COVID-19 Updates and Information

This section aims to keep you updated with the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19). You will find updates from the Australian Government Department of Health (Department of Health), the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and contact details for Government state and territory websites. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and UTS Jumbunna have worked together to clarify and communicate restrictions relating to COVID-19 activities for First Nations people living in remote communities across the country. You can keep up to date with information about changes for health professionals via the Coronavirus information for health professionals page on the Australian Government Services Australia website.

By scrolling to the bottom of this page you can access a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources, where you can filter your search by community or health professional.

NACCHO provides regular updates for its members and community via the NACCHO Covid-19 updates and information link and via their Facebook page. The Australian Government is implementing three new measures to help provide increased protection to help reduce the number of healthcare workers being infected with COVID-19, read the full media release.

Temporary telehealth medicare bulk-billed items for COVID-19 for health professionals were announced as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19) and 10 Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were added. The Australian health sector emergency response plan for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a living document and guides the Australian health sector response. The Coronavirus Australia app gives the latest up to date information on COVID-19. The COVIDSafe app, is a tool developed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The app aims to help state and territory health officials quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. There is also an official Australian Government WhatsApp channel with information about Covid-19.

COVID-19

Use this online tool to check your symptoms of COVID-19 and guides you to the appropriate healthcare action. The healthdirect website coronavirus hub also has resources, infographics, videos, and a Video Call Service for healthcare professionals.

National coronavirus helpline Ph: 1800 020 080. Urgent enquiries can be directed to the Department of Health’s National Incident Room via Email: health.ops@health.gov.au

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 (the Taskforce) was co-chaired by the Department of Health and NACCHO, to fast-track an emergency response plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to any potential spread of COVID-19. The STOP the spread graphics and social media resources were developed by NACCHO. These are for the promotion of healthy messages to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay informed via the National Indigenous Australian Agency.

A coalition of peak Australian health professional groups has come together to develop new ‘living guidelines’ that will provide continually updated evidence-based guidance to clinicians caring for people with COVID-19. To help inform responses by examining a range of scenarios for COVID-19 transmission, case finding, quarantine, testing and community lockdown the COVID-19 testing and response strategies in regional and remote Indigenous communities: Key messages for health services is available. The TEN – The Essential Network is an app developed to support health professionals to manage life and work through COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, the Victorian Government has established a Coronavirus Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund. $10 million will be provided to give local organisations the support they need to develop community-led responses at a local level over the coming year. Applications are open until midnight 30 November 2020.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) in Alice Springs has been approved by the Department of Health to provide testing to all people in the community with symptoms, including mild symptoms. Congress clients can call the Congress’ COVID-19 hotline (free call) Ph: 1800 514 400 or (08) 8959 4782.

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The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has a range of resources for health practitioners on mandatory notification. The Mable online platform is part of the Australian Government’s contingency measures to ensure continuity of the aged care workforce during COVID-19. It allows registered (and retired) nurses and allied health professionals to list their availability.

Yarning Safe’N’Strong is a helpline especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who need to have a yarn about their wellbeing. Offered by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, the free call line is available 24 hours a day by calling Ph: 1800 959 563.

For people feeling isolated or lonely the Australian Red Cross has established COVID Connect, a free service to provide support and community connection for people who are feeling isolated or disconnected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HealthInfoNet in partnership with the Heart Foundation has recorded a webinar about Heart health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during COVID-19. The Respiratory Health and Infectious Conditions sections also has information and resources.

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