Coronavirus grows in Vic disability sector

August 12, 2020

Outbreaks of coronavirus in Victoria’s disability homes has reached 162 cases.

Infections among staff, residents and clients in the sector have prompted the creation of a control body of state and federal staff based out of the State Control Centre, similar to the one for aged care.

“Any cases amongst vulnerable groups are a concern,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling on the federal government and the National Disability Insurance Agency to ramp up responses so it does not mirror the rampant aged care outbreaks.

“The sector is at high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak because, similar to the aged care sector, it relies on an insecure, casual and highly mobile workforce,” ALA national president Graham Droppert said in a statement.

“Agencies funded through the NDIS to provide support services must start supplying PPE to all their staff, sub-contractors and clients. We have received reports that some sub-contracted disability carers are being required to purchase their own PPE.”

As Victoria’s second wave crashed through the state’s aged care sector, it set up a $1500 payment for workers who were choosing between isolating if sick and working because of no sick leave.

The state government this week also started a call-to-test service so vulnerable people including those with a disability, could call the COVID hotline, be assessed by a nurse before a tester comes to visit them at home.

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