There’s been a lot of talk in the media and unrest throughout society given the spread of the coronavirus.
Given the seventh confirmed case in the state of Tasmania, we feel it’s our responsibility to provide a response to the crisis.
Carers Tasmania are committed to providing the highest quality of support to carers throughout their caring journey. We are currently closely monitoring the situation in regards to the impact of COVID-19, and its effect on Tasmania as a whole, and specifically carers. To support this commitment, we have compiled the following information regarding the disease, and the potential impacts on carers.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of the virus include: a fever, general flu-like symptoms such as coughing, fatigue, sore throat and a shortness of breath.
How does the virus spread?
The virus most commonly spreads through:
- Close contact with someone affected
- Airborne contact from an infected persons cough or sneeze
- Touching surfaces that have couch or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your face
What can I do to protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Cover your coughs and sneeze’s with your elbow or a tissue, and dispose correctly
- If you feel unwell, avoid direct contact with others where possible
- Avoid touching your face, mouth and eyes where possible
How do I protect someone that I care for?
The best thing that you can do to protect those in your care from the virus is consistent, good hygiene practices. Outlined above are practical measures that can be taken to reduce your chances in contracting the virus, as well as spreading it to those within your care.
If you feel unwell, or exhibit the known symptoms of COVID-19 it is best, where possible to avoid direct contact with others where possible. We understand that this is difficult for many within a caring role – if you are having difficulty finding someone to relieve you of your caring duties, the following steps may also be helpful:
- Wear a face-mask when in the proximity of others
- When possible, keep more than a metre of space between yourself and the person you’re caring for
- Regularly clean and sanitise surfaces that both you and the person you care for come in contact with
What if I need to self-isolate?
Currently, the only groups of people required to self-isolate are those who have returned from international travel in the last 14 days, and those who have been in contact with a proven case in the last 14 days.
However, in the case that you are required to self-isolate and require additional support don’t hesitate to phone us on 03 6144 2729.
Given the negative effects of the virus on the Australian economy, the Government are providing a one-off payment of $750 to approximately 6.5 million Australians.
These payments will be automatically provided to the current recipients of government benefits, including those receiving the Aged pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payments and Carer Allowances. For more information about the scheme, and a full list of those eligible click here.
The NDIS have developed a comprehensive response and action plan for those currently participating in the scheme. Click here to view the response from the NDIS, which includes essential information and a comprehensive FAQs section. If you’re an NDIS participant and are concerned about your exposure to the virus, contact the Department of Health’s dedicated hotline at 1800 020 080.
Impact on education
The Department of Education have taken precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 amongst school children. While no public schools are currently closed due to the virus, schools have adopted practices to promote social distancing between students. This means that activities like assemblies, excursions, camps, and sports carnivals are until further notice. For more information, and to stay updated click here.
Impact on travel
On Thursday the 19th of March premier Peter Gutwein declared a state of emergency in Tasmania, and introduced the toughest border protection measures in the country. Effective on Friday the 20th of March, all ‘non-essential’ travellers into the state will be required to go into a 14 day quarantine.
Under the measures ‘essential’ travellers include: Health care workers, emergency workers, defence personnel, air and ship crew, specialists and essential freight personnel.
This means that the almost all Tasmanian’s returning home amidst the crisis will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine, otherwise face fines up to $16,800 or six months in prison.
For more information, click here.
Where can I get more information?
Information and FAQs from the NDIS
National Disability Services
The World Health Organisation (WHO)
What’s the difference between a cold, the flu, and coronavirus?
Who to contact?
General questions: Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080
If you think you might have COVID-19, have travelled or had contact with a confirmed case: Tasmanian Public Health Hotline – 1800 641 738
If you haven’t travelled or had contact with a confirmed case: HealthDirect Australia – 1800 022 222
For general support relating to your role as a carer: Carers Tasmania – 03 6144 3729
Once again, we hear your concerns and are here to support you throughout the spread of this virus.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about the virus, and it’s impact on your role as a carer please don’t hesitate to reach out.
The team at Carers Tasmania