australia

‘It’s so close to home’: Vulnerable people living near SA’s COVID-19 hotspots facing isolation, financial hardship

Cathy-Jo Tame is spending the lockdown with her daughter Meisha and some of the nine-year-old’s disability workers.

“[Meisha] loves life anyway, but sure, boredom is a big thing for all kids of all levels, [and] it’s a bit of a tricky situation because we’re limited to that one room,” said Ms. Tame.

“We have to keep her stimulated all the time or she goes to sleep, and then we run the risk of her whole pattern changing and then she’s up all night.

“I’ve slept for about two hours in the last 24 hours.”

Ms Tame is a Town Councilor for the City of Playford and also runs a home cleaning service in the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide.

With many of South Australia’s current COVID-19 exposure sites to the north and northeast of Adelaide, Ms Tame said several of her clients – especially those with disabilities or a medical condition – were feeling scared.

“[They’re] very anxious because it is so close to home,” she said.

“We’ve had people cancel because they just want to keep their kids safe and protected.”

Ms Tame said while lockdown meant a break from commuting or extra time for housework for some, it dramatically increased loneliness and the potential for medical complications for others.

“The number of supervisors is also limited [in the north] of course, because if they’ve been to hotspots, even fewer people come from the community.”

Financial stress is already on the rise, says Anglicare SA SA

Anglicare SA’s general manager of community services, Nancy Penna, said the current shutdown has put enormous financial pressure on households affected by nearby exposure sites.

“Many people in the north who have jobs often have casual jobs, especially in retail and hospitality,” she said.

“That will really increase everyone’s stress.”

Ms Penna said services had already experienced an increase in demand for financial support since Tuesday evening.

“We’ve definitely seen an absolute spike in requests for help over the phone related to financial guidance,” she said.

“That gives you an indication that in the future, in the future, people are concerned about how they’re going to manage their financial situation.”

She said anyone who needs financial support or immediate practical assistance in obtaining food should contact a charity or non-governmental organization.

NGO, government services helping the vulnerable

Organizations such as Puddle Jumpers have been busy collecting and delivering food – including hot meals – to pick-up locations in Adelaide.

“[Volunteers] will serve you bakery products, food and pantry and fruits and vegetables in your car so you can stay in your car and grab that,” CEO Melanie Tate said in a video on the organization’s social media page.

Puddle Jumpers volunteers
Volunteers at Puddle Jumpers have collected and packed food for those in need.(

Facebook: Puddle Jumpers

)

“Whatever it is, we’ll try to get that out.”

Volunteers have spent the past two days in the north of Adelaide and will also move to the southern suburbs of the city starting tomorrow.

Puddle Jumpers food package
Puddle Jumpers has issued food packages.(

Facebook: Puddle Jumpers

)

Prime Minister Steven Marshall said everyone should “watch out for… those people who are vulnerable in our community”.

“There is good support from the government, and there is good support from NGOs,” said Mr Marshall.

The state government has announced one-time payments of $300 dollars for those forced into isolation.

The payment is intended for those who have had to undergo testing and isolation due to the current COVID-19 cluster, and who do not have access to paid time off or other income support.

Help is also available through the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line, which is available every day between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM by calling 1800 632 753 or via online chat.

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