Please find the following information providing staff with an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The message is quite clear from all government announcements and media news stories released over the past week, that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.
This unprecedented health crisis remains a very real threat to all Australians, and the wider international community.
The reported outbreaks occurring throughout Melbourne are indicative of how contagious COVID-19 is, and highlights the importance of maintaining infection control practices during this time.
Whilst NSW rural and regional communities have not yet experienced the increasing number of positive cases reported in other areas, there are no guarantees that this will be maintained going forward.
Staff should seriously consider their personal travel plans and not travel to known COVID-19 hotspots. If you must / need to travel to a hotspot, please talk this through with your Team Leader / Manager.
If staff have already visited a COVID-19 hotspot, health authorities recommend that they get COVID-19 tested, and may attend work if they are asymptomatic while waiting for their results.
Anyone with the following symptoms should be tested:
Fever, Chills or Sweats.
Shortness of breath.
Loss of sense of smell or taste.
I strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant, and not become complacent, ensuring that you abide by the community safety guidelines at all times.
Easing of Pandemic Restrictions
Last week, I provided staff with an update on the easing of pandemic restrictions with some changes becoming effective 29 June 2020.
Further to that announcement, I can confirm that team meetings may now be conducted at Corporate Office / Central West Office sites, in line with recommendations on physical distancing set out by the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Notices will be placed at room entrances providing information on how many people are permitted to attend the meeting based on the room size e.g. Macauley Room, Training and / or the Chapel. Importantly, staff must maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others, and there remains a maximum limit of 20 people per individual group, however room size may reduce that limit accordingly.
Beyond this update, given the evolving situation in Melbourne, it has been decided that there will be no further easing of pandemic restrictions, until further notice.
This means staff rostering changes introduced in late March 2020 will remain in place until further notice also.
Further, if the situation worsens and we start to see an increase in localised infections throughout the Albury / Orange regions, eased restrictions may be reinstated and / or further restrictions introduced.
Please note that during such times as these, everyone will experience some feelings of vulnerability; including our participants, their families / guardians, and our staff.
As I speak with various people and teams across our organisation, I continue to hear similar themes arising from time to time, which include feelings of fatigue, helplessness, hopelessness, and melancholy.
Staff are encouraged to seek support from our dedicated Employee Assistance Program provider (EAP) who has developed tools and strategies for staff to utilise as restrictions continue to ease and we begin to see the new ‘normal’.
AccessEAP can provide support staff whatever the nature of concerns.
For a confidential conversation with one of our experienced clinical professionals, please contact AccessEAP on 1800 818 728 or www.accesseap.com.au.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for their continued efforts, support and positivity to ensure we continue to support people in need to live fulfilled lives.
Despite the circumstances, it is very pleasing to see how well our participants and staff are responding to this unprecedented health crisis.