News

Support for remote communities at high risk of COVID-19


Paul Hayes


24/08/2020 3:51:55 PM

New modelling shows continued efforts are needed to limit the effects of a possible outbreak in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Ken Wyatt
Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said the Government places a high priority on protecting the health of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander people. (Image: AAP)

The fact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians places them at particular risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
 
And while no cases have yet been reported among Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities, new modelling indicates continuing efforts are required to limit the effects of an outbreak.
 
Released on the weekend, the modelling shows that ‘by the time one case of coronavirus is confirmed in a remote community, many more people may have been infected’.
 
‘This means a single confirmed case of COVID-19 should be treated as an outbreak, triggering a rapid response by local, state or territory and national governments,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said. ‘This would include isolation of patients, quarantine of contacts and possible whole of community lockdown.’
 
Minister Hunt said the Federal Government has implemented a number of measures to support remote communities, including: 

  • targeted grants to 56 community organisations covering 121 remote communities to support planning and preparedness activities
  • $52.8 million for early retrieval and evacuation of confirmed or suspect cases by the Royal Flying Doctors Service, mobile respiratory clinics and supplementary health services in remote locations
  • $5.8 million for the Point of Care Testing program, which ensures testing is available within a 2–3-hour drive from any health service
  • $6.9 million to facilitate culturally safe access to COVID-19 testing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector (ACCHS).
‘The Australian Government places a high priority on protecting the health of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander people during the pandemic,’ Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said.
 
‘This includes provision of point-of-care COVID-19 tests, which can provide results within an hour, funding for community preparedness, guidance and public health advice and arrangements for medical evacuations and ongoing care, including deployment of the Royal Flying Doctors Service where needed.’
 
According to the Government, the modelling highlights the need for all people to get tested if they have even mild symptoms, ‘because finding the first case quickly will be key to stopping the spread’.
 
Log in below to join the conversation.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health coronavirus COVID-19



Login to comment