Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice

While COTA Tasmania is doing its best to provide up-to-date, accurate information, it is essential that you check an official source before taking any action. These include

You will find the following news and information on this page. Click the link to go straight to the section you want to:

Important Information

Tasmanian Government advice

Getting and Giving Support

28 May news

27 May news

26 May news

25 May news

20 May news

12 May news

8 May news

6 May news

5 May news

29 April news

27 April news

22 April news

16 April news

8 April news

7 April news

6 April news

1 April news

31 March news

30 March news

29 March news

26 March news

24 March news

23 March news

22 March news

20 March news

19 March news

Elder Abuse information

Jobseeker payments

Additional data allowance

 

Important Information

COTA Tasmania is taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic very seriously and encourages everyone to follow advice from Government and other reputable sources.

If you source details from unofficial sources, please be wary of misinformation.

  • Stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
  • The Department of Health Tasmania Facebook page has regular updates.
  • Call the National COVID Older Persons Information Line for personal support, questions and up-to-date information about COVID-19: 1800 171 866
  • The World Health Organization has more general information about COVID-19 here.
  • Information about restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities is available here and here.

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Tasmanian Government advice

The Tasmanian Government is providing regular and updated advice about COVID-19 as changes happen. You can find their Fact Sheets here.

For the latest information about Government announcements and restrictions, visit the Tasmanian Government Coronavirus website here.

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Getting and Giving Support

Tasmanian Lifeline: 1800 98 44 34

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

Suicide Call Back Service1300 659 467

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Relationships Australia Tasmania: 1300 364 277

Elder Abuse Helpline: 1300 353 374

Advocacy Tasmania (understanding your rights): 1800 005 131

COVID-19 Community Activities and Support

Fact Sheets

Responding to uncertainty and monitoring your responses to COVID-19.

Supporting others and starting the conversation

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28 May – Port Arthur Historic Site and Female Factory to Reopen on 3 July

Unless Public Health advice dictates otherwise, the Port Arthur and Cascades Female Factory Historic Sites will be open daily from 10am to 4pm from 3 July, with the Coal Mines Historic Site set to re-open from Monday, 15 June.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

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28 May – Mobile Testing Clinics Continue

The next round of rural mobile testing clinics will be at:

  • Rosebery 29-30 May
  • Dunalley 30-31 May
  • Triabunna 30-31 May
  • Deloraine 30-31 May
  • Queenstown 31 May-1 June

Bookings are strongly encouraged for these clinics. Any Tasmanian with cold or flu-like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or fever should contact their GP or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. However, community members who simply arrive on the day will not be turned away.

Next week’s drive-up clinics at Prospect Vale and Sorell will be located at the Prospect Laboratory Government Offices and the Sorell Market area in front of the Council Chambers. These clinics will run from Tuesday to Thursday in line with this week’s clinics at Glenorchy and Mowbray.

More information is available here.

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27 May – Rent Relief Fund Update

Residential tenants eligible for rent relief under the Government’s Rent Relief Fund who are unable to gain agreement from their landlord should contact the Office of the Residential Tenancy Commissioner. The Commissioner will work with both parties to help them reach agreement. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached with the landlord, there is flexibility to make the payment directly to the tenant.

The rent relief payment is a one-off payment usually made directly to a landlord after they have entered into an approved temporary rent reduction arrangement with a tenant who is in rental stress and is experiencing COVID-19 related hardship.

Landlords are strongly encouraged to negotiate in good faith regarding rental reductions for those tenants seeking assistance through the Rent Relief Fund.

Fact sheets about the Rent Relief Fund are available for tenants and landlords.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

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27 May – Advice for Men’s Sheds Opening Their Doors

The Tasmanian Government advises men’s sheds to consult the Roadmap to Recovery if they are opening their doors during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Under current Public Health advice, vulnerable people such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions, people aged 70 years and older, people with compromised immune systems, and people with disability are still encouraged to stay home and protect their health.

