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casa Central Australia Inc.

Suite 6/5 Hartley St, PO Box 9190, Alice Springs, NT 0870

Phone: (08) 8953 4311

Email: [email protected]

Business hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 4.30pm


27 March 2020

COVID – 19 Important Information for Participants and Families

As you know, there is ongoing and growing concern about the spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.
This is impacting on us here at Casa Services and as a disability support service, we have very specific vulnerabilities. These include:

  • We support many people with supressed or vulnerable immune systems
  • Many of our services happen in group settings
  • Our participants’ support needs make social distancing difficult to implement
  • Our participants may have multiple visitors in their home
  • Our participants may not understand the risks and additional hygiene measures required
  • Our participants may be dependent on others for basic activities of daily living
  • Our participants may not have suitable support and/or accommodation contingencies available to them.

While none of this means we need to panic, it does mean we need to respond responsibly in line with government and medical advice and begin planning for a potential worsening of the situation. We urge you to stay vigilant. Please do not attend our site or services if you are showing signs of a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever or difficulty breathing or have recently returned from overseas. Please wash your hands thoroughly when you enter one of our sites.

What is Casa Services doing to create a safe environment?

  • We have increased the frequency of environmental cleaning.
  • We are running education sessions on the importance of good hygiene and will increase our supervision in this regard.
  • Where possible, we have reduced overlap between our services – neither staff, nor participants will move between our sites. This not only reduces transmission, but also ensures that if one of our sites is directed to close, we will still be able to provide support at other sites.
  • We will continue to provide support in the community (unless advice changes), however, we will not be attending any group programs where people with disability congregate.
  • We will avoid any activities that place people in close proximity to others for extended periods such as concerts and movie theatres.
  • We are not permitting therapists and specialists to physically come onto our sites, Telehealth services are available and are explained below.
  • We have cancelled all onsite meetings and video/teleconferencing will be utilised instead.
  • Our staff will also not attend non-essential meetings or training at external sites.
  • Staff not required to be physically present at the site will work from home.
  • Staff or participants who have returned from any overseas travel will be excluded from the service for 14 days, and will require medical clearance before returning.
  • Staff or participants displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus, will be isolated until they can be sent home and will require medical clearance before returning.
  • Here are some links to information which may be of use (please consult latest official sources).

Easy English – Coronavirus The Growing Space

Staying Safe From Coronavirus – Council of Intellectual Disability

If you are concerned that you or your loved one may be infected:

  • The national 24/7 hotline triages people with respiratory symptoms and those who are concerned about contact with a possible Coronavirus case. If you think you may be infected you can call the triage hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • Suspected Coronavirus patients can present in person to a GP clinic, a dedicated respiratory clinic or to a hospital ED if they call ahead.
  • Please notify us ASAP.

Telehealth Services Available

  • Telehealth services will be available for people who:
    • are self-isolating according to medical advice
    • have chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
    • are parents with new babies
    • are pregnant.
    • over 70 or are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and over 50
  • People in isolation or quarantine for Coronavirus can see any eligible health provider through new telehealth items.
  • Patients in vulnerable groups can also see a health provider via telehealth for a non-Coronavirus matter if they have seen that provider face-to-face at least once in the previous 12 months.

What are the next steps?
We are meeting regularly with senior management and our Board to discuss the current health advice and the impact on our service.

  • As always, you should feel free to call your key contact person if you have any concerns about your family member or the service.
  • We will be continuing to monitor the information provided by the government to ensure the best response in keeping people safe and infection free.
  • We need to acknowledge that at some point, this may mean our service will need to close. We are working on contingency planning to reduce the impact on our participants and staff.
  • We will keep you informed and provide as much lead-time possible if this looks likely.

Thank you for your support.

Peter Kay