COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

16.10.2020

We continue to follow our COVID-19 response plan including:

  • Strict adherence to cleaning regimes including cleaning rosters and checklists for our staff to complete.

  • All Interchange Gippsland staff are required to complete Daily Attestations confirming they are well, have no symptoms of COVID-19 and are not a known close contact of COVID-19 positive cases before commencing a shift.

  • Sign in books at each office to allow for contact tracing in the occurrence of a positive COVID-19 test result.

  • Use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear including masks, safety glasses, gloves (and gowns where needed). Our staff have been trained on the correct and safe ways to wear, remove and dispose of their PPE.

  • Social distancing:

    • Offices: you may notice if you attend any of our offices there are clear signs as to the maximum number of people allowed in a space.

    • Buses: This also flows on to the use of our buses for activities; in line with current restrictions we are still only able to carry four people in total including on our buses including the driver. This continues to have an effect on the way that we can run sessions and group sizes, and in some areas change the way that we access different activities and venues.

    • Staff Vehicles: For any participants accessing our service that requires the use of a staff vehicle, you will note that our staff will ask you to sit in the back seat on the left-hand side. This is a requirement to ensure that we are adhering to social distancing requirements and is to keep our staff and participants safe.

We are following government directives closely and understand that there are elements of the restrictions that our participants and their families or carers may find frustrating. We thank you all for your understanding and patience in this challenging time.

Interchange Gippsland also still has a number of reusable masks available for our participants and their families. If you are interested in accessing these can contact our office or your local Program Coordinator for more information.

 

Group Programs and continuation of services

We are very excited to have our face-to-face YAS and Friendship Group programs back up and running across all of our sites, it’s been wonderful to see everyone in person again. We do still have great online options for those that need it and our 1:1 supports and Support coordination services are also available. Give us a call if you are keen to get involved in the fun!

 

Reminder for support options available through lockdown

Lockdown restrictions can be very challenging, and while we all understand why the decision has been made it can still be very hard for some people to manage. If you are finding you are not coping please remember you can access resources available to you, a family member or a friend – please pass these details onto anyone you think might need them:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • Orange Door (family violence): 1800 319 354

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

  • Alcohol and Drug support ACSO: 1300 022 760

  • Mental Health Support ACSO: 1300 022 760

  • Headspace (Morwell): (03) 5136 8300

  • Headspace (Wonthaggi): (03) 5671 5900

  • Headspace (Bairnsdale): (03) 5141 6200

  • Black Dog Institute: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/

Please do not attend our sites if you are feeling unwell. Any participants or their families that have come into contact with a potential or confirmed case of COVID-19 please do not visit our offices and contact us via phone or email as soon as possible.

 

Take care and stay safe.

Community Access Worker Thank You!

01.10.2020

On the 16th of September 2020, regional Victoria were able to skip a step and are now at step 3 of the Victorian Roadmap for Reopening. This allows residents of regional Victoria to leave their homes for any reason and meet in public with up to 10 people outdoors. We must still wear face masks when leaving our homes and disability support workers must wear single use face masks and protective eyewear whenever they are supporting a participant.

 

11.09.2020

As per the Governments announcements, on Sunday 13 September at 11:59pm Regional Victoria will move to step two of the road map to recovery. This means that for the most part restrictions stay the same for Interchange Gippsland and the work we do. There remains the 4 reasons to leave home, which includes our participants:

  1. shop for food and necessary goods or services

  2. provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment

  3. outdoor exercise or recreation

  4. for permitted work or education

Travel within Victoria is not allowed unless it is for a permitted purpose.

Facemasks remain in place for all Victorians and for disability support workers who work directly with participants- surgical facemasks and protective eye wear remain in place for all Victorian staff.

These restrictions will be assessed and a move to step one will permitted when the average number of new cases across Victoria over the last 14 days being fewer than five per day, and total number of new cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days is zero. There is no set date for this step to occur only the requirement around case numbers.

 

10.08.2020

In light of the government announcements over the weekend regarding the updates to directives for community and disability sector employees, we are implementing the following changes to our services:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

There have been further directives from government over the weekend in regards to PPE gear that all face-to-face disability support workers must follow. This means that all Interchange Gippsland staff will need to be wearing a single-use surgical face mask and safety glasses while on a face-to-face shift with a participant. Our staff have been trained on the correct and safe ways to use this equipment. We are rolling out access to the safety glasses across all of our sites as soon as possible so once received our staff will utilise these on shift.

Just a reminder that we have also ordered reusable masks for our participants to use while engaging with our service and expect delivery of these by the end of this week. Participants will have access to two reusable masks each if needed. We also have access to disposable masks for participant’s use if required. Participants interested in accessing these can contact our office or your local Program Coordinator for more information.

