Community Based Support Tasmania

Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated at 2:00pm AEST, 18 January 2021

 

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.

 

Tasmania’s border restrictions have changed from Monday 26th October 2020.  The Premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein, has announced that Tasmania’s borders will be open to travellers from low-risk areas.

 

This news, coupled with the easing of some restrictions, means that all Tasmanians need to be more vigilant than ever to ensure the health and safety of the people who both live in and visit our beautiful state.

 

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!

 

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.

 

 

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, CBS has now resumed all its normal services including Social Hubs, Social Groups and Spring Cleaning services.  We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation over time and will make adjustments as necessary.

 

 

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 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, returned to Tasmania from anywhere overseas (except New Zealand), a cruise ship or one of the medium-risk areas in New South Wales and Queensland in the past 14 days?
  • 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: 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.

CBS welcomes all visitors to its offices however, when you do visit, we ask that you read the signs at the entrance and follow any instructions before, during and after your visit.  Instructions include temperature checking and washing their hands before interacting with any staff or other visitors in the buildings.

 

 

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 are returning to Tasmania after spending time in any Medium or High-risk areas (click here for more information about Low, Medium and High-risk areas);
  • 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 splashback of water occurs.

 

Other PPE is available on a case by case basis.

 

If staff cannot get to an office, they simply call Mark Wild, Executive Manager Corporate Service, 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.

 

 

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. 

 

Hand sanitiser is available for use by those visiting any CBS office or Social Hub.

 

 

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 national coronavirus helpline on 1800 020 080.

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

 

 

Q: I am worried I might have the virus. What should I do?

A: You should call the national coronavirus helpline or your doctor for advice.

 

The national coronavirus helpline 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: 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 instructed that all CBS staff undertake and complete the Infection Control Training and Module 1 Personal Safety Training.  This training has now been completed by all staff.

 

 

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 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 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.