Coronavirus COVID-19 Update 19th March 2020
This update is to inform you about how Catholic Homes is responding to COVID-19, the work the organisation is doing regarding infection prevention and control and how we can assist in the wellbeing of our staff, residents and clients.
COVID-19 continues to spread throughout communities across Australia and the Government has introduced strict guidelines in response. The absolute priority at Catholic Homes is to ensure the health and wellbeing of our residents and staff.
Catholic Homes is keeping up-to-date with the latest information and the rapidly changing situation in relation to COVID-19. Entry is strictly restricted for all non-essential visits in order to protect the health and safety of all our residents and those who care for them.
All staff are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of those in our care while reducing the risk of contracting the virus and/or similar illnesses by effectively following the Catholic Homes policies and procedures and the infection control guidelines.
As always, the most effective way to prevent the spread of any infection is to perform thorough hand hygiene practices at all times.
We would like to reassure you all that we are doing our upmost at keeping our staff members and residents safe.
We hope you find the information below helpful and if you have any questions in this regard, please direct them to the Facility Manager or Clinical Nurse.
Further responses we are implementing
With a view to minimising the risk of infection to our residents and staff members while maintaining our high quality care, we have implemented a number of initiatives:
- Catholic Homes is reinforcing and increasing its well-established infection prevention and control activities.
- Restricted visits are in place for all relatives/family to one visit per day per resident and we have ceased all external activities.
- All staff movements between sites are limited to essential visits only.
- All external education and training has been cancelled until further notice.
- In addition to our current cleaning schedule, additional cleaning is being undertaken adding to our infection control protocols.
- We have a specific response plan to a possible COVID-19 outbreak.
- We are in regular contact with health authorities and are being guided and informed by both state and federal health departments.
- We are providing regular updates to staff and volunteers as matters change.
- We will continue to keep you informed.
Important hygiene reminder
Practising effective hygiene control is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- Cover your cough and sneezes, preferably with a tissue or into your elbow, dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately.
- Avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
- Avoid touching your own eyes, nose and mouth.
- Exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold or flu-like symptoms
Restricted visits are in place for all relatives/family to one visit per day per resident. We have ceased all external activities organised by our residences such as outings, bus trips, excursions and visiting volunteers. We appreciate your support of the measures we are taking to make our sites the safest possible place for your loved ones.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms include coughing, sore throat, headaches, difficulty breathing, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and muscle pain. Symptoms can start between two and 14 days from exposure to the virus. In some cases, the virus can cause severe pneumonia. If you develop symptoms, seek medical advice.
State and Commonwealth authorities have a range of resources and more information:
- 24-hour Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080 or visit www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
- Australian Government Department of Health website www.health.gov.au
- Health Direct helpline 1800 300 243
- Public Health Information line on 1800 004 599
In addition, the Commonwealth Department of Health has information, resources and facts regarding the coronavirus at this site www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov