As you know, COVID-19 cases are currently increasing significantly each day. I’m writing to let you know about what Melba is doing to respond to the rapidly changing situation and to keep people supported safe.
For the latest information and directions: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Melba has a good supply of PPE, with several months’ worth of equipment stockpiled. We have also recently increased our PPE levels.
All staff must now wear a P2/N95 mask and eye protection every day when providing support services. This further protects the safety of supported people and staff from risk of transmission.
This is what our current everyday staff PPE requirement looks like:
The increase in COVID-19 cases is causing a further shortage in disability support workers and agency staff across the sector. However, we are constantly monitoring our staffing to ensure our services can continue to operate and make the best use of Melba’s resources. The health and safety of the people supported is and always will be paramount.
We are continually looking at options including administration staff and office staff who are trained as support workers who could potentially step in and pick up shifts to help cover shortages. We have also increased our HR capacity to further enhance our recruitment efforts across Victoria.
Melba’s COVID-19 team is meeting daily to make sure we continue to have the right processes and supports in place.
This is our process if there is an outbreak, or if someone identifies as having COVID-19 in any Melba home or service:
Melba’s Outbreak Coordinator instigates the process to immediately inform all people we support, family members or nominated contacts, and staff. This will take place within hours.
You will be advised firstly by phone where possible or if not a text message/SMS on your mobile phone or email.
People who do not have mobile phones will be contacted by land line.
If this occurs over a weekend there is a General Manager Outcomes on duty who will instigate this process.
National shortage of rapid antigen tests (RAT)
There is a chronic shortage of rapid antigen tests across Australia. National health authorities are working to supply states with more tests, but this shortage is affecting all sectors.
Currently, the Government requires anyone who is a close contact to have a rapid antigen test on day 6, but none are currently available. Melba will discuss each of these cases with the Government’s High Risk Accommodation Response Team (HRART).
This Government team will provide advice on whether these close contents can be released from isolation without the need to have a PCR test. We will let you know the advice we receive directly.
With the high rate of COVID-19 in the community, we are encouraging all staff, families and people supported to book in for a booster shot. We are also organising clinics to provide booster shots in all our regions at the end of January. We will let you know the dates and times shortly.
It’s a very challenging time, but we will get through this together. Thank you to our staff and families for working so hard to keep everyone we support safe and healthy.
We are updating our website regularly, please visit: https://www.melbasupport.com.au/ and I’ll write again as soon as we have more information.
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).