The State's quick reaction to the appearance of a COVID-19 cluster may be leaving some older people unprepared for the required two-week lockdown that hasn't been in place since June.
Active COVID-19 cases in SA have risen to 18 as of today. SA Health states the COVID-19 cluster was caused after a worker from an Adelaide medi-hotel tested positive for the coronavirus.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, says income support payments have been made available for South Australians in need.
"We have temporarily put arrangements in place so that our social security safety net is not just for people who have lost their jobs, it is able to provide a cushion for people who have had or fear their hours or income will be reduced,” says Minister Ruston.
Recipients of a range of income support payments, including the Age Pension, will receive the Coronavirus Supplement of $250 until 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021 through to 31 March 2021, people will receive a rate of $150 on top of their base rate.
Additionally, you may receive two Economic Support Payments of $250 in December 2020 and March 2021. To be eligible, you need to be receiving an income support payment or have a concession card.
The State Government has also announced a COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment, a single payment of $300, to support people who have received a health direction from SA Health to self-isolate and have a mandatory COVID-19 test, but do not have paid leave or other income support to assist them.
Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, is encouraging South Australians who need to access income support to call or visit Services Australia online, rather than visit service centres, especially vulnerable people like older Australians.
On Monday, South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, enforced strict restrictions into aged care facilities in South Australia, including:
Staff wearing masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained
Aged care providers needing to have their COVID-19 infection control plan approved by the Department of Health and Wellbeing (SA) relating to all communal areas
Staff cannot work across multiple aged care sites
Only two visitors per resident per day.
Older Australians and other vulnerable people have been advised to self-isolate where possible, unless they need to shop for essentials or go to appointments.
Minister for Aged Care and Seniors Australians, Richard Colbeck, recently announced the investment of $2.5 million into the extension and expansion of the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line, which will assist older people in keeping connected while socially distancing at home.
"Many vulnerable senior Australians may not have easy access to the internet or be able to readily access information about COVID-19," explains Minister Colbeck.
"The support line has proved to be a very beneficial service for senior Australians who continue to face particular risks because of COVID-19, including social isolation and loneliness.
"Being able to pick up the phone and call someone, or receive calls from expert service providers, is proving to be very effective."
For more information around restrictions and advice for people in South Australia, visit the Government of South Australia's COVID-19 website, or to view the health alerts on Adelaide locations, head to the SA Health website.