Kirrae Health Service has rejected claims by Framlingham leader Geoff Clark that the community has been put at risk during the coronavirus outbreak due to a lack of preparations.
Kirrae Health Service chairperson Tanya McDonald said she was concerned by comments made at the weekend by Mr Clark stating that the Framlingham Aboriginal community was at the mercy of the coronavirus without leadership of any kind.
"We are indeed a vulnerable community," she said.
"That is why the health service, which is located in the Framlingham Aboriginal community, is in close contact with the Department of Health, NACCHO and VACCHO our state and national health organisations, as well as with Aboriginal Victoria and the administrators of the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust.
"All are here to help us at this time."
Ms McDonald said Kirrae Health Service had been providing health information, activities for those staying at home and daily updates to the community via its Facebook page and/or email.
She said hard copies had also been distributed.
"Last week our Aboriginal health workers and registered nurse visited elders and those with a chronic illness on the settlement o review correct hand washing and hygiene practices and to answer any questions they may have," she said.
"A small hygiene kit was also distributed at this time. All elders aged 65 and above are currently receiving their annual flu vaccination and any needs are being reviewed.
"We are currently still running our onsite GP clinic, however as of this week it has been restricted to settlement residents only in an effort to discourage any unnecessary visitors into the community."
Ms McDonald said medications were still being delivered to the community both at the settlement and in Warrnambool.
"All staff who are able to work from home are doing so," she said.
"Face to face contact has been reduced with increased phone and video messaging contact. Strict hygiene measures are in place at the health service.
The chairperson said that this week the Department of Health also announced that Aboriginal people with respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or fever (not explained by another condition such as cellulitis or UTI) can now be tested for COVID-19.
"Anyone in the Framlingham Aboriginal community needing to self-isolate due to coronavirus will be able to access emergency relief packages as will the wider community and Kirrae will be able to assist our families in navigating these systems," Ms McDonald said.
"Both Kirrae Health Service and the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust are strongly urging community to stay home and avoid unnecessary trips into Warrnambool or beyond except for essentials.
"Likewise, it's important for visitors to avoid coming to the settlement unless absolutely necessary.
"As with everyone across the world, we are asking for good hand washing, maintaining social distance and if anyone in the community has any flu- like symptoms, fever, respiratory illness, shortness of breath, to call us immediately."
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