COVID-19 update for Victorian disability service providers

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Safer and Stronger webinar

NDS invites disability service providers to the first ‘Safer and Stronger’ webinar on responding to COVID-19 in the disability sector this Friday.

Co-facilitated by DHHS, this one hour webinar provides updates on responding to COVID-19 in disability services from departmental and sector representatives.

Funded by the Victorian Government, the NDS Safer and Stronger Project aims to provide practical information and support to Victorian disability service providers on Infection Control and Business Continuity in response to COVID-19.

For more details and to register for the webinar please visit the event webpage.

Event details:
Date: Friday, 31 July 
Time: 10:00am – 11:00am (AEST)
Platform: Zoom 

This event will be Auslan interpreted. For other access requirements please contact En-En See

Please forward any questions you would like addressed during the webinar to Cassidy Livingstone by 2pm Thursday, 30 July for consideration by the panel.

Infection Control Visits

NDS urges all SDA and SIL providers to consider the offer of free visits by DHHS public health team members to disability houses in priority areas. Given the level of community transmission, this is a timely opportunity to receive practical advice on infection control. For more information, or to request a visit please email:  with the subject COVIDIPC VISIT.  

Masks

People with disabilities
DHHS is distributing 2.1 million reusable face masks to vulnerable Victorians, including people with disabilities. These are now available for service providers to order and then distribute to the people they support.

Eligible people should continue to use a face covering until they receive their reusable mask. Whilst awaiting delivery, providers who apply will be sent single-use masks immediately. DHHS has indicated that providers may not initially receive their full allocation of reusable face masks as requested, but the Department will aim to meet the full request in subsequent weeks.

Further information including the eligibility criteria and the process for ordering masks is available on the DHHS website. For additional queries please email 

Workers
All disability support workers are now required to wear a face mask at work. This requirement applies to workers throughout Victoria. Further details about the use of masks in disability settings is outlined in the recent DHHS fact sheet [Word]

Exemptions
People with disability must wear a face covering unless it is unsuitable to do so for medical, physical, communication or other individual risk factors. The list of exemptions can be found on the DHHS website.

NDS has been liaising with Victoria Police regarding mask use by people with disabilities. It has been confirmed that people who have a lawful reason for not wearing a mask do not require either a medical certificate or permit stating their lawful reason for not wearing a mask. If stopped by police, police will ask to confirm the lawful reason for not wearing a mask and may also ask for identification. We understand that letters currently being provided by services to their staff and participants are sufficient.

Support payments

NDS is aware of the significant financial imposition created by COVID-19 on both disability services and workers and is raising these concerns with relevant authorities.

The Victorian Government is providing payments to some workers, parents and guardians who are required to self-isolate and quarantine. Those people required to self-isolate while waiting for COVID-19 test results, have a confirmed case or have been instructed by DHHS to self-isolate because they are a close contact of a confirmed case, may be eligible for the following payments:

For further details including eligibility requirements please visit the DHHS COVID-19 worker support payment webpage.

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