Department of Human Services

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Thursday 22 July 2021

A message from the Minister for Human Services

To our partners across the community services and disability sectors,

I wish to sincerely thank you for your continuous dedication as we face yet another threat from COVID-19 — this time with the more virulent Delta strain.

The announcement of a week-long lockdown was met with decisive action by organisations from across the state and demonstrated yet again how the sector can rapidly come together to support vulnerable South Australians.

The feedback I am receiving is that organisations and their employees have gone above and beyond to respond quickly to the challenges, working collaboratively with their partners and government to provide much needed support and relief.

I am grateful for your responsiveness which ensures we can continue to offer the very best of services to community members through this difficult period.

I cannot emphasise how important your support for the latest directions is. These directions give our South Australian community the best chance of keeping South Australia safe and strong.  Please continue to encourage your workforce, clients, family and friends to follow these vital directions.

I also ask that you urge them to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. A vaccinated population is a safe population.

I know there are many questions about what these restrictions mean for the sector. The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) will continue communicating with you to provide detailed information as soon as it becomes available. 

DHS and SAHA 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 to 8.00pm every day).
  • Homeless Connect SA – phone 1800 003 308 24/7 to assist people in crisis to comply with COVID-19 directions – offering advice, services and emergency accommodation.
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Line – phone 1800 800 098 24/7 for assistance with safe accommodation, counselling or information

Please visit NGO COVID-19 Support or follow @HumanServicesSA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to receive further updates.

Thank you again for all that you do for vulnerable South Australians.  

Michelle Lensink 
Minister for Human Services


A message from the Chief Executive

Dear sector colleagues,

Firstly, I want to sincerely thank you all for responding so quickly to the seven-day lockdown that was implemented on Tuesday evening to ensure that  we can continue to prosper and work together through this difficult period.

Understandably, feelings of anxiety are common in the uncertainty of a lockdown, and many people may feel upset, anxious, or frustrated. As we retreat to our homes, it's important to be mindful of the impacts of this uncertainty and isolation. For mental health and wellbeing support services, please refer to the Minister's message above. SA Health also have the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre fully operational during lockdown.

To further assist with feelings of anxiety and isolation bought upon by the lockdown, the SA Government has today announced a change in direction to allow single people to visit a friend or partner. A single person over the age of 16, who does not live with a spouse or other partner is able to visit another person (including a friend, relative, support person or a person they are in a relationship) if:

  • The single person is the only person in the house at the time at the visit; or
  • The single person is a sole parent, and the only other people present in the single person’s home at time of the visit are children; or
  • The people were in a relationship prior to the Level 5, Stay at Home Direction.

New positive cases and exposure sites

There are two new positive cases of COVID-19 recorded in South Australia in the last 24 hours taking the total number of active cases to 14. Both cases are linked to the Tenafeate Creek Winery at Yattalunga.

SA Health have now identified over 70 exposure sites associated with the latest cases. Reinforcing the communications we shared previously, I highly recommend you keep track of the growing list of identified locations by visiting the below SA Health website regularly:

Despite the new cases, the early indicators from the Premier are that South Australians are doing the right thing and that we are all working together as a state to protect our friends, families, and broader community, and ensure we stop this latest outbreak early in its tracks.

Over 17,500 COVID-19 tests and results were returned yesterday while there was a state record number of vaccinations. The Premier announced that additional resources have been allocated to assist frontline staff at 86 testing facilities across the state to meet the growing demand. This includes a dedicated rapid testing site for those who have been directed by SA Health to get tested immediately and quarantine, more staff to assist with testing and longer opening hours at testing locations.

Testing and Vaccination

It is crucial we continue to get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms at all, no matter how minor. There are a total of 86 testing facilities available for you to visit. You can find your nearest site from a full list of clinics and testing centres available on the SA Health website.

For those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, the advice from our health officials is to get vaccinated. Vaccination works and is the single most effective measure to protect against infection and serious cases of COVID-19. You can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website.

If you’re unable to book an immediate vaccination appointment due to supply and/or increased demand, please continue to check in with your local vaccination centres and/or request to be contacted when appointments become available. Appointment spots are updated regularly so there is always the opportunity for you to secure an earlier vaccination.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 22 July 2021

Page last updated : 30 Sep 2021

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