South Australian COVID-19 lockdown causing fear and financial hardship in Adelaide’s northern suburbs

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

“[Meisha] loves life regardless, but definitely, boredom is a big thing for all children of all abilities, [and] it’s a bit of a tricky situation because we’re confined to the one space,” Ms Tame said.

“We’ve got to continually keep her stimulated or she’ll go to sleep, and then we’ve got the risk that her whole pattern changes and then she’s up all night.

“I’ve had about two hours sleep in the past 24 hours.”

Ms Tame is a local councillor with the City of Playford, and also runs an in-home cleaning service across Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

With many of South Australia’s current COVID-19 exposure sites situated in Adelaide’s north and north-east, Ms Tame said several of her clients – especially those living with disability or a medical condition — were feeling scared.

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

“We’ve had people that have cancelled because they just want to keep their children 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.

“You’ve got people who are palliative, and you’ve got people who are immobile, so they’re isolated in their own homes,” she said.

“The numbers of support workers are also limited [in the north] of course, because if they’ve been in hotspots, then that’s even less people to come out into the community.”

Financial stress already increasing, Anglicare SA says

Anglicare SA’s executive general manager of community services, Nancy Penna, said the current lockdown had placed enormous financial pressure on households affected by nearby exposure sites.

“A lot of people in the north who are in employment will often be in casualised employment, particularly in the retail and hospitality industry,” she said.

“[Lockdown and quarantine] does effect some communities more than others, simply by the fact of the type of employment that people are in.

“That’s just really going to add to everyone’s stress.”

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

“We certainly have seen an absolute spike in the requests for telephone assistance in regard to financial counselling,” she said.

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

She said anyone in need of financial support or immediate practical help with getting food should contact a charity or non-government organisation.

NGO, government services helping the vulnerable

Organisations like Puddle Jumpers have been busy gathering and delivering food – including hot meals – to pick-up locations around Adelaide.

“[Volunteers] will serve you bakery items, food, and pantry and fruit and veg into your car so you can stay in your car and get that,” chief executive Melanie Tate said in a video posted to the organisation’s social media page.

“If you are part of a food business, or a café, or a hotel, or somewhere that has some extra food, we do have drivers that we’re trying to co-ordinate to collect those items and distribute so that no one need go hungry.

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

Volunteers have spent the past two days around Adelaide’s north, and will head to the city’s southern suburbs as well from tomorrow.

Premier Steven Marshall said everyone should be “looking out for … those people who are vulnerable in our community”.

“There are good government supports, and there are good NGO supports out there,” Mr Marshall said.

The State Government has announced one-off payments of $300 dollars for those forced into isolation.

The payment is designed for those who have been required to get tested and isolate due to the current COVID-19 cluster, and who do not have access to paid leave or other income support.

Help is also available through the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line, which can be accessed by calling 1800 632 753 or via online chat between 8.00am and 8.00pm every day.

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(Original ABC Article)