A COVID-19 Update from Girl Guides

11 March 2020
Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our members, and as such, with the current Coronavirus emergency continuing to escalate, we feel it is important to provide as much information to you that is relevant in your role as Leaders, Managers, Supporters, Girl Guides, Parents, and community members. 

Cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have now been reported in many countries around the world, now including Australia. We are following closely the NSW, Australian and International Health Advisory Bulletins on the COVID-19 outbreak. Should they advise any additional protective measures applicable to Guiding, we will modify our advice accordingly.

Background: what is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

Health Alerts for Girl Guides and their Communities
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 around the world, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT is taking a number of precautionary actions to mitigate and protect Girl Guides, all members, volunteers, staff, and their communities as much as is practical.

As there is an immediate threat, we are developing information, plans and communications in preparation for a declaration of a pandemic. If such a declaration is made, it is anticipated this will have an impact on volunteers, members, staff and Girl Guiding activities.
Our preparation includes reviewing plans for large events, standard operating procedures, travel and our general business operations.

As this health event continues, we will endeavour to maintain communications and information provision to members, their communities, and staff to maintain safety and confidence.

For more information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Key Considerations
NSW Health advises that if you have been in mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 14 days you are advised to:
  • Stay at home (self-quarantine) for 14 days after return to Australia
  • Avoid public settings – this means you should not attend Guides, work, school, childcare, university, sporting events or go to other public places such as supermarkets, restaurants, shopping centres and you should not use public transport or taxis
  • Seek medical care if you are unwell.

If you have travelled overseas and develop symptoms within 14 days of returning to Australia, see a doctor for urgent assessment. Call the doctor's clinic or hospital before you arrive and advise them of your travel history.

Actions You Can Take
  • Pay attention to hand hygiene. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, and avoid touching your face
  • Practice cough etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or using a tissue. Dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid close contact with others, such as touching, shaking hands, hugging and kissing
  • Regularly wipe down surfaces.
  • Face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public, although anyone who wants to be cautious can of course choose to wear one.
  • If you feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough, sore throat or respiratory illness do not go to Guides, work, school, childcare, university, sporting events or go to other public places such as supermarkets, restaurants, shopping centres, you should not use public transport or taxis, and contact your doctor.

The below hand hygiene how-to’s have been included to show you what the World Health Organization recommends as best practice.

Immediate Considerations for Leaders and Providers of First-Aid
If a Leader or Guide Member identifies a person with suspected Coronavirus, that member must:

 

  • Withdraw from activities immediately and notify the Unit Leader or Leader in Charge
  • Adhere to Guide Lines
  • Call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 and tell them you have a case of suspected COVID 19. Follow their advice
  • Tell your Doctor that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. The doctor may tell you to attend your nearest emergency department, if so call ahead before attending.

For Unit Meetings and Guiding Events
Guide Districts should keep up to date with the latest information and resources via the links in the resource list below. Unit Leaders, District Managers and Leaders in Charge should consider sending a notification out to all members and parents advising them of precautionary measures.

Resources
As the situation in regards of cases of Coronavirus is evolving rapidly please use the available resources to keep informed of the latest updates.
We recommend that Guide Leaders and Parents watch this video produced by ABC’s Behind the News program: https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/coronavirus-questions/12024698?jwsource=fb. It’s useful in the way it answers questions on a child’s level.  
We would like to remind everyone to practice good, regular, safe hand hygiene, to cover coughs, and to stay home if unwell. Stay safe, and please follow Government advice.


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