Vehicles and social distancing:

For any participants accessing our service that requires the use of a vehicle, you will note that our staff will ask you to sit in the back seat on the left-hand side. This is a requirement to ensure that we are adhering to social distancing requirements and is to keep our staff and participants safe.

Support through lockdown:

Lockdown restrictions can be very challenging, and while we all understand why the decision has been made it can still be very hard for some people to manage. If you are finding you are not coping please remember you can access resources available to you, a family member or a friend – please pass these details onto anyone you think might need them:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Orange Door (family violence): 1800 319 354

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Alcohol and Drug support ACSO: 1300 022 760

Mental Health Support ACSO: 1300 022 760

Headspace (Morwell): (03) 5136 8300

Headspace (Wonthaggi): (03) 5671 5900

Headspace (Bairnsdale): (03) 5141 6200

Black Dog Institute: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/

Any participants or their families that have come into contact with a potential or confirmed case of COVID19 please do not visit our offices and contact us via phone or email as soon as possible.

We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for our staff and participants. We are following all government directives and will keep you updated as the situation evolves. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us.

 

03.08.2020

In light of the government announcements on Sunday regarding the implementation of Stage 3 restrictions, we are implementing the following changes to our services:

 

Group Programs:

Starting from 11:59pm this Wednesday 5 August our face-to-face group programs will no longer run. On Thursday 6 August we will return to providing the full program of online YAS and Friendship Group Programs and will continue to provide our 1:1 Support options. Your local Program Coordinator will be in touch to discuss options and the potential need to complete an updated Service Agreement.

 

1:1 Support and Support Coordination:

Along with our online programs we are continuing to provide 1:1 Support and Support Coordination services. If you are interested in engaging with us for either of these please contact us via phone on 1300 736 765 or email admin@icg.asn.au.

 

Face Masks:

In line with government restrictions for disability workers, all Interchange Gippsland staff will be wearing a single-use surgical face mask while on shift with a participant. Our staff have been trained on the correct and safe ways to wear a mask.

We are encouraging all staff and participants to watch this helpful and informative YouTube video ‘How to wear a mask’ with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j4Ru6ltJgo.

We have also ordered reusable masks for our participants to utilise while engaging with our service and expect delivery of these by the end of this week. Participants will have access to two reusable masks each if needed. Participants interested in accessing these can contact our office or your local Program Coordinator for more information.

 

Cleaning Regimes:

We have implemented cleaning regimes as a part of our COVID19 response plan. If participants and staff still need to access our site offices for services, you will notice that there are cleaning rosters and checklists for our staff to complete. We still require the details to be recorded of anyone that accesses our buildings to allow for contact tracing in the occurrence of a positive COVID19 test result. Any participants or their families that have come into contact with a potential or confirmed case of COVID19 please do not visit our offices and contact us via phone or email as soon as possible.

We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for our staff and participants. We are following all government directives and will keep you updated as the situation evolves. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us.

28.07.2020

We hope you and your family are doing well during this challenging time. We wanted to touch base and give you an update on what’s happening around our offices and changes bought in as a result of COVID-19.

We are very excited to have our face-to-face YAS and Friendship Group programs back up and running, it’s been wonderful to see everyone in person again. We do still have great online options for those that need it and our 1:1 supports are also available. Give us a call if you are keen to get involved in the fun!

All of our Community Access Workers are now wearing face masks when they are on shift. This is to ensure that we comply with the recent government announcement making it mandatory. Attached to this email is a copy of the fact sheet explaining the use of masks, and also an easy read version talking about What, Why, Who and When for wearing a mask.

We have also measured all of our buses and allocated seating to comply with restrictions, we are now able to carry four people in total including the driver. This will have an effect on the way that we run sessions and group sizes, and in some areas change the way that we access different activities and venues. Your local Program Coordinator will keep you updated regarding this.

We will be keeping you in the loop with regular updates – keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website. We will also be contacting you via email with any major changes to our services. If you have any questions at all feel free to contact us.

Take care and stay safe.

 

17.06.2020

Current Operations – We are providing 1 on 1 support options and support coordination for our participants and their carers that need it. We specialise in flexible and innovative programs based on your needs and interests. We listen closely to your ideas and suggestions and partner with you to develop a plan to help you achieve your goals.

 

Potential Easing of Restrictions – We are closely monitoring the Government restrictions and with the predicted upcoming easing of restrictions we are looking to restart some group programs. We will be adhering to all Government requirements and recommendations including, social distancing, group size and the use of community and public services. We are very much looking forward to participants once again being able to connect with each other face to face in a safe way.

