AQA and coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
AQA has established a COVID-19 Task Group that is responsible for monitoring official responses to the coronavirus crisis as it unfolds, and for taking appropriate action.
Our role as an employer and service provider is to follow authoritative recommendations on minimising the spread of the new coronavirus and its associated illness, COVID-19, among our staff and the people they serve.
Where we have needed to communicate with clients, employees or volunteer staff, we have done so through direct channels such as mail, email, and phone.
The latest updates on coronavirus
AQA’s primary sources for information on the coronavirus are the Australian Government Department of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria.
As AQA operates in the State of Victoria, the most relevant resource for us is the DHHS Victoria page on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The key supplementary information resource for AQA is the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert page.
Each of these pages supplies links to related pages that offer more detail on aspects of coronavirus disease and the Victorian and Australian responses to it.
Authoritative information on how the new coronavirus is affecting nations around the world, and on emerging details about the virus and its behaviour, can be found at the World Health Organisation Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic page.
Automatic extension for NDIS plans
NDIS participants will have plans extended for a year on the day they are due to expire, the National Disability Insurance Agency has announced.
The automatic 365-day extension is part of changes made to the NDIS plan review process in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, participants will be able to fund Support Coordination from their Core budgets if they wish to.
You can read the full announcement at the NDIS website.
The World Health Organisation Q&A
A helpful resource from the World Health Organisation is its Coronavirus Q&A page (questions and answers).
Among the questions answered clearly here are:
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- How does COVID-19 spread?
Reading these two short answers could help you understand measures put in place to contain coronavirus.
The second answer includes information on the likelihood of virus transmission through contact with faeces.
Detailed information for Victorians
Detailed information about the coronavirus and the response to it in Victoria can be found at the DHHS Victoria About Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
This page begins with a long series of links, each taking you to detail on a particular topic.
However, the detail is arranged under a sequence of headings below the links. Therefore, you have the option of scrolling down past the list of links and reading the short entry under each heading that you find relevant.
Headings of particular interest may be:
Infection control training
The Australian Government has released a Training Module on Infection Control for Coronavirus. The module offers general information and takes about 30 minutes to complete. AQA strongly encourages its disability support workers to refresh their understanding of infection control by completing this training.
Do you have COVID-19?
If you or a person you are working with is feeling sick and you fear it may be from coronavirus, you can use this Australian Government Online Symptom Checker to find out whether you should seek a coronavirus test.
DHHS Victoria has also posted a Coronavirus Self-assessment Tool, which includes information of special relevance for people in Victoria.
Social distancing, and posters
The Australian Government has posted a fact sheet on social distancing. It explains why, when and how you should put some distance between you and other people, to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
You can also download posters that explain with illustrated steps how you can Reduce your risk of infection with coronavirus, how to Wash your hands properly, and how to Cover your coughs and sneezes to avoid spreading infection.
AQA encourages discussion among clients, support workers and office staff
AQA encourages support workers and their clients to talk about what measures they will take when working together to minimise the likelihood of transmitting coronavirus or an influenza virus.
A recent blog post authored by Wayne Bradshaw, an AQA information officer who has paraplegia, explains why conversations of this kind can be so helpful for AQA clients, who may be unusually vulnerable to respiratory infections. Wayne also makes a suggestion about how you might start such a conversation.
A recent blog post authored by AQA Spire peer support coordinator Peter Van Benthem, who lives with a C4 spinal cord injury, and who receives in-home personal care from a team of support workers, shares some steps he and his carers have taken to reduce their risk of cross-infection.
AQA also encourages support workers and their clients to consult AQA office staff if they need to raise specific concerns they have about coronavirus or flu infection when working together. The best person to raise concerns with is the client’s Service Partnership Coordinator, who can be contacted through AQA reception (which is also AQA Qualcare reception).
Naming the coronavirus
Finally, if you feel confused by the different terms associated with the new coronavirus you may find some relief in the World Health Organisation’s official coronavirus naming page.
Here the WHO tells us that the official name for this coronavirus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or (SARS-CoV-2).
The official name for the disease associated with the virus is COVID-19. However, in communicating with the general public, the WHO has decided to call the virus the COVID-19 virus. On that page it explains its decision.