Graphic: COVID 19: Responding to need
As the Delta strain of COVID-19 continues to create hotspots and outbreaks for states across Australia, the RFDS continues to respond as part of the national health service.
Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the RFDS has conducted 3,113 patient episodes of care for confirmed or high suspected COVID-19 -- transporting people who have confirmed or highly suspect of having COVID-19. Most recent responses have been in Victoria.
Over the same period the RFDS has conducted 191 Respiratory Clinics in remote areas, where we have seen 393 patients.
With funding from the Commonwealth government, and in close coordination with Aboriginal Medical Services, Primary Health Networks, Local Hospital Districts and State governments, the RFDS is running a community-led vaccination program to isolated and remote communities across Australia.
To date 8,192 COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in remote communities across the country.
The RFDS is also assisting state vaccination programs by facilitating the delivery of vaccines or transporting clinical staff from state health teams, such as Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Communities include Tibooburra, Eucla, Rawlinna, Forest Airport, Yowah, Jundah, Birdsville, Eulo, Windorah, Stonehenge, Yaraka, Pentland, Greenvale, Ravenswood, Einasleigh, Mount Surprise, Eromanga, Urandangi, Dajarra, Glendambo, Kingoonya, Commonwealth Hill, Innaminka and Timber Creek.
About 45% of these vaccinations are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Between July and December 2021 there are more than 600 vaccination clinic days scheduled, across 152 different remote communities. We are expecting to vaccinate over 50,000 remote Australians by the end of the year, however aiming for 80,000.
If you have questions about what the Corona Virus COVID-19 is, what the symptoms are, how it spreads, or what local state restrictions mean for you personally, you can learn more at the Department of Health website and Healthdirect Australia website. The Healthdirect Australia Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website also includes COVID-19 information for pregnancy and parenting and their Maternal Child Health Nurses are equipped for COVID-19 questions from anxious parents, via video call or phone 1800 882 436.
If you are unsure on what COVID restrictions are in your state or territory, you can get the latest information using the COVID Restriction Checker to find out what you can or can't do.
The RFDS has factsheets on prevention, symptoms and what to do if you feel you may have COVID-19. These can be downloaded below.
First Nations Peoples
The National Justice Project, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and UTS Jumbunna have worked together to clarify and communicate restrictions relating to COVID-19 activities for First Nations people living in remote communities across the country to ensure that those living in these communities are aware of their rights under the lockdown measures, as they currently stand.
Their fact sheets summarise the various public health directions issued as a result of the pandemic in each State and Territory and address the stricter measures being imposed on Indigenous Australians living in remote communities, including
- Caring for Elders
- Community events including Sorry business and funerals
- Restricted movement in and out of remote communities
- Police enforcement powers and penalties and how best to respond to police requests