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COVID-19 Lower Hume weekly update 

Welcome to the third edition of the Lower Hume PCP weekly COVID-19 update. We hope this weekly newsletter assists in collating useful COVID-19 resources and local information across Mitchell & Murrindindi Shires.

You may notice we have changed the order of information in this version which is hoped to start with information most useful for the general community before entering into more sector relevant resources. 

We would love to hear any feedback or share resources that you think would be useful for other people working in health and community services across Lower Hume. You can provide feedback and/or unsubscribe from these updates through the email link at the bottom of the page. 

Keep well,
The Lower Hume PCP team

Service updates 

Inspired Carers Services information, support and education during COVID-19
During this time of social distancing Inspired Carers have changed the way they support parents/carers who care for a child with additional care needs. They have services regarding information, education, individual support and peer support.  
For more information please contact the Murrindindi SPSP Coordinator Liz on or 0497 483 319. 


COVIDSafe app tracking the virus to help slow the spread
The new COVIDSafe app, launched this week and aims to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by finding and containing outbreaks quickly.
COVIDSafe app recognises other devices with the COVIDSafe app via bluetooth. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code. The COVIDSafe app does not collect your personal location. Users are then notified if they have had more than 15 minutes of close contact with another user who tests positive for COVID-19. This allows for quicker identification and notification of suspected virus contact. 
Click here to learn more and to download the app.

100,000 COVID-19 tests to be undertaken within coming weeks 
Last week the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews stated, that up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for coronavirus over the next two weeks to better understand how the virus is spreading and to inform the potential easing of restrictions. Testing remains available across Mitchell & Murrindindi through local hospitals.

Victoria Together Launched
To help keep Victorians connected and creators creating, the Victorian Government has launched Victoria Together, a new online portal showcasing live music and comedy, animals at the Melbourne Zoo and virtual tours of exhibitions and galleries, including Bendigo Art Gallery. It also includes exercise and wellbeing resources.

Murray PHN COVID-19 snapshot
Murray PHN have developed a one-page snapshot showing local confirmed COVID-19 cases compared with Victorian state, National and international figures. The snapshot, which also includes details of local COVID-19 assessment and respiratory clinics, will be updated weekly and posted on their main COVID-19 webpage. 

Mental Health 

Mental health services here to help and working together
The Goulburn Mental Health Steering Committee have developed a flyer to encourage people to seek support for their mental health through local support services.
All mental health services are still available throughout physical distancing restrictions either through telehealth or with physical distancing measures in place, including General Practices which are often the first step to accessing mental health services. 

Children’s mental health during COVID-19 
In this episode you will learn: 

  • Why talking to children about the coronavirus pandemic is important (03:49) 
  • What support babies and toddlers are needing (10:16) 
  • What to consider in terms of the way parents’ mental health may be impacting on the wellbeing of their children (18:08) 
  • What to consider in maintaining routines under isolation (22:00) 
  • How news and media might be impacting children (23:14) 
We need to flatten the ‘other’ coronavirus curve, our looming mental health crisis 
The battle against the mental health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is just beginning. Governments and researchers are mapping how best to prevent the predicted rise in mental health issues we face in coming months and beyond. 
This involves not only preventing a wave of mental disorders from starting, but also preventing increased difficulties in people already living with poor mental health. 
Similar to public health measures in place to flatten the curve to enable health services to care for people with COVID-19, measures to increase the capacity of the mental health system must be matched with efforts to prevent mental health conditions. 

Here’s what we need to do to flatten the ‘other’ curve of mental health problems, to minimise distress and make sure our health system can cope

Living Trans During C19 
A free online forum Wednesday 6 May 4.30-6pm for trans and gender diverse people and our allies to learn more about staying safe, well and connected as a trans person in a global pandemic. Please do share widely. 
 Delivered by ACON in partnership with our friends at the National LGBTI Health Alliance. 
Hear from a diverse range of NSW speakers, ask lots of questions and interact with the audience. 

Family Violence / Gender Equity 

Northern Community Legal Centre’s factsheet on Family Violence and COVID-19 
This factsheet contains important information about staying safe and how to apply for an intervention order, and obtain legal assistance, as courts and services implement social distancing measures.

Together For Respect At Home 
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents new, unprecedented concerns and challenges for our community, with specialist family violence services already seeing an increase of family violence incidents and referrals as a result of COVID-19. 
In response to this complex issue, members from the Together for Equality and Respect (TFER) Partnership in the East have developed this social marketing campaign aimed at promoting safe, healthy, connected and respectful relationship at home. This campaign takes a collaborative and evidence-based approach to prevent violence against women during the pandemic through promoting respectful relationships and positive mental health and wellbeing strategies. 