Men’s Sheds that are reopening in this first stage of recovery need to ensure they have their Worksafe COVID-Safety plans in place to keep everyone safe which includes abiding by the social distancing rules, staying home if you’re unwell and practicing good hygiene at all times.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

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27 May – Support Services for Tasmanians Who May Be Drinking or Smoking More Due to COVID-19

Tasmanians may be feeling particularly anxious or vulnerable, drinking or smoking more, as a result of COVID-19.

Anyone who needs help can call support services any time:

  • National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline 1800 250 015
  • Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 811 994
  • Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
  • A Tasmania Lifeline 1800 98 44 34

You can also access the Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Services on 1300 139 641.

A full list of alcohol and other drugs services across Tasmania is available from the Primary Health Tasmania Health Directory Tasmanian Health Directory – Primary Health Tasmania and from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania website ATDC – Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania

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26 May – Cashless Bus Fares and Fare Amnesty Extended

The Tasmanian Government has extended cashless buses and the bus fare amnesty for general access services until Sunday 5 July 2020.

The extension will provide extra time for passengers to access a smartcard and non-cash credit top up arrangements (where available), or other options for cashless payment.

Passengers who still do not have a smartcard should apply for one from their bus operator where available during the fare amnesty.

Find our more here.

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25 May – Aged Care Facility Visits Changes

From Monday 25 May, restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities will change.

Residents at aged care facilities can now have one visit a day from up to two visitors, for no longer than two hours. Visitors must have had an up-to-date influenza vaccination to visit an aged care facility.

Visits should continue to be either in the resident’s room, outdoors or a designated area in the facility – they should not be in common areas.

Find out more here.

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25 May – More Testing Locations and Information for COVID-19

Additional mobile testing sites are now available across Tasmania. Some sites offer drive-up testing and do not require bookings. If bookings are requires, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Find out where the latest testing sites are here.

You should be tested for COVID-19 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore/itchy throat
  • Shortness of breath

Call triple zero (000) if you have an medical emergency, are very unwell, or have difficulty breathing.

Testing is also being done for the following people:

  • Hospital patients being discharged to residential aged care facilities (mandatory)
  • Healthcare workers displaying symptoms (mandatory)
  • Healthcare workers without symptoms or household members of health workers with symptoms (voluntary but encouraged)
  • Close contacts of confirmed cases (voluntary but encouraged)
  • Non-essential travellers during day 10-12 of quarantine period (voluntary but encouraged)
  • People living in current low test rate metropolitan suburbs

Find out more about testing and what’s involved here.

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25 May – COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework

As part of the Tasmanian Government’s ‘Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania’ plan, all workplaces are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with minimum COVID-19 safety standards. These Standards will be introduced by 15 June 2020.

The Minimum Standards and Safety Plan templates are available now. A workplace toolbox and helpful resources include:

  • A checklist to keep workers safe
  • Safe Workplaces Guidelines
  • Safety Plan templates for small and medium-sized businesses
  • COVID Ready stickers and posters
  • A fact sheet about COVID-19 Safety Plans

Click here for more information or contact WorkSafe Tasmania or the Business Tasmania Hotline on 1800 440 026.

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25 May – COVID-19 Resources for Community Groups

The Australian Government has a range of resources for community groups to help people affected by COVID-19. A COVID-19 eKit includes fact sheets to help direct people to appropriate services in your community. Fact sheets are available in a range of languages, by audio, and video.

Click here for more information.

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20 May – Lifting of COVID-19 Restrictions

Tasmania has moved to Stage 1 in the lifting of restrictions. Changes to restrictions include:

  • Gatherings increase to 10 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • Up to 5 people can visit a household at any one time, in addition to residents of the household.
  • Outdoor park exercise equipment, skate parks, and playgrounds are open for up to 10 people at a time.
  • Groups of up to 10 people can gather in large parks for recreational activities.
  • Sporting and exercise groups can meet outside with up to 10 people.
  • Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania can complete their 14 days quarantine at their home.

People must continue to practice physical distancing (keeping 1.5m from each other) and practice good hygeine.

