There is a pandemic hotline to respond to questions and queries from our Melba community. The hotline number is 1300 MYMELBA (1300 696352). For all other community members, if needed please contact the DHHS Coronavirus 24-hour Hotline number: 1800 675 398.
The recent announcement from the Victorian Premier about the easing of restrictions is another important COVID-19 development.
As you may have read, Premier Andrews said, “from (last) Monday, we’ll no longer be giving Victorians a definitive list of reasons to leave home.” Instead, he remarked, the government will be asking people in the coming weeks and months to use the common sense – and the sense of community – that has helped keep one another safe.
There is a lot to be said for using common sense! As we know, we are not out of the woods just yet. Our focus continues to remain on doing all we can to protect the health and safety of people we support and our staff, noting that the State of Emergency in Victoria is continuing to at least the 21st June 2020.
Nevertheless, as we indicated in our last letter to you, the easing of restrictions has permitted us to implement our recovery plan and begin the careful resumption of some services. We are writing to keep you updated about the implementation of our plans and, once again, invite you to raise any issues or concerns with us.
Our cautious and staged recovery process has commenced
We are now implementing a cautious and staged recovery while continuing to adhere to the advice from the relevant state authorities.
Through our careful preparation, this staged recovery has already enabled responsiveness to those who are most vulnerable and those in the greatest immediate need of support. We acknowledge these judgements are fraught and not easy to make and we thank you for the information many families have provided to assist us make these difficult decisions.
This cautious approach cannot be defined as ‘business as usual’ but importantly it delivers progressively more services given relatively low COVID-19 rates of infection in the community.
Our recovery steps so far have involved a staged resumption of services beginning with supporting those judged to be most in need. This includes:
In our STAA/Respite services, we have begun the process to recommence supports to a limited number of families with a view to increasing this number from 15 June. The offer of services occurred after we called and checked in with more than 200 families and carers who access our respite services, which helped us identify those who required immediate support.
Similarly, for people who access Individualised supports, we have resumed some of our one-to-one support services to existing participants and, subject to a safety review, plan to increase services to more people from 9 June.
We have begun to support a small number of vulnerable people who previously accessed our Centre-based services at Melba Avenue in Lilydale and Roland Avenue in Mt Evelyn. Some of this support is being provided in the individual’s own home, and some is being provided – adhering strictly to physical distancing requirements – at our Lilydale site. Individuals participating in our Arthur Creative program in Ballarat are benefiting from the creative use of technology. Given, however, the restrictions that are still in place, we are not in a position to return to pre-pandemic service arrangements at this time.
We have attached an information sheet that includes further details about the resumption of services.
The next steps in our recovery process
During June and July we plan to recommence services to more people, but these decisions will depend on how the pandemic develops over the coming weeks. We will continue to abide by government directions, and ensure that services are delivered safely to people we support and for our staff. As you would expect, we will also continue to carefully monitor any increase in COVID-19 infections across the state and, if necessary, refine our recovery plans accordingly.
We will maintain our practice and protocols about hygiene, safety and physical distancing which has played such as important part in protecting people. And we will continue to rely on the advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer along with our own Medical Adviser and our Practice, Quality and Safeguards team. We are very pleased to confirm we have not had any person we support or staff member test positive to COVID-19 and our staff are working very hard to keep it that way, knowing that some things are outside our control.
The limited resumption of services is good news but it is not the time to become complacent. It is vital that we all continue to follow the current government directions and advice and, as the Premier said, use our common sense to keep our community transmission numbers low and protect more Victorians including those who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Questions or concerns
If you have any questions or concerns at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact your regional general manager by email:
Aaron Fry – East: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Quero – South: email@example.com
Kerrie White – Gippsland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael Jones – Central Highlands & Wimmera: email@example.com
Or, if you prefer, you can call Melba’s coronavirus hotline number on 1300 MYMELBA (1300 696352).
Please stay safe.
Glenn Foard Hayley Dean
Chief Executive Officer Chief Outcome Officer
Previous CEO and COO COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates: