• Tony Bosworth

A handy guide to COVID services – financial help, testing, childrens’ vaccinations, and more...



This very useful guide has been put together by Macquarie MP Susan Templeman and her team and sent out this morning. There’s nothing political about it, it’s simply a great resource, with quick links to the relevant areas.


Financial assistance

Support is now available if you can’t earn an income because you or someone you’re caring for has to self-isolate or quarantine because they have contracted COVID-19. You can find out more about applying for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment via the Services Australia website. You can also find out more about financial support for individuals and households via the Service NSW website.

The Women’s Cottage in Richmond has received additional funding to support people in the Hawkesbury region who may be experiencing financial hardship or other needs because they are sick with COVID or required to isolate. For more information please call (02) 4578 4190 or email manager@womenscottage.org.au.

The National Debt Helpline provides free and confidential advice to people experiencing financial difficulties on 1800 007 007. Testing The rules about who needs a PCR test (nose and throat swab) have been changed – check the new rules here.

The NSW Government has made the registration of positive RAT results mandatory, which can be done via the Service NSW app. For more information, click here. From January 9, some critical workers were allowed to leave self-isolation. You can read the guidelines here. Australian Clinical Labs has published its opening times for the PCR testing site at Clarendon on this page. To find your nearest COVID-19 testing centre – both PCR and RAT - you can enter your postcode at this site.

RATs

The Federal Government has announced up to 10 Rapid Antigen Tests over three months (a maximum of 5 in a month) will be made available free through pharmacies to people with: • A Pension Concession Card • A Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card • A Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card • A Health Care Card, or • A Low Income Health Card Unfortunately at the time of writing, it’s unclear what the process will be and the free tests are not yet available. What we do know is you will need to take your card to a chemist to get them. More information about RATs is available here. Information on what to do if you’ve tested positive is available here. A guide for COVID positive patients to manage their illness at home has been published by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners here. Children's vaccinations COVID vaccinations are now recommended for children aged five to 11 years old. Enter your postcode at this link to find a clinic and book. While there are media reports of appointment cancellations due to vaccine supply issues, that is less of an issue in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. Booster shots People who are fully vaccinated, aged over 18 and received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago are eligible for a booster vaccination. The interval will reduce from four to three months from January 31.

Food relief Some charity food providers closed over the Christmas/New Year break but have now resumed operations. Hawkesbury's Helping Hands, which operated continuously, provides its much-needed service in a COVID safe environment at 28 Walker St, South Windsor. Follow the Facebook page for more information at @HawkesburysHelpingHands. You can download information on food services via Hawkesbury Community Hubs – just look for the Useful Information/Food and Emergency Supports menu at the right hand side of the page.

Mental health help The Head to Health mental health support line and clinics are available in the Hawkesbury and Penrith to help those whose mental health may be suffering as the result of the pandemic. Call 1800 595 212. If someone you know needs mental health support, the following services are available 24/7: • Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636 • Lifeline - 131 114 • Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800 • Suicide call back service - 1300 659 467 • NSW Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511 If you or someone you are with is in immediate danger, please contact 000. Rules and regulations The NSW Government is responsible for the rules and regulations that affect how we can move around in the community. Information about COVID restrictions is available via the government’s website. To keep up with the latest information on COVID statistics, visit the NSW Health website. General COVID Links

· The Australian Government - here

· The Department of Health - here

· The NSW Government - here

· Nepean Blue Mountains Health District - here

· Blue Mountains City Council - here

· Hawkesbury City Council - here

· Domestic travel - here






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