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Wednesday 18 November 2020
A message from the Minister for Human Services
To our partners in the community services and disability sectors,
I wish to thank all of you for your continued patience, flexibility and dedication as South Australia faces down a renewed threat from COVID-19. I acknowledge that the restrictions announced today may come as a shock or disappointment for some, but I cannot emphasise how important it is that we all comply with the latest directions to stop the spread.
A full list of the new restrictions that come in to force from midnight tonight will be published at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au. This information will continue to be updated as formal emergency directions are issued.
I know there will be many questions about what these restrictions mean for the sector. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be communicating with you to provide further detailed information as soon as it becomes available, including clarification on the definition of an ‘essential worker’.
DHS, in conjunction with other Government of South Australia agencies, is here to help if you need support or advice. Some of the key initiatives include:
- SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment – a single $300 payment to provide financial support to workers in South Australia who are required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- COVID-19 Relief Call Centre – phone 1300 705 336 for information and assistance, including access to personal hardship support and advice on short-term accommodation options if you cannot safely self-quarantine or self-isolate.
- SA Health COVID-19 information hotline – phone 1800 253 787 (open 7 days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm). Please visit www.covid-19.sa.gov.au first to see if answers to your questions are there, as call volumes to the hotlines are expected to be high.
- SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line – phone 1800 632 753 or chat online (open 8.00am – 8.00pm every day).
Thank you again for all that you do for vulnerable South Australians. We’re in this together.
Minister for Human Services
Message from the DHS Chief Executive
Dear sector colleagues,
I want to thank all NGO representatives that took part in today’s Zoom forum.
While necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, the lock down will have significant impacts on everyone, and especially in the aged care and disability sector.
The department is working with SA Health to manage the specific impacts this will have for us. As we can all appreciate, this is a rapidly changing situation, and we will update you as soon as we know more.
In answer to some of the specific topics discussed today:
- While we wait for clarification of an essential worker, the department has put forward a definition for our sector as being a worker who delivers services without which there’s a risk of harm to vulnerable persons. We will provide further information on this when it comes to hand.
- You can contact SA Health for PPE supplies by emailing HealthPSCMSCOCustomerService@sa.gov.au
- Service providers need to do all they can to limit movement of client services staff across multiple sites.
- SA Health has approved new protocols for home visiting. These are designed for DHS staff that make home visits but may be of use to your organisations as well.
- The South Australian Housing Authority is working through a response for supporting rough sleepers and will provide more information on this soon.
Please take care of yourselves and those around you. This will be a hard six days, but if we all do the right thing and do it together, we have the best chance of containing this outbreak.
I wish to thank you all for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe.
If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au