COVID-19 Service Updates

Considering the recent Newcastle Covid-19 outbreak and the easing of restrictions on 15 December for unvaccinated individuals, we wanted to provide you with an update on our current covid policies and changes to how we provide services.  It’s important that all of us take greater care and diligence surrounding Covid-19 due to the current outbreak and to try and keep everyone together with their families this holiday season.

As you may be aware, from 15 December, some NSW Covid-19 rules have changed including;

  • Density limits no longer apply
  • Proof of vaccination is not required at many venues
  • QR check-ins are now only needed for certain high-contact premises
  • Facemasks no longer need to be worn at many indoor areas

Reference: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules/people-in-nsw

DAS Policy

Despite the easing of restrictions DAS are choosing to implement the following rules during all our supports.

  1. Support Workers will ring Participants prior to attending their shift to understand if the Participant has any COVID-19 symptoms or are at high risk of contracting the illness. This includes asking if:
    1. They have been notified by NSW Health as a close or casual contact.
    2. They have been to any known venues of concern or hotspots within the past week.
    3. If they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  2. Support Workers will wear a mask in ALL indoor settings and in crowded outdoor areas (such as markets or festivals). Face masks can be removed if you are eating, drinking, or participating in rigorous exercise. We are encouraging clients to also wear a mask.
  3. Regular hand hygiene and sanitisation will be used. Support Workers will sanitise their vehicle between shifts and hand sanitiser will be available for Participants during supports.

Covid-19 Notification

We need your help. If you as a Participant become a close contact, casual contact or inflected with Covid-19 we would ask that you contact us as soon as you become aware so we can take appropriate actions to adjust your supports. This may mean cancelling, rescheduling, or ensuring our staff are provided with appropriate person protective equipment.

Similarly, if you have notified us and become aware of a test result, please contact us right away so we can prepare accordingly.

General Advice

With the number of close and casual contacts in the area is increasing, we are recommending against taking any unvaccinated clients into busy shopping centres or indoor commercial environments. If a client wishes to do some shopping or errands, please try to stay away from overcrowded areas or a Support Worker can go into the shops on behalf of the client to pick something up.  What we are trying to avoid is having any Participants become a close contact and be forced into a 14-day isolation period over Christmas.

Vaccinations

You will likely receive a call from your Team Leader over the coming weeks to confirm your vaccination status. Many of you have already confirmed but we will be double checking to assist us with our risk assessments during this current outbreak.

We strongly encourage all our Participants and their families to get vaccinated! If you are not yet vaccinated and would like to be, we can assist in supporting you to obtain your vaccination. Please contact your Team Leader to discuss further.

Online / Telephone Support

Did you know that DAS can offer online, or telephone supports instead of face-to-face for some services?  If you are interested in changing your regular face-to-face support to an online or telephone support please contact your Team Leader to discuss further.

Group Supports

For the time being our group supports are proceeding as planned with increased safety measures.  A covid safe plan will be developed prior to each activity to improve safety for staff and Participants.  Safety measures may include wearing a mask while outdoors, capping group sizes, moving activities to outdoor settings or other appropriate measures. We are taking these steps to maintain our popular group programs but ensure we are doing everything we can to keep people safe.

We know this can be a stressful time of year for many at the best of times.   We want to continue to support you the best we can during this holiday season. Please know that we are all doing the very best we can to take reasonable steps to keep you, your families and ourselves safe from Covid-19. We will continue to communicate openly with you about our services and we will make changes as required to maintain safety for all.

Wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season!

Russell Shaw

Service Director

rshaw@dasnsw.com.au