New information sheets – Getting the COVID-19 care you need
QDN has produced some information sheets for Queensland Health on the new care pathways for people with disability and their supporters if they get COVID-19, so they know how to access the right health care to meet their needs.
For more information: Read the new Care Pathways Fact Sheets on our website here www.qdn.org.au/new-information-sheets-covid-19-care-pathways-2022
On 4 March at 6pm restrictions were eased You won’t need to wear masks inside except at hospitals, residential aged care facilities, disability accommodation, prisons, public transport, airports and on planes. There will be no limit on the number of household visitors. There will be no limit on the number of people at businesses or venues.
COVID-19 ‘Open Letter’ Campaign
A diverse group representing consumers, community organisations, unions, and professional organisations in the disability, health, community, and aged care sectors came together to publish an open letter. We were one of the 19 signatories who called on the Commonwealth and State Governments to prioritise COVID-19 safety measures for Queenslanders with disability during the lasted COVID-19 wave.
For more information: To read more about the 'open letter’ go to our website: www.qdn.org.au/open-letter-to-commonwealth-and-state-governments-calling-for-immediate-actions/
Royal Commissions Statement of ongoing concern
QDN welcomes the Royal Commission’s ‘statement of ongoing concern’ on the impact of and responses of the Omicron wave of COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability.
Our recent ‘open letter’ to our federal and state politicians called on our governments to urgently action to prioritise access for Queenslanders with disability to vital health and COVID-19 safety measures during this critical time. The current environment is having a significant impact on Queenslanders with disability and pose significant ongoing risks to people’s access to basic essential supports. QDN looks forward to continuing our work with allies and partners to progress this issue and get action and outcomes.
For more information: To watch the statement video from the Royal Commission head here www.qdn.org.au/qdn-welcomes-the-royal-commissions-statement-of-ongoing-concern/
Free RATs for people SIL accommodation
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC, said the Government was providing free rapid tests to NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL) residents and workers in line with the National Cabinet’s agreement to the new Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPCC) guidance. This latest measure supersedes the existing measure which enabled SIL participants and providers to claim up to $12.50 per rapid antigen test when a support worker is required to undergo testing to safely deliver supports.
For more information: Go to the NDIS website here www.ndis.gov.au/news/7350-rapid-antigen-test-distribution-high-risk-residential-disability-care-settings
Queensland Health Symptom Checker
The COVID-19 symptom checker is now live on the Queensland Health website. This online self-assessment tool will assist people with COVID-19 to monitor their symptoms and understand what healthcare is needed.
For more information: Go to the Queensland Health website here www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-informed/covid-care-self-checker
Workforce – Critically Essential Workers
The Commonwealth and State Governments are working around critical essential workers for industries where shortages have significant impact on people. At National Cabinet today recently a range of different industries were listed including disability. Guidelines and information about this will be developed. The Queensland Government has a range of requirements in place and QDN will update members as the information is released. QDN acknowledges it is important that there are safeguards around this and if a critical situation occurs there needs to be clear and understandable guidelines.
Mandatory vaccination for disability workers
QDN has worked with Queensland Health to develop easy read vaccination resources about mandatory vaccinations for disability workers.
For more information: You will find the resources at the page www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine/information-for/disability-and-carers
Booking COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters
If you are unvaccinated, give serious thought to getting your shots, and if you’ve had your first two shots book in for your booster.
For more information: You can search for local bookings https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/booking/
There is a user guide to this booking site available on Queensland Health’s website along with other information and resources here
If you need support over the phone about bookings, you can call the COVID-19 hotline on 134 268 – be prepared to sit on hold for a while as it’s such a busy time. Let them know you have a disability and if you have any particular accessibility requirements for your booking.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports
Information for NDIS participants about COVID-19 measures are available https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/participants-coronavirus-covid-19
Further information about temporary additional supports such as claiming Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) costs, accessing Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if you live in a Supported Independent Living (SIL) arrangement, and meal preparation and delivery is available here www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/participants-coronavirus-covid-19/your-health-and-safety
It’s comforting to know you are prepared if you must quarantine or if you get COVID-19 symptoms.
QDN’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness is available here www.qdn.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Person-Centred-Emergency-Preparedness-Planning-for-COVID-19.pdf
Going to hospital
If you need to go to hospital or would like to be prepared just in case, QDN has a Know Your Rights guide available at www.qdn.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/KnowYourRights_Guide_full_FINAL.pdf
There’s also a checklist at www.qdn.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/KnowYourRights_A5_FINAL.pdf
Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)
These are in short supply at the moment, but there is stock coming in the next few weeks to local pharmacies. If you have a service provider check with them to see whether they can access some for you – the NDIS are making allowances for people living in SIL arrangements and you can read about this at www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/participants-coronavirus-covid-19/your-health-and-safety
Contact your local pharmacy and let them know your circumstances if you need a test urgently.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Again, service providers may be able to access PPE stocks if you can’t locate masks etc locally. This Queensland Government site provides mainly commercial quantities, but you can check for smaller quantities available in your local area at https://covid19procurement.hpw.qld.gov.au/ - enter what you’re looking for here https://covid19procurement.hpw.qld.gov.au/whatsonoffer/
There are guides about fitting masks, including a video at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/face-masks