The whole of Australia is at risk right now of catching or transmitting Covid-19. Indigenous communities are at an even higher risk than others, due to remote location, an increased rate of already existing health issues within the communities and limited access to health care.
Up until recently, Indigenous communities were showing some of the lowest numbers of cases in affected communities around Australia, which is a reflection of the levels of care and consideration that were being exercised within them. It’s believed that a large part of the success of initial low number of cases could be attributed to avoiding contact with the Elders of the communities - who are at the highest risk.
A recent increase in cases
Unfortunately, however, this has changed in recent days, with at least 37 cases having been reported so far among Victorian Indigenous communities.
How to help to stop the spread:
- Whenever possible, avoid contact with members of the Indigenous community aged 50 or over, and those of any age with already existing chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart and lung disease)
- keeping your hands clean — wash your hands with soap and water (where possible) for at least 20 seconds. Do this after you cough or sneeze, go to the toilet, and before you make any food
- coughing or sneezing into the inside of your elbow, not your hands
- putting your tissues in the bin after you use them and washing your hands after
- not touching your face
- cleaning surfaces often, such as door handles, kitchen and bathroom bench tops
- not hugging or shaking hands with people
- keeping away from all others (including family) if you are sick with a fever, cough or sore throat or are having trouble breathing — and seeking medical help.
In addition to these measures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Victoria are now being urged to wear a mask in all locations, not just those in the areas where it is required by law.
If you would like to learn more about how to stop the spread, you can find more information and a bunch of other resources to help share information with your community at health.gov.au.