Information for Northcott customers on the current COVID-19 situation in NSW

*Last updated Friday 11 February 2022

On this page you will find the latest information from Northcott about COVID-19 rules and restrictions, vaccinations and any impacts to Northcott services.

Northcott Services and Supports

All Northcott services and supports are currently operating with COVID-safe measures in place.

This includes our centre-based respite and day programs. If you would prefer to receive support online during the current COVID-19 outbreak, speak to the person who normally supports you or call our Customer Service Team can be contacted on 1800 818 286.

We remind our customers to consider how they are feeling before attending day programs. If you are unwell or have any symptoms, please don’t attend your usual day program until you have completed a COVID-19 test and returned a negative result.

The latest COVID-19 rules and restrictions

The current COVID-19 restrictions in NSW have been extended to at least 28 February 2022. 

We know it can be hard to stay up to date on changes to COVID-19 rules and restrictions. Here we have tried to summarise the most important ones for our customers;

  • You need to wear a mask in most indoor settings and on public transport. This includes Northcott offices and centres.
  • You need to COVID Safe Check-in to most venues. This includes Northcott offices and centres. Staff and visitors to Northcott homes also need to check-in.
  • Hospitality venues are open but some restrictions apply, including how many people can be in the venue, and restrictions on singing and dancing.
  • Some non-urgent elective surgeries have been paused.

You can find more information on the current rules at the NSW Government website. You can also speak to the staff at Northcott who support you.

Ways that we are keeping you safe

If you have attended a Northcott centre recently or have received support in your home, you will have noticed our staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We know this can be challenging particularly when communicating with the person who supports you.

Keeping our customers safe is our top priority. With the high number of COVID positive cases in the community, we have increased the PPE requirements for the staff that support our customers. This is one of the ways that we can reduce the chance of COVID spreading among our customers and staff.

This is in addition to the safety measures we continue to have in place including strict check-in procedures, infection control, hygiene and hand washing.

Vaccines and boosters

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to be protected from getting very sick from COVID-19, and reduces the chance of transmission. All Northcott staff who directly support customers are vaccinated against COVID-19. We have recently implemented a policy that requires ALL Northcott staff to be vaccinated.

We also encourage our customers to be vaccinated and to receive the booster dose when they are eligible. Booster doses are being administered 4 months after your second dose, and this will reduce to 3 months at the end of January 2022.

If you test positive to COVID-19, please speak to your GP to ask how long you need to wait before having your booster vaccination.

More information about booster doses can be found at the NSW Health website.

Changes to contact definitions and isolation requirements

The Government has made some changes to who is considered a close contact of a person who tests positive to COVID-19.

A close contact is now defined as:

  • a household contact, or where more than four hours of exposure to a person with confirmed Covid-19 has occurred in a residential (or residential-like) setting, or
  • contacts in a setting where NSW Health has determined there to be a high level of transmission.

If you test positive to COVID-19, you need to isolate for 7 days from the date of the test. If you are a close contact of a positive COVID case, you need to self-isolate for 7 days even if you have a negative test result.

We know that having to isolate can be challenging, but it is a very important way that we can reduce the spread of the virus. If you do need to isolate, we will be here to support you. NSW Health has some great resources on their website.

How to get tested for COVID-19

If you have been tested for COVID-19 over the past 2 years, you will likely have had a PCR test at a clinic.  If you are a close contact of a person who has tested positive to COVID-19 or have developed symptoms, you can continue to receive a PCR test. Long delays however are currently being seen at most testing clinics.

With the increase in positive case numbers, rapid antigen tests (RAT) have become more common and are how many people will be tested moving forward.

Concession cardholders can receive up to 10 free RATs over the next three months. These will be available from pharmacies. If you have a concession card and need support accessing your free RATs, please speak to the staff who support you.

NSW Health advice for Northcott homes

The latest advice from NSW Health is that residents can have two visitors a day plus two children. Visitors over 12 need to be fully vaccinated, and provide proof of their vaccination and booster if they are eligible. Visitors should also have a negative RAT prior to visiting.

Residents can go out for exercise and recreational activities, or to attend small family gatherings. Residents are encouraged to take a RAT test after returning from a family gathering.

COVID-19 resources

There are a number of online resources that you may find useful;

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for people with disability

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities

COVID-19 information for people with a disability