Our Response to COVID-19
As government advice about COVID continues to be updated daily, it’s vital that we continue to closely monitor the situation and what it means for our participants, ourselves and our loved ones.
We continue to follow the directives of NSW Health to protect our people and participants.
COVID-19 remains a concern for us all and it is as important as ever to adhere to strict hygiene and social distancing measures.
We appreciate your continued support and understanding during these challenging times.
Our people are our priority
We continue to monitor circumstances to ensure we get the balance right between safeguarding our people from the virus and supporting their overall wellbeing.
DSA has policies and procedures in place to maintain high standards of infection control at our sites at all times.
Implemented additional COVID-19 precautions across all our services continue to help keep our participants, their friends and families, our employees and the communities we work in safe.
The measures include:
- Site access measures (temperature checking, visitor registers and illness/travel history questioning) and strict additional hygiene and cleaning.
- Support staff wearing a surgical face mask in all our services and sites
- Infection Control Leads ensure enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures are in place at all sites.
- Updated site access controls and visitor guidelines
- Additional training and support for our staff
On site precautions
All DSA staff involved in supporting our participants are wearing a surgical face mask at work to minimise the potential spread of infection until further notice. We continuously ensure that all our sites have sufficient supplies on hand.
We have developed procedures to enact should we have a close exposure or confirmed diagnosis of infection.
All our sites continue to limit access to non-essential visitors, enhance strict personal hygiene and infection control measures and implement social distancing. All visitors must wear a face mask on site.
To ensure our offices remain COVID safe, all DSA/METS offices have allocated COVID Champions responsible for supporting the site-specific infection prevention control protocols.
These are important measures that can help protect our participants and employees as well as reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
We all play a role in keeping ourselves, our families, participants and communities safe.
Visitor restrictions are in place
NSW Health has provided a specific update regarding the restrictions on residential disability care facilities which are effective immediately and until further notice.
The key points of note for DSA Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)/ Supported Independent Living (SIL) sites are detailed below:
Until Friday 22 January 2021:
- all non-essential staff should not attend DSA sites if they have been to the following Queensland LGAs areas since 2 January 2021: , , , , , , or .
- essential staff who have travelled to the above LGA’s should ring the local public health unit for a risk assessment and further advice.
All service locations in:
- Mt Druitt and Rooty Hill
All SIL locations within these footprints:
- must exclude all visitors, except those performing essential caring functions.
- should avoid participants leaving the location unless the visit is essential (for example, a medical appointment) or for exercise.
- provide participants access to appropriate information about required PPE and relevant DSA Infection Prevention Control protocols if they need to leave the location.
- must conduct enhanced COVID screening when participants return to the site.
(including Blue Mountains and Central Coast Local Government Areas):
- It is recommended that participants do not leave sites unless it is for essential reasons including:
- to shop for food or other essential goods and services
- to attend an essential medical appointment
- to exercise
- to attend day programs or employment solutions
- to attend family gatherings of no more than 5 people and where no-one at the event has, during the last 14 days, been:
- in the following Queensland LGAs areas since 2 January 2021: , , , , , , or .
- a resident of the Mt Druitt and Rooty Hill.
- a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and are within their self-isolation period.
- have been to any of the in NSW at the times and dates listed excluding the .
All participants should have access to appropriate information about required PPE and relevant DSA Infection Prevention Control protocols if they need to leave the location.
It is recommended that participants should be encouraged to change their non-essential planned activities, however if they do leave the site, enhanced COVID screening should be completed on their return.
- Should exclude visitors who have visited:
- the following Queensland LGAs areas since 2 January 2021: , , , , , , or .
- the Mt Druitt and Rooty Hill.
- There are no restrictions on people from regional NSW visiting family in regional NSW or attending day programs, employment or other similar settings.
The number of venues and locations which are deemed either ‘immediate testing and isolation’ or ‘monitoring for symptoms’ is changing rapidly. Ensure you follow the directives from NSW Health and check the latest information available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates
All non-essential visitors are requested to postpone their visit until further notice, regardless of where they live or have visited.
Ongoing protocols such as site access measures (wearing a face mask, temperature checking, visitor registers and illness/travel history questioning) and additional strict hygiene and cleaning are continuing at each of the sites.
These important measures can help protect our participants and employees as well as reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Easy read information for participants
NSW Health also has a page dedicated to Easy Read resources for people with disability. We have also developed story boards and gathered a range of easy read fact sheets for our participants. Resources have been shared to our frontline teams so they can display information on good hygiene and effective handwashing, knowing the symptoms and preventative measures for COVID-19 at all DSA sites.
Impact on services
We understand that enabling social connection is a vital part of supporting our participants’ wellbeing.
We are following guidelines issued by NSW Health regarding visitor access at our Supported Independent Living (SIL) and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) sites. We have communicated clearly with our participants and potential visitors regarding these guidelines.
Measures such as phone or video calls continue to be utilised to help people keep in touch with family, friends or others and to assist in limiting visits to premises at this time.
Community Solutions day programs are closed for the festive break and will recommence in mid-January 2021.
We have returned to providing on site supports for our jobseekers in our SLES and DES programs.
DSA Packaging Solutions operations are continuing at all sites with additional precautionary measures in place, including strict hygiene measures and the use of face masks.
Be assured that our team is doing everything possible to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the people we support and our employees, safeguarding our people is vital.