Department of Human Services

Thursday 23 July 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

We continue to closely monitor the situation in Victoria and NSW as more cases of COVID-19 emerge, and those states grapple with containing the virus in their communities.

In a worrying development, the Victorian Government has indicated that up to 80% of new cases in that state have been driven by transmission in workplaces, including in aged care facilities. In a number of cases it is being transmitted by aged care workers working across multiple facilities. There are now more than 200 cases of COVID-19 from more than 40 aged care homes in Victoria.

We need to learn from this and plan now to change practices and working arrangements. We obviously need to be extra vigilant and follow social distancing and hygiene practices to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread. We also need to look at our workforce, and our practices and procedures to prevent any risk of transmission across services.

Please take this opportunity to think about your workforce arrangements and ways to minimise workers moving between high risk groups and sites during this pandemic. In doing so we all need to think about working arrangements from the perspective of staff and the incentives or disincentives at play.

I am aware that many of you are feeling understandably anxious about the interstate rise in cases and the risk of the virus spreading into SA. As a community and a state we need to maintain high rates of testing and strict border controls at this time.

Some concerns in regard to management of potential COVID-19 cases were raised with DHS at the Supported Independent Living Preparedness Expert Reference Group last week. DHS is working with SA Health now on getting clear responses to those issues.

Please also note there have been small updates to the DHS COVID-19 NGO guidelines. This includes some updates to information on testing for COVID-19, and advice on transitioning back to the office and supporting vulnerable employees.

If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response Team at 0422 004 434 or at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Acting Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 23 July 2020

Page last updated : 23 Jul 2020

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