COVID-19 Update, 18 August 2021
18 August 2021
To subscribe to our COVID-19 Update mailing list, please email [email protected] and we will subscribe you.
If you would like to share any gaps or issues affecting your organisation, or any services that require increased funding to meet an immediate need in the COVID-19 response, please get in touch with ACTCOSS through our general email address [email protected] or email someone from the team.
Emergency Food Relief – call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: The ACT Government has partnered with VolunteeringACT and the State Emergency Service (SES) to provide emergency food relief to those in need. Any Canberran who is significantly and adversely impacted by the lockdown and is unable to feed their family is encouraged to call 1800 43 11 33. Callers will be linked with a VolunteeringACT staff member who will place a shopping order on their behalf and members of the SES will then collect the order and deliver it to them. The SES are unable to enter a person’s home, so the groceries will be left on the doorstep after a knock at the door.
COVID-19 Disaster Payment: Canberrans unable to earn an income during the lockdown may be able to access the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment. More information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the Services Australia website.
Support to isolate while waiting for a test result: ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment (pdf): A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. This payment covers up to three days in isolation. A range of eligibility criteria apply. Apply for the isolation payment here.
Support if you have COVID-19, are a close contact, or have to care for someone with COVID-19: The COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if an individual has been directed by ACT Health to self-isolate or quarantine and has no sick leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person. Other eligibility criteria apply. This $1,500 payment is accessed through Services Australia. We understand applications can only be made over the phone or by completing the claim form here.
Centrelink debt raising and new debt recovery has been paused in locked down areas. Mutual obligation requirements have been temporarily paused for job seekers and participants in the ACT.
ACT Health Facilities: The following measures have been put in place for all facilities:
- Visitor restrictions – visitors will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances such as end-of-life care, birthing or paediatric care.
- Non-essential and non-urgent clinics – all facilities will be reducing work in these categories. At this stage surgery, including elective surgery, as not been altered, however, this may change. Read more about changes in non-urgent and outpatient care.
- Telehealth to be considered, where possible.
- More places to get tested – a new Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Clinic as opened at Brindabella Business Park in the Canberra Airport precinct, hours 8.00am – 8.00pm. EPIC opening hours extended to 10.00pm with last cars taken at 9.30pm.
- For more information refer to: COVID-19 Update: Changes to your visit to ACT Health Facilities – 12 August 2021. Find the latest ACT Health news here.
Chief Health Officer alerts: Advice for high-risk settings – updated 12 August 2021.
- Keep up to date with exposure locations in the ACT
- Domestic and family violence services are open during lockdown
- Food Relief
- Requirements for NSW/ACT border residents
- Accessing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Free Parking for Essential Workers.
Funding Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19: The Australian Government is asking workers at residential aged care facilities in the ACT to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents. Australian Government grant funding is now available to support providers to implement these arrangements for an initial two-week period from 12 August to 26 August 2021. Find out more about support for aged care workers.
Alexander Maconochie Centre restrictions: ACT Corrective Services operations will be restricted during this time and will see face to face visits at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) suspended for the duration of the lockdown. Other changes include the suspension of programs and education at the AMC. We are working with the Courts to ensure those who need to appear can do so via audio visual links or in person as required. These restrictions will be reviewed towards the end of the lockdown and changes will be made accordingly. Read the AMC Notice to Detainees, 12 August 2021 (pdf).
In-Reach (i.e. at home) Vaccination Options: The COVID-19 Vaccination Team at ACT Health has advised that if anyone feels they may require vaccinations at home because they have significant barriers to access other vaccination options, they can ring the ACT vaccination booking line 02 5124 7700 and choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line.
Early Morning Centre (EMC) Vaccination Service: The Early Morning Centre will begin offering vaccinations to their visitors during the week beginning 23 August 2021. Service providers who work with EMC visitors are welcome to call 02 6247 5041 for more information.
