Community Based Support Tasmania

Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated at 1:00pm AEST, 21st July 2020

 

Since the announcement of the coronavirus, Community Based Support (CBS) has been actively seeking advice from the Australian Department of Health to ensure we have measures in place that assist in avoiding the spread of the virus.

 

Yesterday, Tasmania recorded its first positive coronavirus case for over 2 months.  The person had returned from Victoria and had been in quarantine since their arrival.  They are now being cared for at the Royal Hobart Hospital in Hobart.

 

With a new active case in the state, we are now reminded that we must remain vigilant to ensure we stop the spread of this terrible virus. The Premier continues to ask all Tasmanians to continue to follow the rules and stay safe.

 

Well done to everyone who has followed the rules to keep us all safe.  You all deserve a pat on the back for such a remarkable effort!

 

The Premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein, is continuing to roll out the governments 3 stage recovery plan.  You can read the full ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ here.

 

We understand that people may be feeling anxious and concerned at this time, so we have developed a range of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below that are designed to educate, but not alarm, all who read them.

 

 

FAQs

 

Q: Where is CBS getting their information from?
A: The Australian Department of Health, the Tasmanian Department of Health and their Chief Medical Officers. We are actively seeking advice and updates from them every day.

 

 

Q: Is CBS providing support to clients during the coronavirus pandemic?

A: Yes.  CBS provides essential services to many thousands of Tasmanians, right across the state.

 

In line with Government advice, some services have temporarily been placed on hold.  These services include Social Groups and Events, and all CBS Social Hubs.

 

We will recommence these services as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

CBS is making contact with clients by telephone, just to ask ‘Are you OK?’. In addition to this, CBS has created a range of guided exercise videos that you can participate in, in the comfort of your own home.  The videos are free and can be accessed here.

 

 

Q: Are the CBS offices still open?

A: Yes.  All our office based staff have now returned to working from the office.

 

 

 

Q: Can I still come into the CBS offices.

A: Yes. However, to help protect our clients and staff during this time, we ask that you refrain from coming into our offices unless it is absolutely necessary.  You can contact us by telephone on our state-wide number 1300 227 827 or by email at admin@cbsaust.org.au

 

If you do need to come to any of our offices, all visitors are asked to read the signs at the front of the building before entering and to wash their hands with soap and water before reporting to reception or interacting with any other person on site.

 

 

Q: What are CBS support workers doing to help prevent the spread of the virus to CBS clients?
A: In addition to the normal precautions, like washing hands, and wearing gloves and booties (when required), all CBS support workers, including all CBS contractors and volunteers, have been instructed to:

 

  • wash their hands at the start of every shift they have with CBS clients and wear gloves. They will repeat this process where necessary throughout the shift.  At the end of the shift, the CBS worker will exit the client’s home before removing their gloves and placing them into a disposable bag. They will do this before getting into their car.  The CBS staff member must dispose of the bag, and its contents, in their own outside bin at the end of each day. This is the best way to avoid cross-contamination and to minimise the spread of the virus;
  • not come to work and seek medical advice from their doctor, if they experience any of the symptoms of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath;
  • self-isolate for 14 days if they have returned from any overseas or interstate travel;
  • ask each and every client a series of questions prior to entering the clients home. (These questions are highlighted below) This helps us to avoid the potential spread of the virus from one client to another.

 

 

Q: Are all CBS staff required to have a Flu Vaccination?
A: Yes.  In line with advice provided to CBS by the Australian Government Department of Health, all CBS Support Workers working in the Aged Care sector across the state have now been vaccinated.

 

While it is not mandatory, to help prevent further illness during this pandemic, all CBS office staff have also now been vaccinated.

 

 

Q: Does CBS provide its workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
A: Yes. These are available to all CBS staff. CBS staff can pick them up from one of our main office locations – 24 Sunderland Street, Moonah; or 42 Canning Street, Launceston.

 

At this stage, it is mandatory that all staff wear gloves during every visit they have with clients.

 

Booties are required only when delivering personal care services, such as showering, where splash back of water occurs.

 

Other PPE is available on a case by case basis.

 

If staff cannot get to an office, they simply call Aaron McClurg, Executive Manager People and Culture, and he will arrange for the products to be sent to them.

 

 

Q: Does CBS provide its workers with face masks?
A: At this stage, we have been advised that it is not necessary for healthy people to be wearing masks. It is only necessary for people who are caring for someone with confirmed coronavirus to wear masks. This may change as the situation evolves.

 

 

Q: Is CBS providing hand sanitiser to all of their staff?
A: No. CBS has been advised that hand sanitisers are not as effective as regularly washing your hands and wearing gloves.

 

 

Q: What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
A: Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

 

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus. If you have concerns, please call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080.

 

 

Q: I am worried I might have the virus. What should I do?
A: You should call the coronavirus hotline or your doctor for advice.

 

The coronavirus hotline number is 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

 

If you are seeking advice from your doctor, please do not turn up without warning, always call them first.  Or, if you are having trouble breathing, or it is an emergency, call 000 for an ambulance.  ONLY CALL AN AMBULANCE IF IT IS AN EMERGENCY.

 

 

Q: I work in the aged care industry and I am worried I might have the virus. What should I do?

A: The Government has agreed to expand the current coronavirus testing criteria to include testing of aged and residential care workers with fever or acute respiratory infection.

