Coronavirus (Covid 19) - Sydney Lockdown 14.07.21
Our thoughts are with all of our Members, Helpers and Five Good Friends staff who live in Greater Sydney. 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 NSW government coronavirus website.
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.
What does this mean for Helpers in NSW?
Visits can continue during the lockdown period in Greater Sydney. Helpers who work in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) must follow scenario 2B in the Standard Operating Procedure including wearing a mask, gloves and apron for all visits. If you do not have disposable aprons, you must 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.
Helpers in NSW, outside of Greater Sydney, must follow scenario 2C in the Standard Operating Procedure including wearing a mask to attend visits.
Greater Sydney COVID-19 testing requirements
New Health Directions have been issued by the NSW Government which require:
- Helpers who reside in Fairfield LGA and work outside of Fairfield LGA to have a COVID-19 test every 72 hours and to be able to present evidence of this to their employer or a police officer if stopped.
- Helpers who reside in Greater Sydney and work outside of these LGA areas to have a COVID-19 test every 7 days and be able to present evidence of this to their employer or a police officer if stopped.
PLEASE note that Helpers living in Fairfield LGA have until 16 July to be tested and in Greater Sydney until 18 July to be tested. Details of testing centres around Fairfield can be found here.
The Directions indicate a text as suitable evidence, other suggestions include a screenshot.
We will be reaching out directly to the affected Helpers to discuss these requirements. This is a requirement of Five Good Friends and all workers (including Helpers and Employees) to comply with this Direction. Please let us know if you are affected by this requirement and have concerns.
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 NSW Police, other emergency officers or Commonwealth officers.
Public exposure sites
The NSW 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 remains a priority for everyone
We continue to urge everyone, Helpers, Members and Five Good Friends staff, to be vigilant in their management of COVID-19 and any symptoms. This includes cancelling visits if you have any concerns. We have written to all Members in Greater Sydney to ask for their understanding if you do have to cancel.
Please ensure you follow the existing process to contact other Primary Helpers in the Member's Care Team to replace the visit. If you are unable to cover the visit within the Care Team we will work very hard to support you and replace your visit.
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. You can also contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice.
To arrange testing you can visit a COVID-19 testing clinic in your area.
Please call your Workforce Coordinator on 07 3532 0796 to advise if you are going to be tested.
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.
We are also now required to report Helper and Employee vaccinations to the Department of Health commencing on 27 July 2021. This includes reporting the first and second dose.
Please continue to send through your records of vaccination (both doses) to email@example.com and we greatly appreciate the records we have received to date.
Record of vaccination
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.