RetireAustralia Coronavirus update: 20 March 2020

Published: 20 March 2020

The world, our country and our village communities are changing. They will continue to change as we deal with the coronavirus emergency – an event not seen in our lifetimes.

Together, we will get through it. By working together, by supporting each other, by keeping calm heads and listening to accurate, expert advice.

Government measures to keep us safe

This week, the Australian Government has made several important decisions to help keep us safe by limiting the spread of the virus. These measures affect how we all live and how we run our communities. They include:

  • All people coming to Australia from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • A global travel ban for Australians who are advised not to travel overseas.
  • A ban on outdoor gatherings of 500 or more, and a ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 people or more.
  • Cancellation of Anzac Day ceremonies.
  • Guidelines on social distancing which makes it harder for the virus to spread by ensuring there is more distance between ourselves and others.
  • A ban on non-essential visits to Indigenous communities.
  • Strict measures limiting visits to older Australians in residential aged care, including:
    • Limit visits to a short duration.
    • Limit visits to a maximum of two visitors at one time, per day.
    • Visits to be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors or other non-communal area.
    • Ban large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment.
    • Stop visits from school or baby groups of any size.
    • Visitors encouraged to practice social distancing where possible.
    • Only allow children aged under 16 years to visit in special circumstances.
    • Require visitors and staff to provide details of their current health status.

What this means for our communities

While our retirement communities are not residential aged care, some of our residents, especially in care apartments, are very vulnerable to the coronavirus. So, we have taken some direction from the new measures for aged care.
We have also factored in the government’s social distancing guidelines which apply to everyone.
With your cooperation, we want to introduce these measures by Friday 20 March. And review them fortnightly.

Visitors

  • We ask that all non-essential visits are put on hold.
  • We discourage children under 16 from the visiting.
  • We ask that you screen your visitors – family, friends and any contractors or providers you use – by asking 4 simple questions:
    1. Have you been overseas in the last 14 days?
    2. Have you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
    3. Do you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat?
    4. Do you have any other signs of illness?

If their answer is YES to any of these questions, your answer should be NO to them visiting you. This will keep you and the wider community safe from Coronavirus.

 

Community centres, facilities and interactions

  • All group activities, sport and community events and non-essential organised outings, are put on hold.
  • Access to the community centre by appointment only – please call Reception.
  • Access to the community centre for children under 16 is suspended.
  • We recommend that you reduce the chance of spreading the virus by:
    • Staying in your home or apartment as much as possible.
    • Keeping interactions with others to what is sensible and necessary.
    • When you do meet up, maintain a distance of least 1.5 metres wherever possible.

 

Care apartments

  • Visiting hours between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday, or by arrangement with the Village Manager.
  • All visits from children under 16 are put on hold.
  • Only care apartment residents may use dining rooms.
  • All visitors to sign-in and provide details of their health status.

 

Changes we’re making

  • Maintenance limited to refurbishments and what is essential.
  • Sales tours by appointment only – no walk-ins.
  • Staff, contractors and sales visitors to sign-in and provide details of their health status.
  • Staff, contractors and sales visitors to keep contact with residents and staff to a minimum.
  • Additional cleaning and sanitation of buses, the community centre and common areas.

We know this will impact your lives. We want you to know we are here to help.

We are looking at what we can do to help you through, including:

  • Daily wellness checks for anyone interested.
  • How we can support with access to groceries and food if needed.
  • Enhanced site security if needed.

We’ve discussed these measures in detail with our Village Managers and Resident Committee Chairs. We’ve all come to the conclusion that we’d rather look back on this and think we over reacted than regret the consequences of not acting quicker.

We cannot over emphasise that we need community cooperation to keep everyone safe and healthy. By doing this together we will get through this together.

I will continue to update you each week, or more regularly if the situation changes. Please also check the noticeboard in your village for COVID-19 information.

If you have any questions, please call your Village Manager.

For more details on our response to Coronavirus, click here.

Further information

Australian Department of Health
Advice for aged care facilities and visitors to residents: https://www.health.gov.au/news/advice-for-aged-care-facilities-and-visitors-to-residents

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