Message from the Chair
Dear Members and Colleagues,
On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
On 27 February 2020, the Prime Minister announced the activation of the ‘Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)‘.
On 11 March 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. The declaration of a pandemic did not change the degree of risk but meant recognition that there are cases worldwide, and that each country needs to take steps to slow the rate of spread of the virus.
People with chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems or living in group residential settings are in the high risk category for experiencing a serious illness from infection with Covid-19. This includes many of us in the disability sector. Being aware of this means that, where possible, we need to take extra precautions to minimise the risk of being in contact with the virus.
We rely on people who have recently returned from overseas, or who have been in direct close contact with an infectious person, or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared, or in close contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes, to act responsibly and self-isolate from providing personal support care.
Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from an infected person, and then touching the mouth or face may lead to transfer of the virus. Since we do not know what surfaces may be contaminated, we need to treat them all with caution.
Minimising Risk – Prevention
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and keeping away from others when they are — or if you are — sick is the best defence against most viruses. You also should:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people)
- exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
Wearing a surgical mask is only helpful in preventing people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask as there is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.
Get the latest updates from the Department of Health here. This website is updated every day with the latest medical advice and official reports. The ABC’s Coronacast webcast is another spot for updates, and where you can post your questions.
WWDACT has already taken the step of postponing our Pitch Your Passion II, which will showcase emerging young leaders with disabilities sharing their insights and skills in their varying fields of endeavor. Watch our FB page and this e-bulletin for further information about when the show night will be scheduled.
Similarly we have monitored the situation for the WWDACT Self-Advocacy Series of workshops. Aji, our community development officer, has contacted participants individually to update them on the situation for each workshop.
WWDACT will hold its monthly Board meetings by Zoom videoconference, until further notice.
Keep watching our FB page for information and perhaps some news about virtual get-togethers. If you are self-isolating and have ideas on activities or virtual happenings, please email us at email@example.com. Let’s be innovative and safe!
Best wishes for keeping ourselves as healthy as possible this week!