August COVID Safe update
As Victoria battles through a cold winter and experiences large case numbers of COVID-19 in the community, it’s more important than ever to stay COVID Safe using PPE, hygiene and social distancing procedures that have kept our community safe throughout the pandemic.
A huge thank you to all of you who have worked hard to stay safe and do your bit for the community though this time.
As we head into August, it's a good time to remember the measures below that help keep us safe.
Testing after infection
The period when someone is considered a recently confirmed case and therefore exempt from testing and isolation/quarantine requirements has been revised to 4 weeks (28 days), down from 12 weeks. This reflects the emerging evidence that new variants of COVID-19 can evade prior immunity gained from infection and may cause reinfection. This means that 4 weeks from testing positive for COVID-19 you should be re-testing if you're unwell or have symptoms. Read more here.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Masks are required to be worn during the provision of services in the home and in the community in Victoria.
Please ensure you are wearing a mask at all times when providing services. Wearing a face mask protects you and your community by providing an additional physical barrier to coronavirus (COVID-19).
All AQA Support Workers are provided an allowance per hour of service delivery to allow for the cost of self providing masks, this is calculated based on hours worked.
Please ensure you are sourcing and bringing masks with you to shifts at all times, if you are having difficulty procuring masks please contact AQA.
Follow these easy steps to effectively don and doff face masks.
To put on your mask (donning)
Ensure you have clean hands before putting on your mask, wash and dry your hands before putting on the mask.
Use the ear loops to place the mask over your face and ears, making sure the mask covers your nose, mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face.
Press down firmly on the nose wire to create a seal and ensure the mask is conforming to your face. To test, take a deep breath in and out, if the mask moves in and out with your breaths you have created a good seal.
Do not touch the front of the mask while wearing it. If you do touch the mask, wash or sanitise your hands immediately. Do not allow the mask to hang around your neck.
To take off your mask off (doffing)
Ensure you have clean hands before removing your mask.
Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loop, avoid touching the front of the mask.
Fold the mask from the inside out and dispose of the mask in a double bagged waste bin.
Wash and dry your hands after removing the mask.
PPE Donning and Doffing link: https://www.health.vic.gov.au/media/19448
Safe disposal of PPE after use
Single-use PPE should be placed in a double-bagged plastic or paper bags and disposed of outside in the general waste bin. Thoroughly clean your hands before and after carrying rubbish to your general waste bin or moving bins to and from the kerbside. Don’t place PPE in any recycling bins.
Hand washing and social distancing
Please remember to exercise good hand hygiene, regularly washing your hands is still one of the safest ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.
How to practice good hand hygiene
Wet your hand and apply soap
Rub the soap over all parts of your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse your hands under running water.
Dry your hands with a paper towel or hand dryer.
Alternatively, if you are unable to wash your hands use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol and do not touch your hands or face.
Keep your distance, stay 1.5 metres away from people when reasonably practicable.
When providing services try to limit close contact to as short a time as possible, 15 minutes where reasonably practicable.
Greet people with a smile or wave - don’t shake hands, hug or kiss as a greeting.
Keep 1.5 metres away from other people within households where you can.
On 7 July, ATAGI expanded the eligibility criteria for a fourth dose (winter dose) to help reduce severe illness from COVID-19.
Winter doses are now available to:
adults aged 50 years and above (strongly recommended)
adults aged 30 and above now have the option to receive a winter dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligible people can receive their winter dose three months after receiving their third dose or after having COVID-19 if infection has occurred since the person’s third dose.
Winter doses are available at Victorian vaccination centres now, or at your local GP, pharmacy or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. For more details, visit: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/get-vaccinated
Get vaccinated at your GP or local pharmacy
The easiest and fastest way to get vaccinated this winter is through your GP or local pharmacy.
Being up to date with vaccination is your best protection against severe illness. If you haven’t already, book your third or winter fourth dose at your GP or local pharmacy.
Pandemic payments and RATs
Extension of pandemic leave disaster payment
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to 30 September 2022. This payment provides support for people who cannot earn an income because they or someone they’re caring for has to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
Extension of free rapid antigen tests for people with disability
The availability of free rapid antigen tests for people with disability has been extended to 30 September 2022. Eligible people with disability in Victoria can access 20 free RATs per visit from state-run testing sites and from Disability Liaison Officers. Carers can also access the tests on behalf of eligible people with disability.
Eligible people include NDIS participants, disability support pensioners, and people with a disability who receive a TAC benefit. Evidence of eligibility, such as an NDIS or TAC statement, is required. People unable to attend a state-run testing site can request Disability Liaison Officer support or email DLOcoordinator@dhhs.vic.gov.au
If you test positive on a RAT, contact AQA immediately, and report it to the Victorian Department of Health here.
For more information on COVID Safe practices and available government support visit Victoria's coronavirus website.
Thank you to our amazing support workers
Clients, staff and directors of AQA came together in 2020 to compile a video that expresses their appreciation and gratitude for the resilience of disability support workers and carers.