Resources for young people experiencing family or domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdown 
We are concerned about the growing reports of a spike in family and domestic violence due to isolation and lockdown measures. 
In response, we have developed a dedicated resource focused on addressing family violence and domestic violence, and the potential increased impact that COVID-19 related family violence may have on young people. It also includes a step-by-step guide on what to do if you are in an unsafe situation.

COVIDSafe app and Family Violence 
This week the Australian government released it's much anticipated and debated COVID-19 Bluetooth-based contact tracing app COVIDSafe. The purpose of the app is to help keep the virus under control and monitor it through our community. While the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians to download the app, for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence there are other important considerations. 
As WESNET have pointed out – survivors who have abusers who have sophisticated technical abilities may wish to consider their own personal circumstances before downloading the COVIDSafe App. 
If this is your situation and you need to keep who you meet with private and your abuser has physical access to your phone or you suspect the abuser has already put some kind of surveillance app (spyware or stalkerware) on your smartphone it may not be safe for you to download the COVIDSafe App. WESNET emphasise that the abuser would need physical access to an unlocked phone in advance or to already have installed spyware on it. At the time of writing, they would also require a medium-to-high level of technical skill to be able to interpret the data stored locally on the user’s phone by the COVIDSafe App. 

How to communicate with a triple zero operator if you are unable to speak 
You can still receive emergency help if it is not safe to speak, or you cannot speak. 
When a 000 caller doesn’t respond to the operator's question 'Emergency. Police? Fire? Ambulance?' the call is transferred to an interactive voice response (IVR). The IVR asks you to press '55' if you require emergency help. If you don’t press '55' after being asked three times, your call will be disconnected. 
If you press '55' you will be connected to the police. If you are still unable to speak, the police will attempt to call you back and might also send a patrol car to your address. 
Police will use the address for the service (which would usually be either your home or billing address). This means it is important to make sure that your telco has the most up-to-date address details for your phone services. 

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities

Flu vaccination for all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people 
Taungurung Land & Waters Council in partnership with First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing is holding a flu vaccination clinic in their car park (please remain in your car) for all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. 
When: Thursday 7 May, 2020 
Where: 37 High Street, Broadford 
Time: 11am – 1:00pm
*Registration of your attendance is essential, please email the name and date of birth for all people who will be attending to have their vaccination – remember the vaccinations are taking place in the car park and that you’re to remain in your car. 

For more information please click here. 

Reflections on culturally competent practice with Nellie Anderson  
In this episode you will learn: 

  • What’s most important when meeting with a family from a different cultural background for the first time (01:17) 
  • The value of respecting local knowledge in culturally competent practice (10:57) 
  • How to approach practice when you know little about the family’s culture (18:19) 
  • What’s important in engaging children from different cultural backgrounds (24:26) 
Coronavirus Aboriginal Community Stakeholder Pack
The Joint COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce (the Taskforce) has been established by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) to support a comprehensive, coordinated and culturally safe response to COVID-19 impacts on Aboriginal Victorians.
The Taskforce have developed a stakeholder pack with a range of resources including social media tiles that are able to be uploaded and shared (you can download and share these from the link in the attached document). The messaging focuses on the risk of coronavirus and slowing the spread of coronavirus. 

Managing money
Consumer Action Koori Help have developed a number of resources to support people to manage their money and understand consumer protections. For further support people can call the Free Legal Advice line on 1800 574 457. These resources include: 

Healthy Eating & Physical Activity

Healthy Eating Advisory Service promoting healthy eating during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Healthy Eating Advisory Service is still available via online and telephone capacity, to continue to help services work on providing healthy foods and drinks to their staff, students, visitors and other people in their organisation. They are currently adding webpages to their COVID-19 information hub which will contain specific and relevant advice for each of the settings they support.
The early childhood services tab is now available online.  

Achievement Program’s new ‘how to’ guides for workplace wellbeing
The Achievement Program have developed a set of free ‘how to’ guides to assist employers to promote health and wellbeing during COVID-19.  
They include key messages for employee newsletters, email updates and intranet posts. Each guide is specific to an important health area including physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, smoking cessation and more. 
To view these ‘how to guides’ please click here.

Healthy at Home  
The Sandro Demaio Foundation have just launched the Healthy at Home online platform resource which is full of recipes, activities and ideas to keep children aged 2-12 engaged, inspired and connected during COVID-19.  
It covers content across the following four areas: food, health and wellness, sustainability and community. It also has various special guest contirbutors and collaborators including Stephanie Alexander and her Kitchen Garden Program.  
This platform will be updated weekly with new recipes, activities and mental health resources.

