Department of Human Services

Looking after staff

Q: How can my NGO access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

A: SA Health is coordinating PPE requirements across government and NGOs. Any requests sent federally get referred to SA Health. We suggest going directly to SA Health.

Send PPE enquiries to the SA Health Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

Email HealthPSCMSCOCustomerService@sa.gov.au
Phone 8425 9200 and then press option three.

Q: What exactly is the message about working from home?

A: Service providers know their own business best but, in the current environment, DHS is encouraging people to work from home wherever possible.

Working from home will not always be possible due to the front line and essential nature of our work. We will continue to take advice from the state and national health authorities about how to remain safe while providing critical personal care.

We encourage you to plan for a potential decrease in staff availability due to illness, carer duties, isolation requirements or vulnerabilities that prevent staff from fulfilling their normal duties.

Q: Will we require our carers to have safety plans within their own homes?

A: This will not be a formal requirement but should be considered for the best interests of carers and their clients.

Q: Flu season is approaching. Apart from standard flu vaccinations, are there any measures in place to try and prevent people getting flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

A: While the flu vaccination does not protect against COVID-19, a flu vaccination is critical to protecting Australians from influenza.

Health officials are recommending influenza vaccinations this year, and every year, to protect the community. The actions that we take to slow the spread of COVID-19 can also stop the spread of influenza and other viruses.

Those actions are:

  • practising good hygiene
  • practising social distancing
  • following the Government’s directions on public gatherings and workplaces, and
  • understanding how and when to self-isolate.

Flu (influenza) immunisation service - Australian Government Department of Health

Q: Will prioritised COVID-19 testing occur for particular client groups?

A: Australia has one of the most rigorous coronavirus testing systems in the world.

Testing in South Australia was originally focused on specific groups including vulnerable people and health workers, but now testing has been expanded across the community to people with relevant symptoms. SA Health provides information on how to access a test.

SA Health information on how to get tested for COVID-19

Q: What long term follow-up will occur of recovered COVID-19 cases?

A: The steps to be taken once a patient completes their period of self-isolation is detailed in the CDMA National Guidelines for Public Health Units, which is endorsed by the AHPPC.

Q: What resources are available for mental health support?

A: This is an unsettling time for our community, and it is normal to feel concern and worry.

If you are seeking support go to the SA Health COVID-19 Mental Health Support page.

For mental health support by phone and video in relation to COVID-19, you can contact the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line. This service can also provide follow-up calls.

Phone 1800 632 753 (8.00 am to 8.00 pm every day)

Q: How and who do we notify if a care worker contracts coronavirus and has been in contact with children and/or young people, other workers or any site or property (including motor vehicles)?

A: In line with advice from SA Health, anyone being tested for coronavirus must be directed away from the workplace until the results of their test is confirmed.

If coronavirus is confirmed, the employee must work with SA Health regarding contact tracing and further isolation requirements.

The service provider is asked to immediately advise DHS of a confirmed case.

Email to DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.

DHS COVID-19 Guidelines for NGOS

Q: What are the responsibilities of community providers if someone we support, who lives in their own home, is diagnosed positive with COVID-19?

Are we (the service staff) expected to do the forensic clean, or is this handled by SA Health?

Also, if a person tests positive and remains at home, does the health provider provide the required PPE for our staff to continue daily support?

A: Cleaning in the event of a positive COVID-19 case

SA Health will support the provider in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

SA Health’s Communicable Control Diseases Branch will liaise with the provider and seek information about the case to conduct contact tracing.

SA Health can provide advice on cleaning.

SA Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health have developed fact sheets explaining the most effective cleaning procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. These fact sheets are available on the NGO sector page on our website.

SA Health Fact Sheet - Cleaning and disinfection in the workplace (PDF 305KB)

Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for COVID-19 (PDF 670 KB)

A: PPE (personal protective equipment)

SA Health is coordinating PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements across government and NGOs. Send PPE enquiries to the SA Health Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

Email HealthPSCMSCOCustomerService@sa.gov.au
Phone 8425 9200 and then press option three.

Q: Why are NDIS providers required to undertake increased levels of reporting at the same time they are putting in place COVID-19 plans?

For example:

  • Reporting of flu vaccinations for both staff and clients on a weekly basis to DHS. Why is this expected from a non-funding body?
  • Reporting of a COVID-19 case to DHS and NDIS Commission?

A: Reporting of flu vaccinations to DHS

DHS requests this information on a voluntary basis. A number of providers have indicated their staff are having difficulty accessing flu shots this year. DHS is looking into where there are problems with accessing a flu shot, so we can work with SA Health to ensure front-line workers get access.

It is strongly recommended that front-line workers get a flu shot.

A: Reporting of a COVID-19 case to both DHS and NDIS Commission

Obviously, SA Health are going to be involved as they will have provided the test and will be responsible for care and contact tracing

The NDIA requires reporting of COVID-19 cases by providers.

DHS also asks for any cases to be reported to the department - this is not mandatory, but it will help us understand where risks exist and ensure that impacted providers get appropriate support.

Please report any COVID-19 cases to DHSCovidResponse@sa.gov.au and a phone line is also being set up for the NGO sector to report cases to DHS.

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Page last updated : 15 May 2020

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