After being alerted to a COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide’s North late on 15 November 2020, UnitingSA responded swiftly to implement a raft of precautionary measures to ensure the ongoing safety of our teams and those we support. 

Since the initial notification, the Parafield cluster has grown to include 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost 40 health alert locations in Adelaide’s North, West and CBD (as at 2:00PM on 17/11/21).

UnitingSA delivers Aged Care, Housing and Community Services from more than 35 locations across the state, including sites in close proximity to these health alert locations.

Importantly, we deliver care and support to many people who are at greater risk of more serious illness if infected with COVID-19, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. 

We are also acutely aware of the recent Victorian experience and the fact that the SA outbreak is in its infancy, with the full extent not yet known.

It is with this understanding that UnitingSA has put in place a comprehensive program of COVID-19 safeguards across our organisation.

These include:

  • Precautionary restrictions at our six Aged Care homes, with visiting limited to palliative care only (arranged on an individual basis) 
  • The temporary suspension of all resident outings (excluding for health emergencies)
  • A temporary freeze on new Residential Aged Care admissions
  • Staff in direct contact with clients or residents to wear a face mask during the delivery of care and support
  • Staff to work at a single site until further notice
  • A transition to essential outreach and home-based services across our Aged Care, Housing and Community Services programs
  • Detailed screening of staff, clients and visitors to include all health alert locations named by SA Health
  • Identification and contact tracing of staff who may have attended the health alert sites
  • A temporary suspension of group activities and group transport

We understand these temporary measures may be disheartening for our community given we were moving in such a positive direction, however our priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of our clients, residents and staff.

Importantly, within the Residential Aged Care setting, there are no cases of COVID-19 in any of our homes.

All of our Community Services sites, including our Homelessness and Emergency Relief centres in Port Adelaide, remain operational and open to the public, however we encourage the community to use telephone and online contact methods wherever possible.

While we hope these pre-emptive measures will remain in place for a short period of time, the situation is changing rapidly and we will respond accordingly to protect the entire UnitingSA community.

While there is no cause for concern, please be assured that UnitingSA remains well prepared for an outbreak, with detailed COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plans in place which are continually reviewed.

Thank you for your understanding as we work together to minimise the impact of this evolving situation.

We urge everyone to heed the advice of SA Health to self-monitor for any symptoms and seek testing as soon as symptoms appear, no matter how mild. Testing sites can be found on the SA Health website.

To find out more about COVID-19 hotspots, the State Government’s tracing efforts, and other important COVID-19 health advice, please visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au.

Libby Craft (CEO)