 

The testing criteria is set out in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Communicable Disease Network Australia guidelines for Public Health Units.  As per the guidelines, aged or residential care workers who have a fever (≥ 38C) or history of fever (eg: night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) must be tested.

 

Aged care workers should access testing under existing arrangements.  These may include collection of samples and testing by Public Health Units, or collection of samples (for example by GPs or other health workers or pathology collection centre staff) and testing by private providers.

 

 

Q: Can I still get support from CBS if I have to self-isolate or if I get coronavirus?
A: No. However, in conjunction with advice from the Department of Health, CBS will look into service options available to ensure you are supported during this time. This will be handled on a case by case basis.

 

 

Q: Does everyone who gets coronavirus die from it?
A: No, only a small number of people die from coronavirus.  Most people will get mild cold and flu like symptoms. Older people and people with pre-existing serious medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

 

 

Q: CBS staff are asking me personal questions about the coronavirus when they visit me? Why are they doing this?
A: Because CBS staff work with some of the most vulnerable people across Tasmania, we are taking every precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus. To that effect, we ask all of our clients some precautionary questions to make sure we are not spreading the virus from one client to another. We are very grateful to you for answering these questions and for helping us to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

The questions our staff ask include:

  • Have you, or anyone you have had close contact with, been diagnosed with coronavirus?
  • Have you been directed to self-isolate?
  • Have you, or anyone you have had close contact with, recently returned to Tasmania from anywhere interstate or overseas?
  • Do you have any symptoms associated with coronavirus? Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

 

If any client answers “yes”, to any of these questions, our staff are required to NOT ENTER the home and call the CBS main office immediately for further advice and instruction.

 

For any client who does not have capacity to fully understand and respond to these questions, CBS staff will contact the most appropriate responsible person (eg. Parent, guardian, carer etc..) to ascertain the persons status in relation to these questions.  This helps CBS to ensure the provision of supports are safe for clients as well as staff.

 

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus. If you have concerns, please call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080.

 

Please note: we have highlighted these questions to ensure ease of access for our staff.

 

 

Q: Is there anything else I can do to better understand coronavirus and be prepared?

A: Yes. The Department of Health has prepared some training modules that anyone can log into and complete.  This link will take you to a page to register before you log in.

 

The Australian Government Department of Health has instructed that all CBS staff are required to undertake and complete the Infection Control Training and the Module 1 Personal Safety Training.  This training is mandatory and must be completed by 4th May 2019. When staff register for this training, they must register as a ‘Carers or Care Worker’ to ensure they are able to access all relevant modules. When completed, staff must email a copy of the certificate of completion to Monique at Monique.sanderson@cbsaust.org.au.

 

 

Q: I am feeling scared / anxious about the coronavirus. Where can I get help?
A: There are a number of organisations offering assistance to people during this time. Some of the below may be helpful to you:

 

Online resources and forums

Beyond Blue

Feeling anxious or stressed about COVID-19? Beyond Blue has an online forum for people to share their concerns and connect with others.

 

Black Dog Institute

Feelings of anxiety are common in uncertain times. Black Dog Institute has tools and resources to deal with this stress. For individuals, workplaces, schools, parents, and health professionals.

 

Heads Up

Focuses on promoting better mental health in the workplace with useful resources for all sections of a business. The section Work and your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak has information for coping with COVID-19.

 

Head to Health

The section COVID-19 Support offers tips for dealing with the stress and impact caused by coronavirus on our mental health and wellbeing.

 

ReachOut

Offers online forums for young people and parents/guardians about COVID-19 offering peer support in safe and established online communities. ReachOut has resources to help you manage your wellbeing through this times.

 

SANE

Has an online forum that separates fact from fiction about COVID-19 and provides self-care strategies.

 

Speak up Stay ChatTY

Has tips on maintaining normality for working at home by creating new daily routines, including reaching out to friends and colleagues, getting lunch prepared and dressing in work gear. See also the section COVID-19 and Your Mental Health.

 

1800RESPECT

For some people, home is not the safest place. Self isolation and increased stress during COVID-19 may see the potential for an increase in domestic violence incidents. It’s important for people to keep in touch with those who may be in an unsafe situation.  1800RESPECT has counsellors available 24/7, via phone and webchat.

 

24 Hour Support Lines

If you need to talk, the following support lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

Lifeline – 13 11 14

MensLine – 1300 789 978

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732

Kid’s Helpline 1800 659 467

 

 

Q: Where can I get the most up to date information about coronavirus?
A: There are a few reliable and trustworthy sources of information on coronavirus:

 

The Australian Department of Health – https://www.health.gov.au/

 

The Australian Department of Health Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/healthgovau

 

The Tasmanian Department of Health Coronavirus website – www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au

 

The Premier of Tasmania provides a live update every morning on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/petergutweinmp/

 

The World Health Organisation – https://www.who.int/

 

The National Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080.  It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

 

 

The following information is for CBS staff regarding income assistance options during the coronavirus crisis

 

Increase and accelerated income support

https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/increased-and-accelerated-income-support

 

Expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time‑limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months and will not be income tested.

 

 

Early access to superannuation

https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/early-access-to-superannuation

 

Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from mid-April 2020.

 

For both: If you are not already registered with Services Australia and myGov, please do so.  Registration is required in order for you to apply.