Tuesday 17 November 2020
Dear sector colleagues,
As we are coming to terms with the current outbreak of COVID-19 in South Australia, SA Health has been working around the clock on testing and contact tracing in an effort to try to contain the spread.
It is heartening to see that despite thousands of tests being carried out over the past few days, the cluster has not grown significantly at this stage.
This is the time that we must all do all we can to help ensure there is no further spread, and for that reason, the State Government has introduced a range of restrictions as of midnight last night.
I encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the restrictions (outlined below) and ensure the continued use of proper hygiene practices, physical distancing and use personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate.
The changes that will have the greatest impact on those of us in the care sector are:
- The total number of people present at a place must not exceed 1 person per 4 square metres (a change from the previous 1 person per 2 square metres rule);
- Carers in residential aged care facilities cannot provide care at a location within 14 days of providing care at another location; and
- Carers are required to wear PPE if they’re within 1.5 meters of a client.
In addition, DHS has sought expert advice from SA Health about the proper guidelines for activities for people with disability in supported independent living arrangements, and we outline that advice in our latest newsletter.
I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate the Premier’s advice that if we can work from home, we should. Like many of your organisations, DHS has many people providing front-line and client services, however we also have many office-based staff. I have asked DHS’ office-based staff to work from home if possible and I would encourage you to do the same. In particular, vulnerable people in our workforces should be encouraged to stay at home and avoid having visitors at the moment.
Thank you all for your continued efforts as we work to contain this outbreak whilst maintaining your supports for South Australia’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. If we all continue to do the right thing, we will get through this together.
I will be meeting with the NGO peaks tomorrow (Wednesday 18 November) and the DHS sector intelligence group on Monday 23 November, and will provide further updates on the COVID-19 situation in South Australia as they become available.
If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response team DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.