Aged Care - COVID-19

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 within South Australia, the State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities (RACF) in South Australia.

The Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 14) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect on 21 November 2020.

Important reminder: No person who has attended any of the locations identified in relation to the Parafield cluster should be permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a RACF, unless they have been tested for COVID-19 and received a negative test result.

COVID-19 Infection control training
All employees or contractors who provide personal care or nursing care to residents must complete Understanding COVID-19 for Aged Care Workers prior to entering or remaining on the premises of a RACF.

COVID-19 Infection Control Plans
All RACF must submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan for all communal areas at the facility to the Department for Health and Wellbeing for approval.

COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities

The COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 1MB)is available as a resource document to guide individual Residential Aged Care Facilities in the prevention, preparation, management and recovery stages of responding to COVID-19 situations in South Australia.

To supplement the Strategy, an Integrated Response Framework for the Management of Multiple Outbreaks in Residential Aged Care Facilities in South Australia (PDF 780KB) has now been developed. This document outlines the South Australian integrated response to the risk of multiple concurrent outbreaks of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities, establishes a blueprint to guide the collaborative roles and responsibilities of accountable responders, and identifies specific challenges and solutions associated with a range of escalating scenarios.

Aged Care Workforce

Operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) need to implement a number of changes to the way that employees and contractors at their facilities work.


At present, residents can receive one visit by up to two family members or friends per day.

  • The operator of a RACF may approve additional care and support visits for a resident, if appropriate or required under the circumstances.
  • Processes should be put in place to ensure that residents are able to receive visitors safely. This includes appropriate screening of visitors upon entry to the RACF.
  • Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the RACF, rather than communal areas.
  • Physical distancing of 1.5m should be adhered to wherever possible.

Compassionate visits

  • Visits for the purpose of providing end of life support to a resident are permitted and numbers of visitors are not restricted in these circumstances.

Requesting an Exemption in Exceptional Circumstances

SA Health authorised officers are able to provide exemptions to the Directions if they believe exceptional circumstances exist. All requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing via Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request, including the urgency of the situation.

Interstate Travellers

All interstate travellers must complete a cross border pre-approval form at least 14 days prior to arrival into South Australia. The cross border travel application form is available from SA Police.

Influenza vaccinations

All staff and visitors to a RACF must be vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza. Except for infants too young to be vaccinated, exceptional end of life circumstances, and emergency situations.

The only exemption to this requirement is a person who has a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine. A letter from a medical practitioner must be provided to the RACF by any unvaccinated person seeking to enter under this exemption.

Retirement Villages

Retirement village operators should refer to the fact sheet - COVID 19 advice for retirement village operators (PDF 203KB). This fact sheet provides information and advice to operators of retirement villages in South Australia and outlines the measures that operators should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to retirement village residents and others.

The Aged Care Direction does not apply to retirement villages, however, retirement villages and residents must comply with the restrictions outlined in the Public Activities Direction

For more information

Fact sheets