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UPDATE 16 March WCS information and advice on Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

FB coronavirusWoden Community Service is continuing to monitor the situation and respond to COVID-19 with our focus always on ensuring the health and safety of our staff, clients and community in all the services we provide.

We are closely following the advice of the ACT Health Directorate, which is taking a highly precautionary approach to managing the spread of COVID-19, which is in line with the latest national health advice.

As of today there has been two reported case of people with COVID-19 in the ACT. The risk of coming into contact with the virus in the ACT remains very low at this time. Nevertheless new measures are now being adopted to limit the transmission of the virus.

Anyone who has returned to Australia from overseas, must self-isolated at home for 14 days on all international arrivals into Australia and closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

The Australian Government has also announced that all non-essential gatherings of 500 or more people should be avoided.

All gatherings at ACT schools have been cancelled from Monday, including assemblies, sports carnivals and excursions. The WCS OSHC services are continuing to run and every effort is being made by our educators to sanitise common touch points and ensure children are:
• regularly washing hands well
• coughing and sneezing into elbows
• playing outside and limiting activities in large groups.

Given that WCS works with many vulnerable groups in our community, WCS is taking a prudent and precautionary approach. From today (16 March 2020) WCS is suspending all group activities and larger events that we run. Wherever possible WCS will work towards finding other means to support the members of these groups, either through telephone and online contact and online events, or where required and possible, individual support.

The group events that are no longer running include:
• Seniors’ social groups
• Playgroups (Paint n play)
• English language conversation groups
• Games and women’s social groups
• NDIS group activities
• Mental health group acitvities
• The Big Issue launch events
• Youth Drop In and Band Nights
• Sunset Festival
• Molonglo Pop Up Café and related events.

WCS is continuing to provide individual support services to our seniors, NDIS participants and other highly vulnerable groups where appropriate. Services such as community transport, personal care and family case management are continuing with careful consideration of ensuring personal hygiene and social distancing where possible. If a client does become unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, WCS will seek to provide support remotely to prevent potential transmission of the virus.

Staff are being provided with information, training and other protective measures to ensure that we are minimising the risk of exposure for all our community members. If you have any concerns about the protections in place, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the head office on 6282 2644.

If you are concerned you or your family may have been exposed to or have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important you limit exposure to other people to limit the risk of transmission. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

Call your GP in the first instance. By calling your GP before arriving they can take appropriate infection control measures. Testing will be arranged by your medical practitioner if they determine it is necessary.

The ACT’s walk-in centres are available to assess individuals who are concerned that they have COVID-19. The preferred walk-in centre for assessment is the Weston Creek walk-in centre [24 Parkinson Street, Weston]. However, if you attend a different walk-in centre you will be seen. Masks and hand sanitiser are available at the front door of the Walk-in Centre. Please put on a mask and sanitise your hands before entering.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 visit health.act.gov.au to read the latest information from the ACT Health Officer. You can also call the coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There may be changes to our services over the coming weeks and months. We will be in contact with clients directly if these changes impact their service. We will also do our best to find alternate ways to support our clients and community during this time.

More information

Acknowledgement of Country

"Woden Community Service acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners of this land and their continuing connection to land and community. We also acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have come from other nations to live on Ngunnawal land. We pay our respects to their cultures, ancestors and Elders past, present and future."