relation to COVID-19 testing including swabbing, or be trained to swab.

Members should email the Association and supply their name, email address, and suburb/town. These details will be passed onto SA Health who will contact members directly.

Important resources

Members are encourage to also reference the Association’s Guidance for Service Delivery, Risk Assessment Tool, and Telehealth resources.

Further update for South Australian speech pathologists

To be announced by the Chief Public Health Officer shortly, please find the information below as provided by the SA Chief Allied & Scientific Health Officer, Catherine Turnbull.

The intent is for all of the South Australian community to stay home unless for an emergency or for groceries or urgent medical care.

The following applies to speech pathology services:

Exempt from the current 6 day order

  1. Allied health professionals working as essential workers in hospitals providing critical clinical care or as directed by the hospital
  2. Allied health professionals working in private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options
  3. Allied health professionals providing mental health services, being provided in hospital or telehealth
  4. Students, medical/nursing/midwifery/allied health on placement providing essential care in hospitals or through telehealth

Not exempt from 6 day order

  1. Any other allied health professionals other than above
  2. Any students other than the above

Official information and any further details will be provided when available.

Please refer also to the SPA website for the Speech Pathology COVID-19 Guidance information including the Association’s Guidance on Service Delivery, Clinical Procedures and Infection Control during COVID-19 and also the Telepractice Resources for delivering services via Telepractice.

Members are encourage to also reference the Association’s Guidance for Service Delivery, Risk Assessment Tool, and Telehealth resources.

South Australia Lockdown for 6 days – announced today

The Association is aiming to identify what this specifically means for speech pathology services and will bring this information to SA members as soon as known. The following is general restrictions advice from SA Government via media updates..

South Australia's lockdown explained

From midnight tonight (November 18), the following are closed for six days:

  • All schools (except for children of essential workers:
  • Takeaway food and universities
  • Pubs, cafes, food courts
  • Elective surgery
  • Open inspections/auctions
  • Outdoor sport/physical activity
  • FIFO work - regional travel
  • Aged care and disability residential care in lockdown
  • Factories closed
  • Construction industry closed
  • No holiday homes
  • Weddings and funerals banned for six days
  • Masks will be required in all areas outside the home
  • Exercise not permitted outside of the house

From midnight tonight (November 18), the following will still be open:

  • Critical infrastructure
  • Supermarkets
  • Specific access to vulnerable members of community
  • Medical including mental health
  • Airport and freight services
  • Petrol stations
  • Post offices and financial institutions
  • Mining