COVID-19 News Bulletin 16/3/20

Coronavirus COVID-19 and CWA Activities
The Association has been monitoring government information and media reports regarding COVID-19, and in particular we note the strong recommendations that people should be practising social distancing, especially those over 60 with underlying medical conditions.

CWA House Closure
We have considered how rapidly the environment is changing, the known facts, the varied opinions, as well as the ages of the majority of our members and our responsibility to care for our members, staff and friends’ welfare. As a result we have agreed to close CWA House in West Perth as of today (16 March 2020), open only by appointment (for collections/drop offs). Some staff are working from home to help us set up to manage multiple scenarios and keep supporting our Board, our members and our branches as best we can.

We are also looking at options for our next Board meeting to hold it as an e-Meeting or a combination of an e-Meeting and Videoconference. Today the State President, State Treasurer and CEO met via videoconferencing and found it a very successful way to plan and implement this advice to you.

Branch Events & Meetings
Please note that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has made a number of recommendations for public gatherings and testing, which can be found at the link:  https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-coronavirus-covid-19-statement-on-13-march-2020

AHPPC notes emerging evidence of community transmission in localised areas within Australia, current issues limiting the capacity to do widespread COVID-19 diagnostic tests and emerging international evidence that, for best effect, social distancing measures are best introduced at the earliest stages of community transmission.

AHPPC considers that, for these reasons, the time has come to put in place social distancing measures to mitigate spread, rather than a strategy based primarily on case finding. These include:

  • limiting non-essential organised gatherings to fewer than 500 people
  • limiting non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce eg healthcare professionals and emergency services
  • encouraging all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • initiating measures to protect vulnerable populations, such as reducing visitors to all residential care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

These measures are of most importance for people over 60, particularly those with chronic disease.  In light of the above, and to ensure the safety of all members and their families, CWA of WA proposes that all branch events be cancelled until the above advice changes. CWA of WA also recommends that all branches consider cancelling branch meetings, unless the branch office bearers are confident that social distancing can be maintained, that the branch rooms are suitably sanitised, and that vulnerable populations will not be put at risk. We recognise that branch business will still need to occur, and will provide suggestions on how you can continue to make decisions without holding face to face meetings.

How can our members stay connected while observing social distancing rules?
In these uncertain times, we have to be aware of protecting each other by observing social distancing rules to stay well.  This helps to prevent the spread of coronavirus but can make us feel more isolated. Here are some suggestions that may help to ease this situation:

1.    The easiest way is to make regular phone calls to check on your members, friends and neighbours.  This can be done by allocating a list of phone numbers to each member so that they can personally check on everyone on their list.

2.    If you have access to social media platforms, you can join groups so you can regularly update each other with news.

3.    Drop food or consumable parcels on the doorsteps of people or families you know may need a helping hand.

CWA of WA will continue to provide information to our members via e-mail, social media and by post. We also recommend you monitor the news media, and if you have access to the internet, the HealthyWA website remains a useful resource:   https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/

What about our meetings?
Monthly meetings can still continue by using Teleconferencing or Videoconferencing.

Phone Meetings
Teleconferencing is where two or more people in different locations use their regular mobile or landline phone to dial into a central system (known as a conference bridge) with a special number and then enter a meeting number and password to gain entry into a phone conversation amongst many people at the same time.  (Alternatively, you could phone each individual member and ask them for their vote on urgent items, such as financial decisions. These would need to be Minuted. Further guidance will be provided to assist you with this process.)

Videoconference Providers
CWA of WA uses Zoom videoconferencing but there are other providers. CWA’s Web Branch uses Zoom videoconferencing for their monthly meetings, and have found it very successful.

State Conference
We are liaising with the venue, at present they say we will not lose the deposit if we defer the event. State Conference is on the agenda for the next Board meeting in early April and we will discuss options. We will keep members apprised of the situation as it unfolds.

Wanting something to do at home?  Try one of our knitted, crochet or sewn patterns:
Many of our members are not used to having idle hands so we have a solution!  Help yourselves and others with the following craft ideas including the Forget Me Not Flower Pattern, Red Poppy Pattern, Fiddle Rugs and Muffs, Feelie Hearts, Caligo Dolls, Knitted Teddies Bibs,Drainage Bags and more.   These can be found on our website under: Branches / Patterns for Knitting or Crochet or click here for the link:  https://www.cwaofwa.asn.au/branches/patterns-to-knit-or-crochet/

Catch-up online with the State President!

When: Friday, 20 March 2020
Time: 10am-11am
Where: online via Zoom

If you have access to the internet on your computer or mobile phone, we would love you to join our State President Elaine for a cuppa and a chat.
You can either join the meeting by clicking on the link below, or you can open a Zoom session and type in the meeting ID 882 667 693. If you don’t have videoconferencing you can also dial in via one of the numbers listed below and then put the meeting ID in when prompted. We hope you see you on Friday!

Join Zoom Meeting
http://https ://zoom.us/j/882667693
Meeting ID: 882 667 693
Dial by your location
+61 8 7150 1149
+61 2 8015 6011
+61 3 7018 2005

We encourage you to keep up to date on the virus and look out for yourself, your family, friends and CWA colleagues. Isolation, anxiety and panic are dangerous side-effects of the pandemic. We have the ability to provide an informed, caring and calm influence in our communities, which can make a difference.