COVID-19 Community Update: schools, pandemic modelling, changes to restrictions and testing criteria (9 April)

09 April 2020

This week modelling on scenarios for the COVID-19 pandemic was released, big changes have been made to the school timetable and further tweaks were made to the stage 3 restrictions currently in place.
School is back at the end of the holidays next week, however the Victorian Government has said students who can work and learn from home must do so.
For students who can't learn from home, schools will still be open and running the same courses. For students who can learn from home, all of term two will be delivered remotely.
There have also been some signicant changes for students in Year 12.
The GAT test will be moved from June to October or November, while VCE exams are likely to be held in December. I understand the Victorian Government has not yet confirmed dates for these.
The Regional Education Support Network (RESN) is a free, non-profit, tutoring service for VCE students in rural and regional Victoria which is conducted entirely online.
All rural and regional students can sign up, ask a question regarding VCE subject matter and have it answered within 24 hours. 
There are already more than 70 students from Euroa Secondary College and Seymour College registered and using the service. This help is available to any VCE student across the Euroa electorate.
The Federal Government has released documents which outline scenario modelling undertaken to inform how Australia prepares our health system for COVID-19.
The modelling shows the affect that quarantine, isolation and social distancing has on the infection rate, hospitalisation rate and proportion who can access ICU beds.
The documents are now available for you to read:

This week I launched a ‘neighbourhood assistance card’ to encourage people to look out for older and vulnerable community members.
If you are willing to give someone a helping hand, please fill the card out with your details and drop it in the letterbox of someone who might need help.
It might be as simple as shopping for supplies, posting mail or even offering to phone someone just to check in. A friendly voice on the other end of the phone can make the world of difference to someone who is living alone during these difficult times.
Download and print a copy of the card here.

The Stage 3 restrictions were updated on Tuesday to allow for babysitting and child-minding, both voluntary and paid.
Babysitting and child-minding is allowed in limited circumstances. If a parent needs to leave home for a permitted reason, they may also drop their child at a different home or have a carer visit them.
If a parent is working or studying from home, it is also allowed for them to use a babysitter or child-minder even if they are not leaving their home.
A permitted reason refers to one of the four reasons specified under Stay at Home orders - necessary goods or services, care and compassionate reasons, work and education, exercise, and other limited circumstances
More information can be found here.
The Victorian Chief Health Officer announced this week that people aged over 65, school teachers, childcare workers and firefighters who attend medical emergencies will now be eligible for COVID-19 testing.
People must still show symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose or fever, prior to receiving a test for the virus.
Testing criteria includes those that are:

  • Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases with onset of symptoms within 14 days of last contact;
  • Travelers including cruise ship passengers from overseas with onset of symptoms within 14 days of return;
  • Workers in healthcare, residential care, and disability care settings;
  • People who have worked in public facing roles in the following settings within the last 14 days:
    • Homelessness support;
    • Child protection;
    • The police force;
    • Firefighters who undertake emergency medical response;
    • Childcare and early childhood education;
    • Primary or secondary schools;
  • Any person aged 65 years or older;
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples; 
  • Patients admitted to hospital where no other cause is identified;
  • Any person in other high-risk settings, including: 
    • Aged care, disability and other residential care facilities;
    • Military operational settings;
    • Boarding schools;
    • Correctional facilities;
    • Detention centres;
    • Settings where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, in consultation with the department.

My website now has updated individual and business support factsheets for your information:

It is vital now, more than ever, that we shop locally wherever possible.  Please support small businesses, like our butchers, greengrocers, delis, local coffee shops and restaurants.
Many businesses across our region have adapted to the current climate and have moved online, to take away and deliveries – please support them on this!

Remember small businesses create local jobs, and will be called on to sponsor local sports clubs and community groups, so make an effort to support them in any way you can.
As of this morning, Victoria had 1212 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Twelve people have now died and 736 have recovered.

Please note that the figures on local cases below are current as of 12.03pm on April 8, 2020 when they were last officially updated by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

As we head into the Easter break this weekend, keep in mind that the government has tough restrictions in place which ban camping and caravanning.
Easter will be very different for us all this year. While we can’t gather with family and friends, we can still pick up the phone and keep in touch with loved ones.
I hope you have a safe and happy Easter. Keep washing those hands!

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