Coronavirus (Covid 19) - SE QLD Lockdown 02.08.21

Helpers Health Care
Coronavirus (Covid 19)  - SE QLD Lockdown 02.08.21

Our thoughts are with all of our Members, Helpers and Five Good Friends staff who live in South East Queensland. A lockdown is difficult and we will continue working hard to maintain services and the safety and wellbeing of everyone. You can find information about the lockdown on the QLD government coronavirus website.

COVID-19 Delta Strain

According to the Department of Health, outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant have additional implications compared to previous COVID-19 outbreaks. The Delta strain has greater transmissibility and evidence suggestions infections with this variant may be associated with more severe disease, particularly in younger people. It is more important than ever that Helpers, Members and Five Good Friends staff are vigilant in their management of COVID-19. Please take the time to read this article thoroughly.

What does this mean for Helpers in QLD?

Lockdown restrictions have been extended for South East Queensland until 4pm on Sunday 8th August 2021. Visits can continue during the lockdown. Scenario 2b applies in the Standard Operating Procedure, this includes wearing a mask, gloves and apron for all visits, for the below Local Government areas:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Gold Coast
  • City of Ipswich
  • Lockyer Valley Regional Council
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Noosa Shire Council
  • Redland City
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council
  • Somerset Regional Council
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Helpers outside of these LGA's in QLD will follow Scenario 1a in the Standard Operating Procedure. Scenario 3 applies if visiting a Member who is awaiting the outcome of a test for COVID-19, showing signs or symptoms, has been directed to isolate or has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment & Infection Control

Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are readily available in the community. If you are having trouble securing supplies you can order PPE through Five Good Friends. You must ensure you know how to properly apply and dispose of PPE. Information and directives on how to do this are contained in the resources section of the SOP.

We have received feedback from Helpers that aprons may be difficult to source in the community. As stated in the SOP as an alternative, if you do not have disposable aprons you can remove and change the outer layer of your clothing after leaving the Member's home; this applies whether you are visiting another Member or returning home. We will be updating our PPE order form shortly so you can order disposable aprons directly from FGF.

We encourage Helpers to remain current with the infection control training and to complete the Department of Health COVID-19 Infection Control course again if you haven't done so recently. The course is available here.

Essential care worker proof for lockdown areas

Use the Five Good Friends App along with your drivers licence to verify you are a Helper (essential care worker). Within the App you have your Helper Brokerage Agreement which you can show, you also have your photo and the address of the Member you are visiting. For privacy and confidentiality reasons only disclose the address of the Member if requested by QLD Police, other emergency officers or Commonwealth officers.

Public exposure sites

The QLD Government's coronavirus website provide a list of all current public exposure sites and the health advice to be followed if you were in attendance during the identified time period. This information can be found here.

Testing is a priority for everyone

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose, chills or sweat, even if these are mild, please get tested as soon as possible.

Please call the Helper Hotline on 07 3532 0796 to advise if you are going to be tested.

To arrange testing you can visit a COVID-19 testing clinic in your area.

We have written to all Members in SE Queensland to ask for their understanding if you do have to cancel services due to being tested for COVID-19.

Rescheduling Services

We encourage you to liaise directly with your Members to discuss any non-essential services which may be able to be rescheduled for another time, such as yard maintenance or community access for social activities. Please update the App if you are cancelling or rescheduling any services in consultation with your Members. If you require any assistance with this or have any concerns about your visits please contact your Helper Coordinator on 07 3532 0796.

COVID-19 Safe work practices

As we have been communicating regularly with you through SMS and the App, we have developed a regularly updated resource for all Five Good Friends staff, Helpers and Members. Our COVID-19 Safe work practices and Standard Operating Procedure are informed by Commonwealth and State Departments of Health. These documents provide guidance on how to safely manage and deliver services.

Vaccination

Commonwealth and State health departments as well as expert health advisors such as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) strongly encourage vaccination. If you want to know more about how COVID-19 vaccines are tested and approved, the Department of Health has information and a video available on their website. The National Centre for Immunisation Research also provides comprehensive information on the vaccinations.

A range of videos for aged care workers are now available in 15 languages about how and where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The videos also include information about COVID-19 vaccine safety and how the COVID-19 vaccines work.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Members, Helpers, staff and the community Five Good Friends is following the advice of the AHPPC and recommending vaccination.

We understand there may be reasons (e.g. medical) that prevent vaccination. Based on expert health advice from organisations including the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee), Australian governments may issue enforceable directives and public health orders in the future which specify mandatory requirements to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work in areas with a higher level of risk. We are monitoring and preparing for these directives.

We have seen an increase in Members who are requesting vaccinated Helpers. Where this is possible we are trying to meet those requests.

Record of vaccination

Please continue to send through your records of vaccination (both doses) to recruitment@fivegoodfriends.com.au and we greatly appreciate the records we have received to date.

You can get your immunisation and vaccination history statement using either:

If you can’t use Medicare online you can call the Australian Immunisation Register and ask for your immunisation history statement to be sent to you. It can take up to 14 days to arrive in the post.

Thank you for being a helper on the Five Good Friends platform. You are working in an incredibly important sector at an incredibly important time. Your kind help and support makes a difference to your Members and their loved ones.