Testing blitz complete, but health services still needed at public housing

Released on 10th July 2020

The rapid testing blitz undertaken by cohealth and other health organisations at the high rise public housing apartments in Kensington and North Melbourne has been completed.

‘It is phenomenal how quickly our health professionals on the ground were able to test all of the residents in the towers, resulting in the majority of towers and residents being able to move back to Stage 3 restrictions,” said cohealth CEO, Nicole Bartholomeusz.

With the extension of the hard lockdown of public housing in North Melbourne, cohealth will continue to provide health services and other supports to residents, with a mobile health clinic in operation on the ground floor onsite. cohealth will also continue to operate from the Flemington public housing high-rise for the coming days.

“Our GPs, nurses, interpreters and social workers have been on the ground since Sunday, and will remain for as long as the community needs,” said cohealth CEO, Nicole Bartholomeusz.

“Residents are being supported via telehealth and face-to-face appointments in the on-site clinic, as well as home consults for those who are too ill to leave.”

“The extension of the lockdown is difficult news for public housing residents, and our workers are there to support both their physical and mental health,” she said.

“We understand the presence of police can be confronting for some of the residents, and people are telling us that seeing doctors, nurses and social workers on-site is helping to alleviate some of their anxiety,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.

Around one third of the 3,000 public housing residents included in the hard lockdown are existing clients of cohealth, and many have pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 like diabetes, chronic disease and respiratory conditions.

“This is rapidly evolving situation, and we are working with other organisations on-site, including other community health organisations, hospitals and the ambulance service to ensure a full suite of services is available to support residents,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.

“Every worker on the ground is doing an outstanding job under incredibly challenging circumstances, and we commend them.”

— Ends —

More information: Lanie Harris 0418 552 377

More on cohealth:

cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.

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