More information is available here.

You can find the full timeline of easing restrictions here and a graphic of this timeline below.

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20 May – COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund

Rental tenants who are experiencing extreme financial hardship can apply for up to $2,000 or four weeks rent to support them during COVID-19. This includes renters who:

  • Are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, and
  • Have less than $5000 in savings.

The Fund will also be made available to migrants and temporary visa holders subject to them meeting all other eligibility criteria.

This support is in addition to a Government halt on rental evictions, restrictions on inspections to support social distancing and a ban on rental increases during the emergency period.

Payments will be made to landlords of eligible tenants and it will be a requirement they pass on this level of assistance to their tenant via rent reductions.

For more information, click here.

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12 May – Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes

The ‘Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19’ has been released by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations. The Code includes the rights and responsibilities of aged care providers, residents and visitors. It explains that aged care homes should allow residents to meet their visitors in way sthat minimises the risk of COVID-19’s introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.

More information about the Code is here and you can access the full Code document here.

Visits to aged care homes are to be negotiated with residents, their visitors and aged care staff. Resident’s wishes and preferences will be at the centre of decision making regarding who visits them and how. Some options for visits that reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection include

  • Using technology (video calling)
  • Window visits
  • Meeting in courtyards or balconies

Some of these types of visits may not be appropriate for all residents, and aged care staff will explore other options in these cases.

The Code includes information about making complaints if you feel that an aged care provider is not meeting their responsibilities.

Visitors need to

  • Be healthy and well. People who are unwell or have cold or flu-like symptoms are not allowed to visit in case they passing on an infection.
  • Have evidence of an up-to-date flu vaccination.
  • Follow visitor requirements including practising good hand hygiene, being temperature checked on arrival, wearing personal protective equipment if required, maintaining social distancing requirements, and remaining in the visiting area during the visit.

Some circumstances allow longer and in-room visits, including

  • Visiting residents who are dying. The number of visitors, length, frequency and nature of visits should reflect what is needed for the person to die with dignity, comfort and support.
  • Residents who have a clearly established and regular pattern of involvement from visitors contributing to their care and support, such as visitors who assist the resident with their meals or behavioural support for someone living with dementia.
  • Visits from family, families of choice and friends who travel extensive distances to visit the resident, with prior agreement from the aged care home.

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8 May – Tasmanian Government Announces Roadmap to Recovery

The Tasmanian Government has announced a three-stage Roadmap to Recovery as it slowly relaxes restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The changes will be gradual, with careful monitoring of each stage to ensure safeguards are working in reducing the risk of outbreaks and enabling health authorities to respond if needed.

The following changes will be introduced on 11 May, before the three-stage Roadmap begins:

  • Funerals – increase from 10 to 20 attendees.
  • Aged care visits – one visit per week and no more than two visitors, managed by the facility.
  • National parks and reserves – open to residents for exercise within 30km of their home.
  • TasTAFE campuses and training facilities open for invited small groups of students only attending practical learning and assessment sessions.

Stage One will start on 18 May, with gatherings increased to 10 people in specified instances.

Vulnerable people, such as those aged over 70, are still encouraged to stay home to protect their health.

Stage Two will start on 15 June and Stage Three on 13 July.

The timing of all stages will be subject to Public Health advice.

For full details of what each stage covers, visit the Tasmanian Government’s Roadmap to Recovery webpage here.

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6 May – Advocacy Tasmania – Is Your Voice Being Heard?

Advocacy Tasmania is available to support people to have their say and work out ways to fix problems or concerns during COVID-19. No issue is too big or small for Advocacy Tasmania to work on and they can help on all the things they usually do as well as COVID 19 issues. Independent advocates will give you information, options and support for any issues you are experiencing.

If something is worrying you or just doesn’t feel right, you would like something to change, or you would just like some information, then contact Advocacy Tasmania on 1800 005 131, email contact@yoursaytas.org, text 0457 806 963, or visit the website https://advocacytasmania.org.au/.

