COVID-19 and Parkinson’s

COVID-19 and Parkinson's

As always, the priority of Parkinson’s NSW is supporting people living with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers amid these challenging times.

This page was updated on 21 April 2022 at 3.07pm. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.

This page is intended to be a one-stop reference point giving you access to the facts and information that is relevant to you. Please bookmark this page as we will be updating the information regularly.

The Parkinson’s NSW specialist care team is here to support you by calling 1800 644 189 or emailing pnsw@parkinsonsnsw.org.au

Our InfoLine and information and support services are still here with support for you.

We will continue to update our website as new information becomes available.

Requirement for close contacts of COVID-19 to isolate at home have been scrapped

The Premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet today announced that the NSW Government has scrapped the requirement for close contacts of COVID-19 cases to isolate at home for seven days.

However close contacts will still need to wear a mask indoors and undertake a daily rapid antigen test. They are also urged to work from home where possible and will have to notify their employer that they are a close contact and stay away from hospitals and aged care settings.

There will be no changes for positive cases, who are still required to complete a week-long period of isolation.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it was suitable to ease restrictions as the state had passed the peak of the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant.

In another relaxation of restrictions, unvaccinated international returning travellers will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine from April 30.

Public health orders that require key workforces to be vaccinated will also be lifted. Orders requiring aged care and disability workers to be vaccinated will remain in force. These workforce changes will come into effect at 6pm on Friday, 22 April.

Public transport capacity caps will be lifted but the requirement to wear masks on public transport, planes and indoors at airports will remain.

Here is a simple guide to all of the latest changes.

Here is full information on the new guidelines from NSW Health – including further comments from Premier Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Fourth COVID vaccine now recommended for vulnerable Australians

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) – Australia’s top vaccine advisory group – is now recommending a “winter” additional COVID-19 vaccination for:

  • People over the age of 65
  • Those who are immunocompromised
  • Indigenous Australians aged 50 and over
  • Residents of aged and disability care facilities

This fourth dose of the COVID vaccine will be available to these eligible groups from early April. The recommendation comes as Australia experiences a surge in COVID cases of the BA.2 variant.

ATAGI is also recommending people wait between four and six months between COVID vaccine doses or their last infection with the virus.

For full information an recommended vaccinations, visit this Department of Health web page.

COVID 19 restrictions lifting in February

From Friday, 25 February, the following restrictions will be eased:

  • Face masks will only be required for high-risk settings such as travel, hospitals, indoor music festivals and correctional facilities. However masks are still encouraged for indoor setting where you cannot maintain a safe distance from others – a such as in retail stores – and for customer-facing retail staff.
    • Masks remain mandated on public transport, planes, and indoors at airports, hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, corrections facilities, and indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people;
  • Singing and dancing will be permitted at music festivals.
    • The 20,000 person cap on music festivals will be removed. Vaccination requirements will remain for indoor music festivals over 1,000 people, with attendees required to have at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Applicable immediately:

  • All Australian states are now open to fully vaccinated travellers, with the exception of Western Australia. It will open on Thursday 3 March, 2022.
  • Hotel quarantine for unvaccinated returning travellers has been reduced from 14 to 7 days.
  • Density limits no longer apply (previously one person per 2 sqm for hospitality venues).
  • QR check-ins are only required for nightclubs, and for all music festivals with more than 1,000 people. (Hospitals, aged and disability facilities may use their existing systems for recording visitors).
  • Singing and dancing are be permitted at all venues, except music festivals.
  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated to have people visit your home or visit people at their home. However, if you are visiting an aged care facility or disability home, there may be rules that apply to you.
  • Anyone can participate in sport, exercise, and outdoor gatherings.
    • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence
    • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required
    • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can operate with no person or capacity limits in place, including group fitness classes.
    • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is no longer required at gyms.
    • Indoor swimming pools are open for all purposes.
    • Community sports, including matches, competitions and training, can take place for all staff, spectators and participants.
  • Anyone can participate in an outdoor public gathering, such as a barbecue or picnic

Note:

Venues may set their own COVID Safe conditions of entry. Some premises may choose to require people to be fully vaccinated or to wear a mask as a condition of entry.

It is a matter for the occupier of each premises to exercise judgement on what is appropriate for their premises and the well-being of their staff and customers.

If you want to enter premises where an occupier has chosen to require you to be fully vaccinated, the occupier may ask to see your vaccination evidence. You do not have to show the occupier your vaccination evidence, but if you do not, the occupier may not let you in.

COVID-19 booster vaccinations recommended

While COVID-19 booster vaccines are not mandatory, they are highly recommended in order to continue to protect you, your loved ones and your community against COVID-19.

A booster vaccination can be given 4 or more months after your first 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Studies show that the immunity created by COVID-19 vaccines begins to wane over time. A booster dose helps to strengthen your immune system and improve your long-term protection against serious illness from the COVID-19 virus.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are recommended as boosters in Australia.

For people who are severely immunocompromised due to certain treatments or conditions, a third dose is recommended two months after the second dose. If you think you need a third dose vaccination due to being severely immunocompromised, speak to your GP.

Here are NSW Health’s Frequently Asked Questions about booster vaccinations.

Should I be worried about the Omicron variant of COVID-19?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Omicron a ‘variant of concern’ based on preliminary evidence that it spreads quickly.

Omicron was first reported in South Africa in November 2021 and has since been detected in other countries – including Australia.

The Australian Government Department of Health says that preliminary evidence indicates that Omicron may only lead to mild symptoms among most people who contract it.

Experts around the world are monitoring it closely to see if it is more likely to lead to severe illness compared to earlier variants.

Australia is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world against COVID-19.

There is no evidence to date that the vaccines Australians have been given are any less effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalisation or death from Omicron.

The Department of Health has asked the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to consider if there is a need to reduce the 6-month interval between second and booster doses. It is expecting to hear more from ATAGI in December 2021.

The Australian Government has announced new border security measures to protect Australians from the Omicron variant. Australia’s Chief Medical Officer recommended these new measures after a comprehensive risk assessment.

The National Cabinet statement of 30 November summarises Commonwealth, State and Territory government actions to respond to the threat of the new variant.

The Chief Medical Officer has provided reassurance that Australia is very well prepared for the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern.

NSW reaches 90% double dose vaccination

Unvaccinated 16 times more likely to die or become seriously ill

People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are 16 times more likely to die, or end up in intensive care during the state’s COVID-19 Delta outbreak, NSW Health data has revealed.

However, the state today (9 November) reached the 90 percent double-dose vaccination milestone for people aged 16 and over – just one day after more freedoms were rolled out for the fully vaccinated.

The percentage of Australians partially vaccinated has reached 94 per cent.

Supermarkets to stock COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

Coles and Woolworths supermarkets will begin stocking COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in early November. They will also be available for delivery.

Rapid antigen tests can return a result in as little as 15 minutes and will be sold for around $10 to $15 each.

The home self-test kits have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Visit the following links to find out more

COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate now available on Service NSW venue check-in application

You can now add your COVID-19 digital certificate to the Service NSW application to prove your vaccination status when you check in to a venue.

A COVID-19 digital certificate is available to people who have received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For step-by-step instructions on how to add your digital certificate to the Service NSW venue check-in application.

Visit the following links to find out more

Digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate trialled in regions of NSW

Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and Lismore are the trial sites for residents to display their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificates on the Service NSW application called VaxPass.

As of today, Monday 11 October, staff and visitors at a number of clubs and aged-care facilities, as well as selected taxi companies will participate in the trial.

The new Service NSW digital phone application will enable users to simultaneously check into a venue and show proof of vaccination status.

State-wide rollout of the VaxPass application is planned to begin on 18 October. Until then, you can present your vaccination information via:

A paper certificate from Services Australia
A digital certificate on the Medicare Express Plus application
A digital certificate in your Google or Apple wallet on your phone

Visit the following links to find out more

Changed conditions: Day trips between Greater Sydney and regional areas now not permitted

NSW public health orders were amended today (8 October) to state that recreational day trips between Greater Sydney and regional areas will not be allowed when the state begins the first phase of its reopening plan on Monday, 11 October.

Yesterday it was stated that recreational day trips would be allowed. However, this was a grey area in the health orders which have since been clarified.

Travel for essential reasons including carer responsibilities and work will still be allowed in line with current public health orders.

Recreational travel between Greater Sydney and regional areas will be permitted once the state reaches its target of having 80 percent of adult residents fully vaccinated.

Visit the following links to find out more

NSW Premier announces changes to roadmap out of lockdown

NSW has become the first Australian state to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of its population aged 16 and above against COVID-19.

Consequently, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced changes to the NSW roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown.

From Monday,11 October, fully vaccinated people will be given more freedoms, including:

10 adults will be allowed to gather in homes (was previously five)
30 adults will be allowed to gather in public outdoor spaces (previously 20)
Indoor pools will be reopened
The cap on attendance at weddings and funerals has been raised to 100 people (previously 50)
Students in NSW’s lockdown areas will now return to on-site learning at school from 25 October. Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students will still return to face-to-face learning from 18 October.

The Premier has also announced that when NSW hits its target of 80 percent double dose vaccination coverage:

Face masks will not be required in office buildings (However, school teachers will be required to wear masks because children won’t be vaccinated)
20 adults will be allowed to gather in homes
50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors
3,000 people will be able to attend ticketed outdoors events

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