To our valued community,
We were excited by the Premier’s announcement last Thursday that Victoria had reached the milestone of 70 per cent of people aged over 16 had been fully vaccinated and that Victoria’s 80 per cent double dose vaccination milestone will be reached ahead of schedule, with a further easing of restrictions planned for the community on Friday 29 October at 6pm.
These restrictions include the uniting of regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne, with travel limits between the two removed; indoor settings opening up further and masks outdoors only required where you cannot physically distance. You can view the roadmap summary here.
While this announcement provides a step towards being able to plan for a return to some onsite support for our participants, Disability Support providers are still guided by the care directives set out by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). At this stage we have not received a roadmap for Disability Services to reopen. Disability providers are required to maintain restrictions until the Government’s residential and non-residential updated care directives are released.
In a communication to all disability providers on Monday 26 October 2021, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has indicated that the Open Premises Directions do not apply to disability day services that are operating from purpose-built facilities. New disability specific guidance is currently being finalised.
Key elements from the existing DFFH guidance for day services, includes:
- Day programs can continue to operate in line with COVIDSafe practices where the service is considered essential for individual participants, which OC Connections is currently providing.
- Residents of residential disability services should not attend day programs, unless their essential needs cannot be met in the home or remotely. OC Connections residents are receiving day support in their homes.
- If it is not essential for services to be provided in-person for mental and physical health care and safety purposes, then providers must not provide in-person services.
OC Connections is keen to have programs and supports return to a COVID “normal” as soon as we are permitted to and we will continue to update families and participants as soon as the permittable changes are known.
As we begin the move towards the new normal, it will be even more important for the community to get vaccinated and also monitor symptoms to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, regardless of vaccination status.
I am happy to report that all staff who are on-site are vaccinated against COVID, ensuring that we continue to safeguard our most vulnerable community members.
It is also important for families and participants to share the vaccination status of participants so we can plan support requirements, including access to community services and locations, for when we move to a new normal.
Please take care.
Chief Executive Officer