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Update on contingency planning for coronavirus and FAQs

Posted on March 12, 2020

The situation regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to progress in NSW. The Department of Communities and Justice is continuing to monitor the situation, and we’ll provide regular updates.

We’re encouraged to see that some of you have taken the initiative on planning to ensure service continuity. Some of you have also contacted your contract manager for advice about service delivery.  Please continue to raise specific concerns with your contract managers as it enables us to get the contingency planning right.  Also, if you have found some creative or clever activities that are working well, please share them with us too.

We strongly encourage you to maintain continuity of your service delivery to clients as outlined in your contracts.  Many of our clients are already experiencing a range of hardships and vulnerabilities and it is important that we maintain a strong level of support, whilst reinforcing our care of staff and volunteers.

If the contracted obligations of your organisation are impacted by COVID-19 please inform your contract manager immediately.  The ‘notice requirement’ clauses of your contracts require the notification to be in writing and to advise how the service delivery has been effected and what strategies you are implementing to minimise the effects.

For more information on COVID-19 please refer to the coronavirus information (COVID-19) for service providers on the our website.

The Commonwealth Department of Health and NSW Health both have useful advice and resources to support you to continue delivering your services. 

If you receive a report of a client or staff member being infected, please check first with the local Public Health Unit by calling the statewide number: 1300 066 055.  If the infection is confirmed, please immediately contact your DCJ contract manager to discuss what to do. They’ve been instructed to escalate immediately so that DCJ can assist you to plan an appropriate response.

For more information about COVID-19, visit NSW Health’s website.

You can implement a range of strategies to prevent the spread of coronavirus by following the advice issued by the Department of Health regarding staff or clients who have returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19, or if they think they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. Please encourage staff and clients to:

  • wash their hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover their cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • and if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

Social distancing can also reduce the potential for transmission.  The NSW Department of Health states that while practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare – social distancing includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment