14th August 2021
The State Government’s response to recent COVID outbreaks at the Flemington high rise has demonstrated the value of a community-lead response that puts health and social support needs first, says community health service cohealth.
cohealth has praised the high-rise community for working together to keep each other safe, and following the latest health advice as further cases were identified.
“The past 12 months have been especially hard for this community. We owe a debt of thanks to every resident at Flemington high-rise for quickly following health advice and looking after each other,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth.
cohealth’s Health Concierges (public housing residents employed to work at their high-rise) and other community engagement workers have been using their networks to communicate accurate health advice in language to the 1,000+ residents across the three towers.
“Taking a community-lead health response to this recent outbreak has made an enormous difference to the wellbeing of the high rise community,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
On learning of COVID-19 cases at Flemington high-rise last week, the Victorian Government immediately engaged cohealth to attend the site and start community engagement, including engaging the residents themselves to be part of the response.
cohealth has been operating a pop-up testing and vaccination site at the towers, a dedicated hotline for residents, displaying translated posters on every floor and working through the weekend handing out masks, doing food drops to quarantined households and coordinating the distribution of health information in language from door-to-door.
“This community response has demonstrated a suite of strategies that work. The community led the response and were supported by doctors, nurses, translators and community workers providing reassurance, food packages and testing and vaccination onsite.”
“We want to share the results of this work so other jurisdictions can understand that police and the defence force should not be central to health and pandemic responsiveness. It is reassuring to see that the lessons we learned last year are being applied so successfully today,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
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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.