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Another large spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Communities is a stark reminder for Victorians that this pandemic is not over

Posted by VACCHO Communications Team on 19 August 2020

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Another large spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities is a stark reminder for Victorians that this pandemic is not over, and people still need to comply with the rules while staying connected.

There are now 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities in Victoria, up 9 on the 56 cases recorded late last week. 

The latest figures from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 38 people have recovered from the virus while 27 cases are still active.

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO Jill Gallagher AO said the latest figures were another reminder to Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities not to get complacent and to continue following the rules.

New data shows a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hume, Yarra and Mitchell local government areas, Ms Gallagher said.

“Worryingly, there are also cases of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities in Greater Bendigo and Greater Geelong which shows this insidious virus is now spreading to mob in regional Victoria,” Ms Gallagher said.

“This is a grim reminder to continue following the rules and to get tested if feeling sick, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

“Even though it appears we have managed to flatten the curve in recent days, this virus is still active and cases of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities are still rising.

“Rest assured, we are all in this together and our 32 ACCOs across Victoria are here to support you.”

Ms Gallagher admitted that maintaining work, family and friend connections during COVID-19 was not easy, leading many people to feel lonely during the pandemic. 

“When you’re not heading into work and your ability to meet up with loved ones is restricted, it can be difficult to feel connected to others,” she said.

“Spending time with work colleagues, friends and family is one of the best ways we manage stress.

“However, there are several creative ways that we can stay connected, even when we must be apart.

“Make your catch-ups virtual, try an online activity or class together, or get your kids to play an online computer game where they can still interact with other children.

We may be socially distancing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay socially connected.”

Ms Gallagher reminded Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander people if they were showing even the mildest of symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, loss of smell or taste, or shortness of breath, they must get tested.

“If we continue to stick to the rules and do the right thing, we can get to the other side safely,” she said.

To check where you can be tested: 

  • Call your local ACCO or doctor 
  • Contact one of the testing ACCOs – http://www.vaccho.org.au/about-us/coronavirus/for-you-at-home/support/safe-testing
  • Go to DHHS website – www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/getting-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 
  • Call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 
  • Call 1800 675 398 (option 8) to register for worker support payments

A brief snapshot of the 65 cases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities:

  • 38 have fully recovered 
  • 27 remain active 
  • 23 are in isolation, not admitted to hospital 
  • Nearly 60 per cent of cases are in people aged 15-44
  • We are seeing spikes in Hume, Yarra and Mitchell 
  • Mob has now been infected in Greater Bendigo and Greater Geelong  

 

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For media inquiries or interview requests please contact Andrew Jefferson on 0428 433 963.

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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.


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