Pharmacy home deliveries: The Pharmacy Guild have advised that almost all pharmacies offer home delivery. During the lockdown, more staff are engaged to do deliveries. Please contact your regular pharmacy for more information. Some community service organisations are also providing pharmacy delivery.
School psychologists: ACT Education’s Central Telehealth School Psychology Service is available to provide telehealth sessions to any public school student and their family. Call 02 6205 1559, 9am-4.30pm, to arrange an appointment, or book a School Psychology Service Telehealth session online.
ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
ACTCOSS has been advocating on behalf of community organisations and people experiencing disadvantage during this COVID-19 pandemic period through the following:
- With ACOSS, advocating for the extension of the Commonwealth COVID-19 Emergency Payment to people on income support without paid work.
- ACTCOSS has written to the Chief of ACT Policing to request information on oversights in place to monitor the use of police powers with regards adherence to border regulations.
- ACTCOSS has written to the ACT Commissioner of Corrections to request information on wellbeing of AMC detainees and measures in place for community corrections and those exiting the AMC.
- With other community sector partners, ACTCOSS has advocated on issues including emergency relief and vaccinations for highly vulnerable cohorts.
- ACTCOSS has developed a list of priority actions relating to people with disability and carers and subgroups for communication and shared through the Disability and Carers Network meeting.
- ACTCOSS provided feedback via the Disability Reference Group to a meeting of the COVID-19 Operational Plan Advisory Group on the need for accommodations for people facing long waits at testing clinics.
- ACTCOSS has joined ACOSS and many community organisations to endorse a letter from a range of organisations representing people with a disability calling for Australian governments to speed up plans to vaccinate and protect people with disability with a clear 11-point plan. This 11-point plan is based on best practice standards in COVID-19 vaccination rollouts from the International Disability Alliance. In August 2021, as more than half of Australians remain subject to significant lockdowns due to outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 in the community, including in disability group homes, we continue to see a lack of clear, specific and targeted measures from Australian governments, to support and protect people with disability. Read the Open Letter: Immediate Actions Required To Vaccinate and Protect All Australians With Disability Against Coronavirus – People with Disability Australia (pwd.org.au).
ACTCOSS Meeting with Members and Peaks on COVID-19: If you are a member of ACTCOSS or an ACT peak body for the community sector, you are welcome to attend our regular COVID-19 online meetings. Please email [email protected] for more information.
ACT COVID-19 Helpline – 02 6207 7244: 8am -8pm daily. Or visit the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website.
Disability Information Helpline – 1800 643 787:Mon-Fri8am-8pm, Sat-Sun9am-7pm.The Australian Government has established a Disability Information Helpline. The helpline isnot available on national public holidays.
National COVID-19 vaccine helpline – 1800 020 080: This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Emergency relief and financial support
- Emergency Food Relief – call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: The ACT Government has partnered with VolunteeringACT and the State Emergency Service (SES) to provide emergency food relief to those in need. Any Canberran who is significantly and adversely impacted by the lockdown and is unable to feed their family is encouraged to call.
- Emergency Relief Support: MARSS is providing emergency financial and food relief to anyone in financial distress residing in ACT and surrounding regions. Relief includes supermarket vouchers, culturally appropriate food hampers and essential home items, can pay outstanding bills and support clients to refinance or restructure payment plans to alleviate financial distress. Please refer anyone in need to MARSS on 02 6248 8577.
- Communities@Work: Our community pantries at Tuggeranong and Gungahlin are now OPEN. While in lockdown, we’ll have a ‚ÄòTick and Collect’ system. Clients select their food and essential items, wait at the door of the pantry, and our staff to collect and bring items to them.
- Carers support: Carers ACT has resourcing available during this time to support carers through the provision of in-home help, emergency respite, financial assistance, advocacy supports, counselling, etc, so please direct any carers to Carers ACT for support.
- COVID-19 Disaster Payment: Canberrans unable to earn an income during the lockdown may be able to access the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
- Support to isolate while waiting for a test result: ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment (pdf): A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. Apply for the isolation payment here.
