Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates
There is an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19. Community Services #1 has implemented our response plan and is closely monitoring the situation, following advice from ACT Health. The health and well-being of our clients, employees, and volunteers is our highest priority.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause mild illness, such as the common cold and gastrointestinal infections – fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough, sore throat and shortness of breath; as well as more severe illness, such as pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.
There is currently an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus named COVID-19.
For most people, the illness will be mild or moderate and individuals can make a full recovery. However, some members of the community are more vulnerable.
Severe disease and mortality are more common among older people and those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions.
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person to person through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Good hygiene practices are the most effective way to reduce your risk of contacting COVID-19 including regular hand washing, covering your cough, and staying home if you are unwell.
Limiting infection and spread of COVID-19 is not just important for your health, but also for the health of our community.
Latest News on COVID-19 in Canberra and ACT
The ACT Government is taking measures to ensure the safety of the ACT community. There is a dedicated website you can access here, with information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT.
TRAVEL ADVICE: NSW & VICTORIA
Canberrans are being advised to not travel to areas where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring. You should also not travel if you are unwell.
Canberrans are being advised to not travel to Greater Sydney. Stay up to date about the situation in NSW by visiting this link.
Canberrans are being advised not to travel to Victoria at this time. The NSW border with Victoria has been closed. ACT residents will be able to return home, but they will be required to enter quarantine until 14 days after leaving Victoria. Please stay updated with Victorian travel advice here.
People who have recently been in Victoria, Greater Sydney and COVID-affected areas of Queensland should not visit or work in high risk settings, including hospitals, aged care facilities, and correctional facilities for 14 days after leaving these areas.
We will update this page regularly, and we advise you to refer to the ACT Health page for updates and advice as well.
Community Services #1 has implemented a comprehensive Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Plan and we are taking sensible measures to protect the health of our staff and clients and slow the spread of the virus and also reduce the burden on our health system. These measures include:
- Implementing increased hygiene practices and social distancing measures
- Monitoring staff and client travel
- Increasing our cleaning protocols across all our sites, with an increased focus on highly trafficked/high touch areas, including doors, handles, entryways, toilets and kitchens
We will continue to monitor the situation and take the advice of regulatory and government authorities to ensure we are proactive where possible.
The changing nature of the situation and conditions requires active monitoring to ensure we make informed decisions and communicate them in a timely manner. In the case of a change to a service or program, clients will be contacted directly (if possible), and we will update this page.
We aim to ensure that we are able to continue to provide our essential community services in the face of this unprecedented crisis impacting the Canberra region.
On the advice of the ACT government, most of our programs and services are continuing to run, with increased hygiene and social practices. More information about specific services can be found below.
Frequently Asked Questions – updated Monday 27 July 2020
Are you still open for business?
As of Monday 27 July, the majority of our services and programs remain open:
– Early Education and Care (EEC): all five EEC Centres (Acacia, Binara, Birralee, Forrest and Narrabundah) remain open. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4700.
– Outside School Hours Care (OSHC): Mawson Outside School Hours Care remains open. For additional information, please phone 02 6189 1045.
– In-Home Care: we are still providing the majority of In-Home Care services, including personal care, domestic assistance, and shopping. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4780.
– Transport: we are still providing transport services. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4780.
– Food Pantry: the Food Pantry remains open as per normal hours of operation (Monday: 1.00pm-4.00pm; Wednesday: 10.00am-4.00pm; Thursday: 10.00am-4.00pm; Friday: 1.00pm-4.00pm). Please note that the number of people able access the Pantry, and the nearby waiting area, at any one time has been restricted. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4710.
– Social Support Groups: all Social Support Groups (including all Seniors Groups, Gym Group, Mixed Bag, Ukulele, and Yoga for Women) have resumed. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4710.
– Venue Hire: venue hire for Griffith Neighbourhood Centre and Narrabundah Halls is still on hold. Our Client Support Team will be in touch with anyone who holds a current booking to discuss alternative arrangements. For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4700.
What are you doing to protect people who access your services and programs from the spread of COVID-19?
CS#1 has implemented a range of measures to assist with the protection of children, clients, staff, and volunteers from the spread of COVID-19.
These safety measures are based on information received from relevant Commonwealth and Territory agencies, and other regulatory bodies, and are reviewed daily by our Executive Team.
As of Thursday 26 March, key safety measures include:
- All of our staff and volunteers are required to monitor their own health on a daily basis.
- Any staff member or volunteer who is experiencing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, or who meets any of the other Commonwealth criteria for being ‘at risk’, will be placed on mandatory leave and asked to contact the relevant health authorities.
- Any member of the public (including children accessing EEC or OSHC programs) experiencing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, or who meets any of the other Commonwealth criteria for being ‘at risk’, is prohibited from entering any CS#1 facility.
- The number of people able to access CS#1 facilities at any one time has been restricted, so as to promote a safe distance between themselves and others.
- All of our staff and volunteers are required to routinely wash their hands, and to use hand-sanitiser, which is available at our Head Office reception, in the foyer of all of our EEC and OSHC programs, and in all of our transport vehicles.
- All of our Home Support and Regional Assessment staff have been provided with masks, gloves, and anti-bacterial gel, and undertake a Health Screening Questionnaire over the telephone with all clients prior to any home visit.
- All external excursions from our EEC and OSHC programs have been cancelled, and no person other than a parent of a child attending an EEC and OSHC program (or program staff) is permitted to enter an EEC or OSHC facility.
How long will you remain open for business?
We are in daily contact with relevant Commonwealth and Territory agencies, and other regulatory bodies, and we are basing our decisions with respect to what services and programs we can continue to safely operate based on their advice.
We are determined to continue to provide our services and programs for as long as it is safe to do so.
If we do need to close or change any of the programs or services we currently operate, we will let our clients know as soon as possible (either by telephone, email, Facebook, or via this webpage). We will do our best to put alternative arrangements in place to continue to meet individual client needs.
What should I do if I become sick?
Seek immediate medical assistance.
If you are a CS#1 client, or your child attends one of our EEC or OSHC programs, and you or your child are experiencing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, or meet any of the other Commonwealth criteria for being ‘at risk’, you are prohibited from entering any CS#1 facilities. We will, however, do our best to put alternative arrangements in place to continue to your individual needs.
For additional information, please phone 02 6126 4700.
For general information on COVID-19, telephone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.