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5 May – 1800 98 44 34 – A Tasmanian Lifeline

Lifeline Tasmania has set up a new service for Tasmanians experiencing psychological distress during COVID-19 – call 1800 98 44 34. Available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Being in psychological distress means that a person feels unhappy, anxious, worried, angry, sad, scared, or grief-stricken. It is not a mental illness but a normal human response to a situation that is frightening, confusing or upsetting, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tasmanians who may not need a Lifeline service in normal times will find themselves experiencing psychological distress during COVID-19 and are strongly encouraged to find support and assistance through the Tasmanian Lifeline, which offers three types of support:

  • Call in: Tasmanians receive psychosocial support from a trained support workers to discuss concerns and be redirected where appropriate to a referral service.
  • Call out: Contact socially isolated older Tasmanians identified through existing services, family and friends who are concerned, or by other health professionals.
  • Reach out: Identify at-risk members of industries significantly impacted by COVID-19 and reach out for psychosocial support, counselling or employee assistance programs.

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5 May – Respiratory Clinic Now Open in St Helens

Ochre Health, in partnership with the Health Department, has opened a GP-led Respiratory Clinic at the old St Helens District Hospital, 8 Bowen Street. Appointments can be booked by calling 6351 0007 or online at ochrehealth.com.au/sthelens and select “Respiratory Clinic appointments”.

It is recommended that people aged over 70 years consult via phone or video with their regular GP before booking to make sure an in-person assessment is needed.

The clinic will treat and test people suffering from any mild to moderate respiratory symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat, and/or
  • Tiredness.

The clinic allows people to receive care separately from others’ at GP practices and health facilities, keeping everybody safer. It also means greater numbers of people can be tested for COVID-19 and positive cases can be identified and isolated quickly to minimise the spread of the virus in our community.

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5 May – Hospital and Aged Care Visitor Restrictions Extended

Restrictions on visitors to hospitals and residential aged care facilities have been extended to ensure the safety of patients and residents.

Hospital visitor restrictions will be in place until midnight 18 May 2020.

Aged care visitor restrictions will be in place until midnight 11 May 2020.

No patient visits will be permitted to hospitals except for:

  • a parent or legal guardian visiting a child who is a patient at the hospital
  • a support person to attend the birth of a child
  • to provide end-of-life support to a patient
  • to provide a patient with physical assistance, communication or comprehension assistance, or assistance with legal or administrative requirements.

Visitors are not permitted to residential aged care facilities, except:

  • to provide end-of-life support to a resident
  • if the person is a key support person for a resident, and the aged care facility requests that person provide support to reduce distress or confusion as a result of a resident’s medical condition.

Visitors to hospitals and aged care facilities must not be unwell and must comply with screening requirements.

Click here for more details from the Tasmanian Government.

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29 April – Grants for Be Connected Network Partners

The Australian Government has funded Be Connected to support Network Partners with up to $5,000 to purchase loan digital devices and sim cards to Australians aged over 50 years. More information about the grants is here and to find out more about Be Connected Network Partners, click here.

The Be Connected has a range of resources to support older Australians to improve their digital skills or learn new ones. These resources are also handy if you want to help someone else get online. Find out more here.

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29 April – It’s OK to Have Home Care

The Australian Government has an information sheet for older people who may have an aged care worker visiting them at home. Visit the website here or download the information sheet directly here: It’s OK to Have Home Care.

Aged care workers visiting people at home have been told by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer to take necessary measures to make sure you stay safe. This may include the use of personal protective equipment if you have, are suspected of having, or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

For further advice, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

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27 April – Keep Your Health On Track

Have you been putting off a regular medical appointment? What about a prescription, or session with a psychologist?

While it may seem that illnesses other than COVID-19 may not be as important to get on top of at the moment – they still are! Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your health and wellbeing on track, whether you have COVID-19 or not. Primary Health Tasmania has some tips about how to do that during current restrictions including information on:

  • Appointments
  • Telehealth
  • Prescriptions
  • After-hours care
  • Health emergencies – always call 000 (triple zero) if there’s a medical emergency

More information is here.