Five budget-friendly meals to get you through COVID-19 
Have a look at these 5 meal ideas, for under $3 per serve to help inspire you to keep your body nourished and energised during these uncertain times


  • Aboriginal children and the effects of intergenerational trauma 
    Registrations are now open for the next webinar in our Infant and Child Mental Health Professional Development webinar series with the Mental Health Professionals' Network (MHPN). The webinar will feature an interdisciplinary panel discussion of a case study. Facilitated by Ms. Dana Shen, Aboriginal Cultural Consultant, the panel includes Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, Professor Catherine Chamberlain and Dr. Caroline Atkinson. 
    Monday 4 May, 7:15pm-8:30pm AEST - Register
  • Expert Insights: Understanding youth wellbeing during COVID-19 
    This webinar will focus on understanding and supporting young people throughout this period and some practical ways to support and maintain the wellbeing of young people and parents. 
    Wednesday 6 May, 4:30pm-5:30pm - Register
  • Organisational resilience and technology: Beyond COVID-19 presented by Monash Tech Talks 
    In our special Monash Tech Talks webinar ‘Organisational resilience and technology: Beyond COVID-19’, you’ll hear from business leaders and IT experts on: 
    - how businesses are responding to COVID-19, with best practice examples 
    - the role of technology in stimulating the economy 
    - why organisational resilience not only depends on what technology is developed – but also how 
    - the different ways businesses can better position themselves for the future.
    Wednesday 6 May, 12:30pm-1:30pm -  Register .  
  • JobKeeper Webinars for Not For Profits
    With recent changes to JobKeeper affecting NFPs and charities, the national COSS Network is partnering with Professor David Gilchrist (University of Western Australia) for two focused webinars on the applicability and accounting. 
    Each one hour webinar will cover the key elements and considerations for applying for the JobKeeper payments for NFPs and charities. These free webinars will be held on: 
    Monday 4 May, 1:00pm - Register 
    Thursday 7 May, 11:30am - Register 
  • Collaboration for impact 
    Collaboration for Impact is beginning a series of reflections and conversations about adaptation in these times and what it means for all changemakers working in place, at scale and those taking up and enabling leadership. 
    Thursday 7 May, 12:30pm-1:30pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) -  Register 
  • The Consumer Health Forum COVID-19 Telehealth in Primary Care webinar 
    CHF are hosting a webinar about telehealth during COVID-19.  
    Hear from experts on the various forms of telehealth currently in operation, how the recent changes to the MBS will affect consumers, as well as support measures, such as prescribing for telehealth and home medicine delivery. 

    Friday 8 May, 12:00pm-1:00pm AEST -  Register .  
  • Child Safety during COVID-19 with ChildWise
    How do you embed the values and principles of child safety while working remotely? Join us at this special webinar with ChildWise and YACVic's Participation and Development Co-ordinator to have your questions answered. 
    Friday 12 May, 12:00pm-1:00pm, online via Zoom - Register . 

    You can also watch our previous events which were on the important topics of COVID-19 and Young People's Rights at Work, and How to Access Income Support Payments on YouTube. 
  • Tips and strategies in using technology for mental health consultations
    Join this webinar to better understand the opportunities, challenges and risks in conducting mental health consultations by telephone and/or videoconferencing, and to learn practical strategies for improving outcomes for both practitioner and client - including establishing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship with clients via this technology. 
    Monday 18 May, 7:15 pm-8:30 pm (AEST), Online - join via your computer, tablet or phone for Free - Register . 

  • Settling the Mind: Mental Health and Coronavirus Webinar Series 
    To share these insights and resources, the Black Dog Institute have launched a new Settling the Mind webinar series. These webinars will highlight resources and support for you whether you need information as a worker, health professional, school or community member. 
  • COVID-19 infection control training  
    This 30 minute training session is for care workers across all health care settings. The training module covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19. Users must register, but registration is open to anyone. Training is provided by trusted COVID-19 training partner, Aspen Medical.  
    For more information and to register click here.



Primary Care Connect’s Vulnerable Person Register 
Primary Care Connect have launched a Vulnerable Person Register, where staff can make a phone call check in to clients and community members. To ensure that no one is left out they have amended their flyer that was sent out to GP's and organisations to include that general community members can now make a referral for a person or themselves who they consider vulnerable during this time of isolation. 
Where there is a concern raised during a phone call, the referring person will be contacted/notified. Please note that this is not an emergency service in any way. If there is an emergency, please contact 000. 