 

Please contact our office through our central line: 1300 736 765 or 5133 0700 and our helpful staff will discuss how we can assist you. You can also contact us via admin@icg.asn.au or follow us on facebook www.facebook.com/InterchangeGippsland

 

01.06.2020

As we continue to work within government guidelines to ensure that our processes are safe for everyone, we would like to thank participants, families, volunteers and staff for your patience and commitment as we work our way through this new way of socializing, connecting and working with each other from a distance.

As the social isolation rules are changing and when venues are open we are hoping that physical group activity programs will commence in the near future. We may need these group activities and transport to be managed differently to ensure safety for all within the current social distancing requirements. We will continue to monitor these changes and incorporate them into our processes.

We aim to prevent any outbreak or infection using our infection control procedures and cleaning regime.

We are still having some technical issues with our phones.  If you are having trouble getting through on the 1300 number don’t forget you can also call us on 5133 0700 or email us at admin@icg.asn.au

 

22.05.2020

We currently seem to be experiencing issues where some calls to our 1300 number are not coming though.

If you haven’t been able to get through to reception, please send us an email to admin@icg.asn.au and we will give you a call back.

 

30.04.2020

We continue to adapt to the changing environment and our latest news is that we have taken YAS, Friendship Group and Friends For Life online!  Participants and staff are now connecting online via Zoom!  If you would like to get involved and be part of the fun please contact us on 1300 736 765 or email us at admin@icg.asn.au for more information.

 

30.03.2020

We continue to keep abreast of the latest government updates and official health advice in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our clients and their families continue to receive the essential disability services they need while recognising the important role we all play minimising the spread of coronavirus.  In particular, the health and safety of our valued clients, families, carers and staff is our first priority.

As a result, we have had to make some changes to our programs, which includes cancellation of all group activities including YAS, for the time being.  We are still providing Support Coordination and 1:1 care using strict hygiene standards.  Our staff have been advised to follow strict protocol before commencing a shift to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

We recognise that these are challenging times for everyone and we would like to thank all our participants, families, carers and staff for your understanding, flexibility and patience in these unprecedented times.  It is this sense of community and resilience that will help us through these uncertain times.

Interchange Gippsland will continue to monitor the situation and update you on any further changes to our operations.  In the meantime, please contact us on 1300 736 765 or admin@icg.asn.au if you have any questions.

 

26.03.2020

Activities Postponed

Our activities have been postponed at this time. However, Support Coordination and 1:1 shifts are still available. Families are in the process of being contacted. For more information, please call our office on 1300 736 765.

 

19.03.2020

Changes to Office Arrangements (as from Friday the 20th of March – Tuesday the 14th of April)

In line with the continually changing situation and following government advice we are making some changes to our office arrangements in line with social distancing guidelines.  Where possible our office staff will be working from home with minimal staff based at our offices.  We will also be closing our offices to walk-in visitors for the next three weeks.  However, staff can still be contacted by calling 1300 736 765 or emailing admin@icg.asn.au or your coordinator’s work email address.

We plan to continue to provide services in a modified way for as long as it is safe and possible to do so, however, we are aware this is a continually changing situation and will adhere to government advice as it comes to hand.

We understand this is a challenging and disruptive time for all families.  We thank you for your patience and will continue to keep you up to date with any changes to our operations.

 

18.03.2020

NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commision has released FREE Infection Control Training on COVID-19 by the Department of Health. If you wish to complete this module, click here.

 

17.03.2020

Following on from yesterday’s update we wish to re-iterate that we are constantly monitoring the situation and that the safety of participants and staff are our primary concern.

We are working within government guidelines and will continue to review the latest information and make changes as necessary.

We have implemented a strict cleaning regime across all sites to ensure shared surfaces, equipment and vehicles are cleaned regularly throughout the day.

We are following social distancing processes for staff and participants.

We have adjusted our programs to fit within the current recommendations.

We will continue to keep you updated as we receive further information.

If you have any concerns about the coronavirus please contact their hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit the DHHS website www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 

16.03.2020

We wanted to update you on Interchange Gippsland’s plans and response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

We are currently monitoring and implementing as required, all instructions from the State Government along with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

We have implemented hand hygiene regimes within our programs for our participants and will look to carry this through to all shifts.

We have issued advice to our staff in regards to overseas travel and self-isolation requirements for specific countries. We have also requested that any staff experiencing signs and symptoms of the virus to seek medical assistance and follow medical advice.

Moving forward we will make any changes to programs and service delivery shifts as directed through Government information.