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27 April – COVID-19 Testing Criteria Expanded

Testing for COVID-19 in Tasmania has expanded to include anyone with any of the following symptoms:

  • a fever
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sore/itchy throat, or
  • shortness of breath.

Call your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if you have any of the above symptoms to be tested. Testing is only available with a referral from a GP or the Public Health Hotline.

Testing clinics do not take walk-ins as you must have a referral to be tested. Clinics are located in:

  • Hobart
  • Launceston
  • Devonport
  • Smithton (mobile clinic)
  • Parkside – Burnie
  • North West Regional Hospital (for NWRH and NWPH staff only) – Burnie

Click here for more information.

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27 April – Updated Aged Care Visitor Restrictions

From Friday 1 May, anyone working in or visiting an aged care facility must have had their flu shot (influenza vaccination). Aged care providers will seek evidence of immunisation from people wanting to visit. This may be:

  • A statement or record from a health practitioner;
  • An immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

As previously reported, visitors are only allowed to Tasmania’s residential aged care:

  • To provide end-of-life support to a resident
  • If you are a key support person for a resident with a diagnosed medical condition and, at the request of the aged care facility, you are requested to provide essential support to a resident to reduce distress or confusion as a result of the medical condition.

You will not be able to visit residential aged care at all if you:

  • Have been interstate or overseas in the past 14 days
  • Are displaying symptoms of respiratory infection or has a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
  • Have had contact within the past 14 days with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19.

Click here for more information.

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22 April – National COVID Older Persons Information Line

National COVID Older Persons Information Line: 1800 171 866

The new National COVID Older Persons Information hotline will help older Australians get the critical information they need to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic. The hotline provides an access one-stop source for:

  • Personal support
  • Questions
  • Up-to-date guidelines

Older people, carers, people living with dementia and their families are encouraged to call the hotline to speak to friendly, specially trained staff from a senior’s advocacy organisation.

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22 April – Supermarket Priority Delivery and Community Boxes

Supermarkets have set up priority online delivery services for customers who have trouble getting out to shop. Boxes with basic essentials are also being put together to help.

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22 April – Important information for people in North West Tasmania

Additional measure have been put in place in Tasmania’s North West to protect the community from COVID-19. This includes:

  • Staying home except for essential reasons
  • Non-essential businesses and services have been restricted to online services only
  • Service Tasmania Centres have been closed until Sunday 26 April. Services can be access at service.tas.gov.au or by calling 1300 13 55 13
  • Essential local government services are continuing but, where possible, will be delivered online or by telephone
  • The North West Regional Hospital (emergency department now open) and North West Private Hospital have been closed for a comprehensive deep clean, and staff required to quarantine for 14 days
  • Hospital services will be provided at alternative hospitals

For more information, visit the Tasmanian Government website here.

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22 April – Stay Healthy, Stay Connected

Stay Healthy, Stay Connected is a Tasmanian Government online initiative that has information about how to stay healthy and connected at home during COVID-19 restrictions. It’s a place for Tasmanians to come together, connect and share, providing information, ideas and tips.

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16 April – Small Grants for Community Video Conferencing

Primary Health Tasmania is offering small grants of up to $230 for community groups to support them to purchase annual video conferencing subscriptions. This could be to
– continue regular activities online
– hold a special online activity, event, performance or guest speaker
– provide training to volunteers or members
– check in with people are isolated.

Click here for more information or to apply.

Applications close on 30 June 2020. To be eligible, groups need to be:
– Tasmanian-based, non-profit community group, club or organisation
– have access to the internet
– have an ABN or be auspiced by an organisation that had an ABN.

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16 April – COVID-19 Information in Different Languages

Health Translations is a Victorian government initiative which provides free, multilingual health and well-being resources. It has health and wellbeing information about COVID-19 including critical fact sheets, videos, and posters currently available in 70 languages. These can be accessed here.

SBS also reports COVID-19 news and information in over 60 languages here.

