Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

The health and wellbeing of our clients, their families, our staff and volunteers continue to remain Orana’s highest priority as we closely monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Phase Two of Orana’s Pandemic Response Plan has now been implemented, in line with advice from the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Effective immediately, the following measures have been implemented as part of this plan:

Employment Services

  • To ensure we comply with the requirements of social distancing protocols (1.5-2.0 metre gap between colleagues, client etc), Orana will be scaling down the number of employees and staff on site at any given time to minimise risk and contact. As such, we may be asking employees who have an underlying medical condition, to remain at home to minimise risk to their health and wellbeing.
  • Employees asked to stay home will be able to access their annual leave. Employees may also access their pro rata long service leave if they have been working for Orana for more than seven years. In the event this affects your family member, the Business Manager of that site will contact you prior.
  • If a family member exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your GP or call the Australian government COVID-19 helpline on 1800 020 080 which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and notify their Manager. If your family member tests positive for COVID-19, please follow the guidelines set out by the Department of Health and notify the employee’s Manager.
  • A number of work sites may close down temporarily due to the inability to guarantee the social distancing protocols and the general directives and measures set out by the Australian Government and Department of Health. In the event this affects your family member, an Orana staff member will contact you prior to closure.

Independent Living (Accommodation Services)

  • In the event that a family member who is supported by Orana in their home exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your GP or call the Australian government COVID-19 helpline on 1800 020 080 which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • If a family member is tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the guidelines set out by the Department of Health and notify Orana’s Service Manager on 8375 2000. If the family member remains home, all essential support such as personal care, medication management, food preparation etc will continue.
  • In the event that a family member who resides in an Orana 24 hour supported home or other housing provider property, exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, Orana will assist your family member to seek medical attention immediately. If the family member is tested positive for COVID-19, Orana will follow the protocols and guidelines set out by the Department of Health. This will include immediately isolating them within the house, preferably their bedroom, to restrict interaction with other residents. Throughout this process, Orana will keep the family informed of the situation and any further developments.
  • All Client Coaches supporting family members in their own homes or in an Orana or other housing provider home, may be required to wear Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) which includes face masks, gloves and gowns. This will be directed by the Department of Health and we will continue to monitor updates daily, in order to provide the best support possible to your family member.

DSSA, Port Augusta Day Options and Capacity Building

  • Most Capacity Building programs, DSSA’s Life Education and the Port Augusta Day Options service will cease operating on Friday 27th March until further notice, due to the inability to guarantee the social distancing protocols and the general directives and measures set out by the Australian Government and Department of Health.

To ensure Orana is creating a safe environment:

  • We have increased the frequency of environmental cleaning.
  • Increased hygiene and sanitation measures are currently in place across all Orana sites and houses. We are continuing to encourage all staff to ensure they and those they support keep practising good hand hygiene, and sneeze/cough
  • We are conducting education sessions on the importance of good hygiene and have increased our supervision in this regard.
  • Where possible, we have reduced overlap between our services – neither staff, nor clients will move between our sites. This not only reduces transmission, but also ensures that if one of our sites is directed to close, we will still be able to provide support at other sites.
  • We will continue to provide support in the community (unless advice changes), however, we will not be attending any group programs where people congregate.
  • We will avoid any activities that place people in close proximity to others for extended periods such as concerts and movie theatres.
  • We have cancelled all onsite meetings and video/teleconferencing will be utilised instead.
  • Our staff will also not attend non-essential meetings or training at external sites.
  • Effective from Monday 30th March, most staff at Orana’s head office will be working from home to minimise exposure and risk. Although Orana’s head office will be closed to visitors, the 8375 000 number will remain operational.
  • Staff or clients who have returned from any overseas travel will be excluded from the service for 14 days and will require medical clearance before returning.

If you would like to talk to someone regarding your family member’s NDIS funding options and choices, please contact an Orana Client Liaison Officer on 8375 2000.

We want life to continue as normally as possible for those we support during this time, in the safest possible manner to ensure their health and wellbeing of everyone by continuing to follow protocols as directed by the Australian Government and the Department of Health.

It is important to mention that there are no known cases of COVID-19 at any of our sites or houses at the time of writing this update.

For updates on the Coronavirus:

  • The Australian Government Department of Health website (https://www.health.gov.au/) provides general information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Phone the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Whilst we have had to make some difficult decisions to minimise the risk of infection, we understand that the daily routine of our clients may be affected. Thank you again for your patience as we continue to monitor the situation closely. As information is available, we will continue to communicate with you but in the meantime, if you have any questions, please send an email to coronaadvice@orana.asn.au.

Nicholas Mihalaras

Chief Executive Officer

Orana Australia Limited