An update from melba on COVID-19 impacts- 14 January


(Note: An update of information for visiting homes is at the end of the COVID-19 update.)


Dear family and friends of Melba


I hope you are getting to enjoy some of the summer and the warm weather, despite the very challenging situation Victoria and Australia is in with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.


I’m sure you agree that this isn’t the start to the year we were hoping for ­– Melba has planned well but what is happening now is having a national impact, supply chains have been affected, and almost every sector is facing staff shortages. There is still a shortage of rapid antigen tests across Australia.


Despite this, our staff are doing an incredible job to ensure that people supported are safe and well. The health and safety of the people supported are and always will be paramount.We continue to have very low COVID transmission between people supported testing positive across Melba.


Melba’s COVID-19 processes and staffing


We are working as hard as possible to maintain our supports and services. Melba’s COVID-19 team meets every day to assess needs and ensure the best processes and supports are in place. Our Workforce Hub team also meets seven days a week to ensure we have enough staff to cover all services.


At this stage, we have continued to operate all services. However, given the impact of COVID-19 causing staffing shortages across the disability sector, we are likely to need to reduce our respite services/day services soon, for a short period. We are working through the details and will let you know when we have staffing levels confirmed.


Some families have chosen to keep their loved ones at home. If this is something you’d like to consider or works for you, please talk to us.


Calls for health system changes


The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health is calling on governments across Australia to ensure that people with disability receive essential health care and are protected from COVID-19 infection.


You can read the full statement from the Centre’s public health and policy researchers on what to do about staff shortages in the health and disability sectors to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 here.


Another good article about care of people with disabilities is: Experts call for a change of course on COVID, with urgent recommendations for care of people with disabilities.


Booster vaccinations


If you are due for a booster vaccination, please book one to increase your protection against COVID-19. As I mentioned last week, we will run clinics to provide booster shots in all our regions at the end of January. We will let you know the dates and times shortly.


I’ll write each week to give you the latest information from Melba. We will get through this challenging time together.


Hayley




Support from Melba


Our outcomes leads, house supervisors and your regular service managers are all here to support you at any time. Please also feel free to call me on 9212 0100 or our Melba COVID hotline on 1300 696 352 (1300 My Melba).


Contacts for Melba’s Regional General Managers:


To Families of people supported in SIL, ISL and STAA services


Under the current pandemic orders, there are new visitation guidelines from the Minister for Health for Victorian Disability Services. We've included them in this latest update.


Arranging visits

It is important that all family members call ahead to the Melba home before any visit.


Screening questions


When you call the Melba home to arrange a visit, staff must ask specific COVID-19 screening questions including:

  • do you have any symptoms of COVID-19

  • are you required to isolate or quarantine

  • have you been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (except in the course of your employment while wearing the appropriate level of PPE) in the:

  • last 7 days if the visitor is fully vaccinated and is not a close contact, or

  • last 14-days if the visitor is not fully vaccinated or is a close contact.

On arrival


There are new requirements for visitors to complete a rapid antigen test (RAT) on the same day as visiting the Melba home, and return a negative result, or sign a declaration when arriving at the service that after making reasonable attempts you haven’t been able to obtain a RAT test.


You don't have to complete a RAT where:

  • undertaking it prior to entry is not practicable for a person who is an essential carer of a resident

  • you've had a PCR test within 24 hours prior to visiting and can provide acceptable evidence of a negative result from that test

All visitors must sign in using the QR code and sign the declaration form before entering the Melba home.


Number Of Visitors Permitted To Visit A Person Supported Each Day


Under the new pandemic orders, the number of visitors that are permitted to visit a person supported in a Melba home each day depends on whether the visitors have been able to complete a RAT test.


WHEN A RAT IS AVAILABLE:


When you have a negative result from a Rapid Anitigen Test, up to five people can visit a supported person per day with a limit of five visitors at one time. There's no time limit on visits. The five visitors do not have to be from the same household.


If visiting a person supported at end of life, there is no limit on the number of visitors permitted per day, but a maximum of five people can visit at one time.


Visits from prospective residents are permitted. One prospective resident and a maximum of four persons accompanying the prospective resident are permitted at any one time. You are allowed multiple visits over the course of a day, but only one prospective resident and up to four accompanying persons are permitted to visit at any one time.


WHEN A RAT IS NOT AVAILABLE


When a RAT is unavailable, up to two people can visit a supported person per day with a limit of two visitors at one time. There is no time limit on visits. The two visitors don't have to be from the same household.


If visiting a person supported at end of life, there is no limit on the number of visitors permitted per day, but a maximum of five people can visit at one time.


One prospective resident and a maximum of two persons accompanying the prospective resident are permitted at any one time. Multiple visits are allowed over the course of a day, but only one prospective resident and up to two accompanying persons are permitted to visit at any one time.


Masks


All visitors need to wear a surgical mask when visiting. If you do not have a surgical mask, these will be available for your use at the Melba Home. If masks can't be worn, then you will be asked to wear a face shield.


When you cannot visit

  • Have returned a positive rapid antigen test result when tested on the same day as visiting the Melba home

  • Have any symptoms of COVID-19, other than those caused by an underlying health condition or medication

  • Are currently required to isolate or quarantine

  • Have been in contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 (except in the course of their employment while wearing the appropriate level of PPE in the circumstances):

  • in the last 7 days if the visitor is fully vaccinated and is not a ‘close contact’ and has not returned a negative COVID-19 PCR test

  • in the last 14 days if the visitor is not fully vaccinated or is a ‘close contact’ and has not returned a negative COVID-19 PCR test


AN UPDATE FROM MELBA ON COVID-19 IMPACTS - January 5

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - December 31

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - December 22

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - December 6

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - November 19

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - November 8

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - October 25

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - October 18

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE - October 4

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE- September 27

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE- September 23

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 6 UPDATE- September 20