A range of Fact Sheets translated into multiple languages are available on the Migrant Resources Centre Tasmania website here.

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8 April – Physical Distancing at Supermarkets

Woolworths, Coles and IGA have introduced new physical distancing requirements for shoppers. To reduce contact between shoppers and staff, they have introduced:

  • Limits to the number of people in the store at any time.
  • Enforcing physical distancing between customers and staff (1.5 metres minimum).
  • Signs to direct movement around stores.
  • Packing your own bags at the checkout.
  • Using tap and go/PayWave whenever possible.

Check where you normally get your groceries to see if restrictions apply and if they have allocated times for people who are at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

Only visit the supermarket if you need to. If you are at greater risk of getting COVID-19 or unwell, ask family, friends or neighbours to shop for you. Check with your local shop whether they do online delivery.

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7 April – Restrictions to Aged Care Facility and Hospital Visits

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the North West Regional Hospital, the Tasmanian Government has taken measures to avoid further outbreaks in hospitals and aged care homes.

Hospital visits are now banned except for:

  • Support person at the birth of a child;
  • A parent, carer or guardian for an ill child or dependent person;
  • End of life support for patients.

Aged care home visits are now banned except to for:

  • End of life support;
  • Essential visits by doctors and medical staff.

More information about these bans can be found here.

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7 April – Changes Over Easter

The Tasmanian Government is encouraging people to stay home this Easter to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Tasmanian Government asks you follow these simple rules:

  • Keep Easter local.
  • Keep Easter to one or two.
  • Keep Easter connected.

Remember that you are unable to:

  • Have more than two visitors at your home;
  • Meet more than one person in a public place;
  • Visit shacks (you must stay at your primary residence);
  • Visit National Parks or camp;
  • Launch recreational boats from certain areas.

More information, ideas about activities to do, and services available during Easter are here.

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7 April – Looking after your and others’ mental health during COVID-19

It’s natural to feel anxious, overwhelmed, uncertain, confused or angry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some fact sheets with practical tips about how to look after your mental health, and support others, during COVID-19.

Responding to uncertainty and monitoring your responses to COVID-19.

Tips include:

  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings – recognise triggers and seek support when needed.
  • Keep informed via official sources – not social media – and take a break from this regularly.
  • Focus on things you can control.
  • Stay connected with others via phone, email or video.

Supporting others and starting the conversation

Tips include:

  • Keep connected with others by scheduling phone calls, video calls or messaging.
  • Recognise changes in behaviour in others that may indicate that they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry etc.
  • Help others focus on what they can control.
  • Show support and acknowledge their experience without judgement. Listen, and ask what you can do to help them feel more supported.
  • Know your boundaries and when to seek professional support.
  • Check in with and take care of yourself.

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6 April – Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet

What are essential supplies?

Should I be using public transport?

Can I check on my neighbours?

Should grandparents be looking after grandchildren?

If you’re unsure about what you’re able to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, have a look at the Tasmanian Government’s Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet, with these answers and more.

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1 April – Supporting Vulnerable Tasmanians in our Community

The Tasmanian Government has recently updated information on their website about how they are supporting vulnerable Tasmanians. This page includes information about how to find assistance, and the community, mental health, family violence and child organisations that have been funded to provide additional support during COVID-19. The website is here, and a Fact Sheet is available here.

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31 March – Emergency Support for Vulnerable Tasmanians

This Fact Sheet provides an update on Emergency Support available to Tasmanians as part of initiatives announced in the Tasmanian Support Measures & Stimulus Packages. It includes types of emergency support:

  • Accommodation support for Tasmanians living on low income and or in homelessness who are required to self-isolate.
  • Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants: one-off payments for people on low income required to self-isolate.
  • Emergency Relief.

Find out more here.

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31 March – Financial Assistance Supporting Individuals and Households

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through the Coronavirus. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. Click here for more information and fact sheets. These include:

  • 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

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30 March – Vulnerable people in the workplace

Vulnerable people who are at higher risk of erious illness if they are infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
  • All people aged over 70 years;
  • People aged over 65 with chronic conditions;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50 years with a chronic medical condition;
  • People with compromised immune systems.

These people should stay home wherever possible. Where they undertake essential work, a risk assessment must be undertaken. More information about this is available here.

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30 March – Increase in JobSeeker Payment partner-income threshold

The government has substantially increased the amount an eligible person’s partner can earn before they lose the JobSeeker Payment. For the next six months, an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment and associated Coronavirus Supplement if their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, which is around $79,762 a year. Find more information here.

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29 March – Older Australians support Government’s “strong advice” for vulnerable Australians to remain indoors as far as possible

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia today advised all older Australians to heed government advice, announced by the Prime Minister tonight, to stay home to the maximum extent practicable and to take very careful precautions when outside their home. You can read COTA Australia’s media release here.

The Australian Government has announced that public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people and advised people to check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information. It has also advised everyone to  stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. For more information, visit the Australia.gov.au.

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29 March – Rents

The Australian Government has put evictions on hold for 6 months by the states and territories. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements. More information will be provided this week. For more information, visit Australia.gov.au.

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29 March – Measures to tackle isolation of older people and domestic violence, safeguard mental health and provide Medicare at home.

With restrictions in place on physical visits to aged care facilities, the Australian Government is providing funds to train volunteers to connect with aged care residents online and by phone. The Community Visitors Scheme will receive money to employ staff to train the volunteers, who will also help older Australians to keep in touch with the community and loved ones. Other measures announced on Sunday 29 March target mental health, domestic violence and medical health at home. You can read the Government’s media release here.

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26 March – State Government stimulus

You can find information about new social and economic support measures announced by the Tasmanian Premier on 26 March here and fact sheets about State Government stimulus measures here.

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26 March – Rents

You can find information about changes to residential tenancies here.

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24 March – Aged Care Royal Commission

The deadline for submissions to the Aged Care Royal Commission has been extended to 30 June, due to the effects of the COVID-19 situation. You can find more information about making a submission here.

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23 March – Community noticeboard

The Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS) has developed a COVID-19 Community Services Noticeboard where you can keep up to date with changed service arrangements and closures due to increasing precautions taken in response to COVID-19. You can access the noticeboard here.

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22 March – Australian Government income measures

The Federal Government will drop the deeming rate and provide new payments to people on income support, as well as time limited measures to support self-funded retirees. Read COTA Australia’s media release here.

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20 March – Aged Care Royal Commission

The Aged Care Royal Commission has suspended all hearings and workshops for the time being, subject to ongoing review. The decision was made by Commissioners in response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You can read the Royal Commission’s media release here.

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20 March – Aged care funding

Also on Friday 20 March, COTA Australia welcomed an Australian Government injection of aged care funding in response to challenges COVID-19 poses for aged care providers and unmet needs of older Australians. You can read COTA Australia’s media release here.

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19 March – Coronavirus (COVID-19) fact sheet for older people

COTA Australia and the Australian Government have released a COVID-19 Fact sheet for older Australians providing authoritative advice to promote clarity and avoid confusion for those at risk. View the COTA Australia media release here and download the fact sheet from the Australian Government Department of Health website here.

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Elder abuse

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, some older people will become even more isolated than at other times. Community awareness of elder abuse is always vital but especially when we are experiencing social disruption and financial stress. If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, ring the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 353 374 for free, to talk to someone you can trust. You can find out more about elder abuse here.

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JobSeeker payments

The Australian Government has suspended mutual obligation requirements for JobSeeker Payment until 31 March 2020 and removed the liquid assets waiting period from 25 March 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19). More information for people who need a Services Australia payment because they have been affected by coronavirus is available here.

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Additional data allowance for internet and mobile phone services

A number of internet and mobile phone service providers have announced that they will be providing additional data allowance to their customers, at no extra cost, to help facilitate remote work, study or self-isolation. You may need to activate the offer to receive the additional data from your service provider. For further information, please see the service provider announcements:

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