Department of Human Services

Q&A - DHS NGO sector Forum 6 August 2020

This information is subject to change.

Latest information from covid-19.sa.gov.au regarding restrictions, declarations and directions

Email the DHS COVID-19 Team


Responses from Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier

Do we need to do more to distribute Easy Read and translated COVID-19 material to the public, or are there other things that we can assist with?

Health would be delighted if there are other leaders in the sector that could distribute this information, and welcome any assistance that is available.

Many people in group homes and the disability sector are asking whether, if someone gets COVID, they will also be retrieved to hospital like in the aged care sector in South Australia? Would a carer go with them?

Yes. Any disability client in a group residential home would be removed from their residence.

If they remained in their home, there would be a high risk that person would transmit the virus to the other residents.

However, hospital is not the only option for COVID-19 positive people requiring quarantine. In South Australia we are using hotels not just to quarantine returning residents, but as a Medi-Hotel.

COVID-19 positive residents in the disability sector may not necessarily present with physical symptoms, so could be accommodated in a Medi-Hotel facility which is extremely well resourced.

Carers would be considered to accompany clients on a case-by-case basis.

Will there be use of face masks generally as a matter of course?

Health is considering this in the aged care sector in the first instance (please refer to Residential Aged Care directions).

Masks should be worn when you are in close proximity to a client.

Will the State be stipulating no working across multiple sites in aged and disability care?

A personal care worker cannot provide personal care at more than one Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) within 14 days of providing personal care at a different RACF. Please refer to Residential Aged Care directions

This does not apply to disability care facilities.

Should employers and employees be looking at working to a 4-square-metre space, and should we be working at home?

Whilst there has not been any messaging from SA Health about working from home in the current situation, there has also not been any messaging recommending that people should be returning to the office.

People should continue to work from home where they are able to in conversation with their employer.

All meetings should continue to have physical distancing, and continue to use online meeting tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Social distancing and hygiene protocols remain:

  • provide as much space as possible in a room
  • wash hands and clean surfaces regularly
  • conduct activities outside rather than inside.

For social programs, should staff be separated into working across the same group each week to minimise exposure across a broader group?

Yes. This is an excellent idea that should be considered and implemented.

This would reduce the number of people you are interacting with and would make contract tracing much easier.

Responses from Clinical Services Director, SA Pathology, Dr Tom Dodd

People in regional areas are hearing that they need a GP referral to get a test. Is that still correct?

Arrangements will vary in different locations, so in some areas of the State they may be told to go to the GP for a referral.

However, if people with symptoms in the regions present to their local hospital’s COVID-19 testing clinic they will be able to get a swab arranged without any difficulty.

Are people who are tested clearly told that they should isolate at home until their results are known?

Yes. The vast majority of people who come for testing are symptomatic, so it is important to remain isolated until you receive results of the test. Positive results will be communicated quickly.

The only people who do not need to isolate after testing are those who are asymptomatic / essential travellers who are required to have a swab once a week. They are otherwise well, but required to have swabs.

Responses from Assistant Commissioner, SA Police, Noel Bamford APM

If people know someone is not isolating, are they obligated to report them?

Whilst there is no obligation to report someone in this situation, it is recommended that you do. Please contact SA Police on 131444.

Does compliance look difference for different demographics?

The majority of border breaches have been by people aged between 20 and 40 years.

With thin workforces in the disability sector in regional areas, is consideration being given to minimising travel between the country and the city should outbreaks occur in South Australia?

While there are no travel restrictions within SA, we would recommend that anybody traveling in and out of Victoria (under an Essential Traveller approval) minimise their movements within SA.


See the latest information from covid-19.sa.gov.au regarding restrictions, declarations and directions.

Page last updated : 30 Oct 2020

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