Outer East PCP tips and ideas
Outer East PCP have developed a suite of COVID-19 tips and ideas sheets regarding the following topics:  

COVID-19 Support for Individuals and households  
The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through COVID-19. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation.  
Click here to find out more information about eligibility for different payments to support individuals and households including;  

  • JobKeeper payment for households  
  • Income support for individuals  
  • Payments to support households  
  • Temporary early release of superannuation  
  • Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates  
  • Reducing social security deeming rates 

COVID-19  Support for Businesses 
The Australian Government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. This assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses.  
Click here to find more information about eligibility for different payments to support businesses including;  

  • JobKeeper payment 
  • Cash flow support for small and medium businesses  
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses  
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off  
  • Backing business investment  
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees  
  • Not-for-profit organisations  
  • Support for sole traders 

The Victorian Business Support Fund.  
This is for small businesses that employ staff and are subject to closure or are highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government  due to COVID-19. This includes the following businesses sectors:  

  • Accommodation and Food Services (e.g. cafes, restaurants, caterers, hotels, motels)  
  • Arts and Entertainment (e.g. cinemas, performing arts venues, creative spaces, performers, museums)  
  • Health and Beauty Services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty therapists)  
  • Sport and recreation (e.g. gyms, swimming pools, indoor climbing, play centres)  
  • Tourism (e.g. tourist transport, tour operators, tour arrangement)  
  • Retail, other than supermarket, groceries, liquor and pharmacy businesses 
  • Other Services (e.g. real estate agents)  

Funding of $10,000 per business is available and will be allocated through a grant process. For more information click here. Closing date: 1 June 2020.  

Girl Guides Victoria Programs go Virtual for Free! 
Now any girl who wants to can be part of Girl Guides Victoria with zero fees for 12 months. Tell your friends! Tune into Girl Guides TV and join our virtual ‘Guiding in Your Pocket’ Hub for a weekly dose of inspiration in Arts, Life Skills, Outdoors, Service and STEM. Stay engaged and connected with girls all over Victoria with Virtual Unit Meetings, activities and fun resources! Join Today .

An Age-Friendly Approach to Disaster Recovery 
This report proposes practical, community-level actions that can be incorporated into recovery plans and actions that have the potential to mitigate the negative individual health and wellbeing impacts wrought by disasters and thereby expediting the recovery process.

Chronic disease, health equity and COVID-19 
One in two Australians has a chronic disease or condition such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease or cancer. Chronic disease is driven – and made worse – by social and economic inequities; disadvantaged communities and groups experience higher rates of chronic disease and poorer health outcomes. Emerging evidence from the US, UK and China indicates that populations with a higher prevalence of chronic disease and associated risk factors such as tobacco smoking and obesity are also more likely to experience severe outcomes and death due to COVID-19. It suggests that chronic disease prevention and addressing health inequities must be a critical component in the post-pandemic response

COVID-19 innovation challenge 
While the rapid adoption of digital health services has presented some challenges, it also creates opportunity.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is asking innovators across Australia to come forward with scalable tools that will help to improve our digital health system beyond COVID-19.
ADHA are looking for digital health solutions that will enable delivery of care in new ways, improve health outcomes, strengthen responses to health emergencies and accelerate digital health. Funding grants of up to $50,000 are available.
Click here for more information, to apply or attend a webinar briefing.

Health & community sector news / resources  

Understanding current demands and challenges on the Emergency Relief Sector as a result of COVID-19
COVID-19 is having far reaching impacts in Victoria and a broad range of agencies and organisations are responding to those who are most in need. You are invited to participate in a survey that seeks to understand the current demands and challenges on the Emergency Relief Sector as a result of COVID-19, with a focus on food supply and demand. 
The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and is open until Monday 11 May 2020. We ask that you please complete the survey from the local perspective. All answers you provide will be kept in the strictest confidentiality. 
Click here to complete the survey. 

Electronic prescribing to improve safety during COVID-19 
The Australian Government’s National Health Plan for COVID-19, has fast-tracked electronic prescriptions so patients can receive healthcare services while maintaining physical distancing and isolation where required. This will also support telehealth services. Once in place, prescribers can generate an electronic prescription that patients can then share with a pharmacy via a unique QR barcode ‘token’ sent via an app, SMS or email. Necessary upgrades to both pharmacy and prescriber software are underway and electronic prescriptions are expected to be progressively available from the end of May. There are also interim process in place until this occcurs. Fact Sheets for interim arrangements for supply of medicines are available on the NPS medicinewise website and Department of Health and Human Services website

Murray PHN HealthPathways for COVID-19 
New COVID-19 related referral pathways have been created by Murray PHN’s team of clinical advisors, who are updating pathways regularly as things change. You need to be registered and logged in to view the pathways. 
Click here to register for free access.

Slides from COVID-19 Community Services Digital Forum 
Argiri Alisandratos Deputy Secretary Children, Families, Communities & Disability Division outlined DHHS plans and funding packages in response to COVID-19 – outlined in slides .

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