Posted by VACCHO Communications Team on 12 August 2020
Tags: Department of Health and Human Services, spike in cases, young people, Aboriginal children, COVID-19, ACCO, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, VACCHO, Jill Gallagher, DHHS, Victorian Government, Aboriginal health
Young people have been urged to do their bit to help suppress COVID-19 following another spike in cases in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Communities.
There has now been a total of 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Communities in Victoria, up 14 on the 46 cases previously recorded.
Almost six out of 10 cases are in people aged in the 15-44 age group, highlighting that community transmission in young people is driving the second wave of coronavirus.
New data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows a spike in COVID-19 cases in parts of metropolitan Melbourne, specifically Hume, Brimbank and Yarra LGAs.
Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO Jill Gallagher AO said the latest figures were worrying and called on young people to start treating this virus seriously.
“We are seeing alarming rates of community transmission unlike the first lockdown period,” she said.
“Almost 60 per cent of cases are in the 15-44 age group which highlights again that young people are not immune from this virus.
“There is also a spike in cases between the ages of 0 and four years old, with two new cases this week alone.
“This is really worrying for our families and organisations.
“We are lucky we have not seen any fatalities yet, but we know that due to our health complexities we have an increased risk of exposure.”
In Victoria, as in many other jurisdictions including remote areas, Ms Gallagher said the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is increased by significant numbers of community transmission and Aboriginal people living in overcrowded or transient accommodation.
“The challenge faced by Aboriginal Communities in urban and regional areas is that it is not possible to comprehensively lock-down a population that lives dispersed among the general and non-Aboriginal population of major cities and towns,” she said.
Ms Gallagher said she understands Communities have been working hard to minimise any infections which has been quite successful to date, but we are now entering a very challenging period.
“We know this feels like a setback, but we’ve done such a great job so far,” she said.
“It’s a really challenging period, but it’s important we continue to follow the rules to continue to keep our loved ones safe. We are hopeful but we are not naïve and we must remain vigilant.
“Young people need to continue practising social distancing, wear masks if over 12 when outside, and stay home when feeling sick.”
For media inquiries or interview requests please contact Andrew Jefferson on 0428 433 963.
VACCHO is the leading advocate for the health of Aboriginal peoples in Victoria and a peak organisation to its membership of 32 ACCOs. VACCHO also works closely with partner organisations, Government, non-Government community sector organisations across Victoria and nationally.