United Abilities COVID-19 Response Plan

Last Update 10/06/2020

This Response Plan is in line with the Australian Federal Government national guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is necessary to minimise transmission of COVID-19 within the community and to reduce further stress on public hospitals and general practitioner (GP) surgeries and clinics.

Our organisation will maintain a full-service capacity and will continue to serve our clients. However, our priority is to focus on preserving the health and safety of the people we are responsible for including staff, their families and our clients.

The development of this plan is not because we are fearful of contracting COVID-19, but rather to ensure our organisation is well prepared to engage in the national response to COVID-19. However, we recognise the possibility that some staff members and clients may contract the virus over the coming months.

Description

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases. This new coronavirus is named COVID-19.

COVID-19 is transmitted from person-to-person, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Although information is changing daily, the common signs of novel coronavirus are:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
 

It’s important to note, to raise awareness and not spread fear, that while COVID-19 exhibits symptoms similar to the flu, it is not as simple as contracting a seasonal flu. Most people have immunity to the flu, there is a vaccine, and the flu spreads more slowly through the community. There is no vaccine against COVID-19, and it is still highly unpredictable with conditions changing daily.

Policy and Response Plan

United Abilities will implement our COVID-19 Response Plan to ensure all staff members and external contractors are supported if a COVID-19 case is identified within, or connected to, our organisation.

United Abilities will advise all personnel to work from home for 14 days in the following instances:

● A United Abilities staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
● A confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in a visitor to the office.
● A confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in the local area of United Abilities’s office location (HUB).
A staff member will also be asked to work from home for 14 days if a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in the staff member’s home, suburb or local area as a precaution.

United Abilities will ensure that all staff members have the capability to continue their work remotely.
In the event a United Abilities staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will follow all appropriate and current government procedures. We will instruct all staff members who have been in contact and/or have been in the same area as the staff member with COVID-19 to seek appropriate medical advice, to be tested for COVID-19, and to self-isolate for 14 days.

Prevention

Good respiratory and hand hygiene

There are preventative measures staff can take to protect themselves from infection and help prevent the spread of infections and viruses to others. These measures include practising good respiratory and hand hygiene, such as:

  • cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs or sanitisers
  • avoiding touching your face
  • avoiding handshaking and other physical greetings
  • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath
  • staying home if you are unwell
  • regularly clean shared high-touch surfaces, e.g. tables, benches, doorknobs

As a standard precaution, stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people coughing or sneezing with flu-like symptoms.

Social distancing in the workplace

Social distancing is critical as COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person. The following actions help reduce risk at work:

  • Stay at home if you are sick.
  • Consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled.
  • Stop handshaking and other physical greetings.
  • Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call.
  • Reconsider non-essential business travel.
  • Defer large face-to-face meetings.
  • Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible.
  • Eat lunch outside rather than in the office.
  • Clean and disinfect shared high-touch surfaces regularly and use hand sanitiser.
  • Consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more fresh air.
 

Related documents

  • https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19 -information-on-social-distancing.pdf
  • https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-ale

References

  • https://www.australia.gov.au/
  • https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
 
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