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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
 
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR WALGA MEMBERS
WALGA
29 April 2022
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Directions and Chief Health Officer Advice Released
The Directions which give legal effect to the eased restrictions commencing at 12.01am Friday, 29 April have been released.
In his advice to the Government, the Chief Health Officer (CHO) notes that:

“as WA transitions to ‘Living with COVID-19', most of the measures previously mandated should continue to be highly recommended. This includes social distancing, socially responsible mask wearing in certain settings (e.g. larger indoor gatherings), hand and general hygiene, and taking a COVID-19 test if symptoms develop. Emphasising ongoing personal responsibility remains important in effectively managing COVID-19 in the long-term.”

The CHO advice also indicated that the current requirements for identified employment groups to be vaccinated to access various workplaces, have been reviewed and remain in force. 

The advice indicated that about 20 per cent of the population has yet to received their booster dose.  Recent hospitalisation data show that this 20 per cent of the population accounts for 61 per cent of hospital admissions, with the estimated 1 per cent of the population who is unvaccinated responsible for 32 per cent of hospital admissions.
The CHO advice can be viewed here.
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Clarification: Mandatory Booster Vaccinations After Contracting COVID-19
WALGA has received clarification from the Department of Health on the requirements for workers who have recently had COVID-19 and are subject to the Booster Vaccination (Restriction  on Access) Directions (No. 2) (Booster Directions).
As per the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines, an exemption to the requirement for the third dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine can be provided for up to four months post infection if a patient wants to delay their next COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Health has confirmed that GPs and the Chief Health Officer (CHO) have provided exemptions for this reason. 

The exemption as per the public health directions can be in one of three forms:
  • a COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate or immunisation history statement issued to the person showing a medical exemption recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register for that person (medical exemption)
     
  • a temporary exemption issued to the person by the CHO or a person authorised by the CHO for that purpose, or
     
  • a declaration of exemption issued to the person by the CHO or a person authorised by the CHO for that purpose.
After contracting COVID-19 if an employee has not received a third vaccine dose required by the Booster Directions, and they want to defer this dose, they can either apply for a medical exemption from their GP or a Department of Health exemption from the CHO (via email). 

Medical exemptions provided by a GP should be present on an employee’s Medicare Immunisation History Statement (IHS).  For the exemption to be valid with regards to booster vaccination requirements, the IHS needs to show an exemption to all four vaccine brands available in Australia.
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Additional Assistance for Local Business
The Premier has announced an expansion of the COVID-19 assistance package for small businesses. 
This package includes a boost to the Small Business Hardship Grants Program, with expanded eligibility criteria and payroll tax relief for large hospitality providers to be available to more businesses.

A new tiered grant program will be available to businesses that have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in turnover over any consecutive two-week period between 1 January 2022 and 30 April 2022 (relative to the same period last year).
Further information on the assistance package can be viewed here.
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COVID-19 Resources
The Department of Health continues to provide a range of resources for the community and Local Government, in response to updated Health advice.
The Department has COVID-19 information for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. This includes information in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. 

The Department also has information on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, including how to register a positive Rapid Antigen Test online or by calling 13 COVID (13 26843) and WA COVID Care at Home, for people who need additional support or monitoring. 
Updated information on managing COVID-19, including managing COVID-19 in the workplace can be found on the wa.gov.au website here.
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WALGA
ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade,
West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
Email: covid@walga.asn.au
www.walga.asn.au
© Copyright Western Australian Local Government Association 2014






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WALGA · ONE70, Level 1, Railway Parade · West Leederville, WA 6007 · Australia