COVID-19 Update – 28 August 2020

Impacts of new restrictions in greater Brisbane region on client visits

Over the past few months, OPG has conducted client visits in line with Queensland Government COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines issued from Queensland Health. This meant for several months we were unable to conduct face to face visits, but with easing of restrictions in July 2020 were able to start returning to physical attendance at visitable locations and face to face visiting.

However the current COVID 19 outbreak in the greater Brisbane region has led to new restrictions and considerations being introduced, which will impact on some of our client visiting. The tightest restriction have been placed on residential aged care and disability services. As a result delegate guardians are currently unable to visit clients residing in aged care facilities in the specified areas face to face, but will speak to clients using phone or video technologies wherever possible. Additionally, the current lock down of correctional centres in many areas of Queensland means delegate guardians are also unable to visit clients face to face in these facilities.

Community Visitors have been deemed as continuing to deliver essential services, so will continue to physically attend visitable locations that deliver disability accommodation services to perform their essential monitoring and oversight role wherever itis considered safe to do so. Community Visitors will of course follow all safety guidelines and the prescribed protocols during these visits, including wearing single-use surgical face masks while on site.

Brisbane Youth Detention Centre is also impacted by the recent events. This has led to additional restrictions and measures and Community Visitors are not currently permitted to enter this site. This means at the current time all visits will be conducted using alternative technologies where they are able to be arranged, to support engagement with as many young people detained at this location as possible.

Given that the situation at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre may lead to young people being detained in watchhouses for longer periods that usual, Community Visitors will conduct visits to watch houses via alternative technology as necessary.

For all other clients (children, young people and adults) in the restricted areas we will continue to undertake in person visits unless there is a particular reason why we cannot attend. Where OPG cannot attend a visit physically, we will conduct these visits via alternative technologies wherever possible. All visits undertaken face to face will be done in line with guidance and associated instruction from Queensland Health. This means OPG staff will follow COVID safe planning processes and will proactively assess their own health as well as the health of those associated with the sites we visit, to minimise risks to both our staff, site support staff and clients.

We will continue to follow all Government guidelines, and we will review our visiting procedures on an ongoing basis in line with any further tightening or easing of restrictions.

There has been no change to our visiting protocols in other regions that have not been designated as restricted by the latest Queensland Health directives. OPG will continue to prioritise in person visits wherever possible.

As ever OPG staff are available via phone or email if you need to contact us with questions or concerns between visits.