- Support if you have COVID-19, are a close contact, or have to care for someone with COVID-19: The COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if an individual has been directed by ACT Health to self-isolate or quarantine and has no leave entitlements. Apply over the phone or by completing the claim form here.
ACT Community Services Directorate and ACT Health Updates
NGO FAQs: The ACT Government has gathered questions from NGOs about the current COVID-19 situation in the ACT and have collated these in an FAQ document. Weblinks in response to questions are included. Find the NGO FAQ at 15 August 2021 here.
COVID Response Casual Pool Jobs: Find job openings for the ACT Government’s COVID response casual pool here.
How to contact CSD: The ACT Community Services Directorate has set up a branch to respond to the COVID-19 situation. Outside of existing engagement, networks or contacts with relationship managers, you can contact CSD via CSD’s [email protected] inbox. Organisations can send their COVID-19 queries to this email if they need advice or have any questions.
Service changes and updates
OneLink Operating Hours: Normal hours of operation will continue throughout the lockdown period. These are Monday to Friday 8.00am – 6.00pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12.30pm – 5.00pm. Service users are encouraged to make contact with OneLink by phoning 1800 176 468 or via www.onelink.org.au. OneLink has access to funding to support the most vulnerable members of the Canberra community, including temporary hotel accommodation for residents in homelessness and community housing who need to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Call Jacinta Bishop, Acting Manager on 02 6207 6885 or email [email protected] for more information.
Housing ACT Support for Rough Sleepers, Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre Operating Hours:
Service delivery during Lockdown
Early Morning Centre, Uniting Care Canberra
Monday to Friday, 7.30-8.30am, and 9am-1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Program activities on hold until further notice.
Blue Door, St Vincent de Paul
Monday to Friday 9am-2.30pm, with breakfast served at 9am and lunch at 12pm.
Social inclusion via phone.
Outreach for essential needs.
Roadhouse, Australian Red Cross
4.30pm to 5.30pm Saturday to Thursday.
Soup Kitchen 12.30pm-2pm Friday.
Woden Community Services
8am-6pm Monday to Friday
and Saturday and Sunday 12.30pm-5pm.
Staff currently working from home,
Need appointment for a face to face appointment.
Winter Lodge, Argyle Housing
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
McKillop House, CatholicCare
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service
24/7 service, Telephone line on 62 800 900.
24/7 crisis F2F intervention, safety planning, emergency accommodation,
respond to Police and Hospital requests.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre
Crisis Phone Line 7am-11pm.
Call Out provision to Police and Hospital 24/7.
Intake / Crisis Appointments, Counselling Sessions (including advocacy) via phone or google/zoom. No client attendance at CRCC during the lock down period.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service: Will remain available, 24/7, throughout the lock down period. Thefollowing operational functions will remain in place:
- 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and access to emergency accommodation remains available via our telephone line on 62 800 900.
- DVCS will respond to Police and Hospital requests as per usual, we are working to understand access requirements during this time for our staff to attend the Hospitals.
- Clients can engage with DVCS during regular business hours via email, SMS, social media and online chat.
- DVCS will continue to meet face to face with clients who require urgent safety planning, crisis intervention, emergency accommodation or other supports with COVID safe practices; Where clients do not meet a safety threshold for a face to face we will work with them to ensure we can meet their needs through contact limited accommodation check in, parcel drops, voucher exchanges and phone or online consultations.
- Case management (Staying@Home, Room4Change and Young People’s Outreach Program) will continue to support clients during regular business hours remotely via phone and video conferencing.
- In line with the Court’s operation we will not be working from the Court from Monday 16 to Friday 20 August 2021 inclusive.
- DVCS will increase their community advertising across social media, radio and other media outlets to ensure our community is aware of DVCS’s presence and availability.
