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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
28 January 2022

In this issue...

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Proof of Vaccination Directions
WALGA has sought urgent advice in relation to the large volume of queries from the sector on the Proof of Vaccination Directions released yesterday.
WALGA understands that updated Proof of Vaccination Directions and accompanying FAQs are expected to be released imminently. 
WALGA will issue a further COVID-19 update when available.  
Definitions and Protocols in a High COVID-19 Caseload Environment
The Premier has announced new definitions and protocols that will take effect when WA is in a high caseload environment, including the definition of critical workers, close and casual contacts, and updated testing and isolation guidelines and the use of rapid antigen tests.
The Government will make a determination about what constitutes a high case load based on epidemiological and outbreak situation and latest health advice.

WA Critical workers considerations are to ensure continuity of operations essential to alleviate critical workforce shortages.  For Local Government these will include workers whose roles cannot be undertaken from home in waste management, building and construction, health care, social assistance and residential care areas.

It is important that Local Governments consider the implications of the new definitions and protocols on their operations and incorporates them into their business continuity plans.
Further information is available here.
WALGA Sector Briefing Webinar: COVID-19 Preparedness in the Regions
WALGA will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, 3 February focusing on planning for COVID-19 in the regions.
Speakers will include Katherine Flower, A/Lead, Planning Cell, State Health Incident Coordination Centre and a representative from the WA Country Health Service.

Date: Thursday, 3 February
Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions to the COVID Response Team by COB Tuesday, 1 February 2022.
To register for the webinar, click here.
Mask Mandate for Wheatbelt and Great Southern – Directions Released
The COVID Restrictions (Gatherings and Related Measures) Direction (No 11) (Directions) have now been released.
As with previous versions of the Directions, there are provisions for the responsible person (person in charge of a facility) or their staff to request a medical certificate if someone is not wearing a mask because they state they have “a physical, developmental or mental illness, injury, condition or disability which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable”.
The Directions are available here.
Clarification on vaccination deadlines under the Proof of Vaccination Directions
The Department of Health has again confirmed vaccination deadlines under the new Proof of Vaccination Directions.
Staff who are covered by the Proof of Vaccinations Directions must not enter the specified venue:
  • from Monday, 31 January if they have not received an initial vaccine dose, and
  • from Monday, 28 February, if they are not fully vaccinated (two doses at this time).
This information can be found on the WA Government website here.
Pulse Oximeter – Distribution to Priority Areas
The Department of Health is fast tracking the distribution of Pulse Oximeters to the Pilbara and Kimberley to assist with COVID-19 preparedness.
Pulse Oximeters will enable vulnerable people who contract COVID-19 to measure their oxygen levels from the safety of their home, allowing them to be monitored remotely rather than from hospital (where clinically appropriate).

The Department is contacting Local Governments in these regions to assist. Further distribution of Pulse Oximeters to other country regions is anticipated in the coming weeks. 
WALGA Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) Procurement Ordering Reminder
WALGA is undertaking a bulk order of TGA approved RAT kits on behalf of Local Governments. 
An InfoPage has been distributed by WALGA that contains information about the supply and ordering details. The deadline for ordering is 5.00pm, Wednesday, 2 February. 
For further information, please email
Help Your Community to get COVID Ready
Taking inspiration from colleagues in Queensland, the City of Albany, working with their local Department of Health representatives, has developed a COVID Ready Checklist and Plan for households.
The City is offering these resources for use by other Local Governments, including the InDesign file templates to enable the material to be modified to include Local Government specific considerations or branding.

WALGA would like to thank the City of Albany for assisting other Local Governments and communities by sharing these important resources.
These resources are available from the City of Albany website
(COVID-Ready Checklist 
and COVID-Ready Plan).
Drive Time with the Chief Health Officer
Dr Andy Robertson, WA Chief Health Officer, was interviewed on ABC Drive.
The interview outlined some of the key issues which were considered in the decision not to open the WA border on 5 February and why the booster vaccination is important.

Dr Robertson also emphasised that the Government is being led by health advice in making decisions.
To listen to the interview, visit the ABC website.
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