Toora Domestic Violence & Homelessness Services: Will continue to do assessments and intakes as usual. Case management support will be conducted via phone or video. Rostered staff will be checking in with clients in shared houses. All group activities will be suspended until further notice. For more information on Toora AOD service and counselling service please call 02 6122 7000.
Karinya House: Will as much as possible continue to provide support services to women who are pregnant and early parenting. We have implemented the following:
- Residential support
- Ongoing support to the women residing at Karinya House. This includes face-to-face contact and support with babies and children.
- Supporting residents through the lockdown period, understanding that facing lockdown in a supported accommodation facility has its unique challenges.
- Outreach support
- Continuing to provide support through phone or video.
- We will not be making face-to-face visits but have capacity to deliver material assistance as available to the women we are working with.
- Continuing to support with essential appointments for which the women we are supporting have no other support person, including antenatal visits and other medical appointments.
- Phone support
- Karinya will continue to be staffed 24hours and will continue to provide phone support across this time as normal. Ph: 02 6259 8998.
Everyman Services Update: EveryMan will continue to support men, their partners and families already accessing accommodation and support services, counselling services, violence prevention services and Indigenous support and accommodation services. There office in the Griffin Centre will remain closed until further notice. In the meantime, enquiries and referrals can be made by:
- Phone during office hours on 02 6230 6999
- Message from website at everyman.org.au/contact-us
- WhatsApp message via Facebook page at facebook.com/everyman.aus
- Online referral at everyman.org.au/referrals
Anyone at risk of violence, call Connect & Support Service on 1300 261 610.
Mental Health Foundation ACT: Whilst our office in Chifley will close, it is business as usual, and we will continue to provide our participants the necessary supports. For enquiries, please email [email protected] or phone 0438 207 798. There are many different ways we can provide our participants support so we urge everyone to stay connected and continue with your supports.
Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS):
- Casework, counselling and emergency relief support will be available over the phone to clients 00am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday by calling (02) 6248 8577.
- MARSS’ Civic office will continue to open from 00am – 4.00pm Monday-Friday. During lockdown we are requesting clients not to walk in and to initially contact us on (02) 6248 8577 for support. We will continue to provide in person support following a COVID risk assessment when necessary.
- Our Belconnen office is closed, and all classes, workshops and group activities suspended. Some activities continue online.
- Emergency Relief Support: MARSS has funding to provide emergency financial and food relief from the Commonwealth, including supermarket vouchers, culturally appropriate food hampers and essential home items, can pay outstanding bills and support clients to refinance or restructure payment plans to alleviate financial distress.
- Note: We can support anyone in financial distress (not only migrants and refugees) and this service is also available to people residing in surrounding ACT regions including Southern Highlands, Queanbeyan, Cooma, Bega etc. Please refer anyone in need to MARSS on (02) 6248 8577.
Culturally and linguistically diverse
- Translated ACT COVID-19 website: You can translate the ACT COVID-19 website and into a wide variety of languages – use the Google Translate dropdown menu near the top right of each page.
- Ways to increase safety during Covid-19 – with easy English version (pdf), by Domestic Violence Crisis Service.
- Guidelines for snap lockdowns – checklist for disability service provides, by National Disability Services.
- COVID-19 Toolkit for disability service providers, by National Disability Services.
- COVID Preparedness Guide (pdf): This is a guide provided by ACT Government to help people with disability to get the facts about COVID-19 and make a plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation. Request a hard copy via email: [email protected]
- ACT Health COVID-19 Disability webpages:
- Non-Government Community, Disability and Health Service Providers
- Recent updates
- General information
- Preparedness and business continuity
- Pandemic planning and managing risk
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Management and care of people who are in isolation or quarantine at home
- Resources and useful links
- ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy
- Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing NewsByte – 13 August 2021: This edition contains mental health resources, phone support services, links for translating ACT Government website COVID resources, and domestic violence resources.
- ACT Government signs and factsheets – COVID-19
- Booking your COVID-19 vaccination
- Latest news from the Community Services Directorate
- Information on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout