Coronavirus Update

23 March, 2020

Dear HMC Staff, Volunteers, Members and Clients,

I know that we are all watching the development of the coronavirus pandemic with feelings of concern and uncertainty. We are all in uncharted territory, and it is important that we remain calm, show solidarity and stand by each other in this challenging time.

With the support of the HMC Board, I took the difficult decision on Monday 16th March 2020 to temporarily suspend the majority of the HMC's services in the interest of the health, safety and wellbeing of all HMC clients, staff and volunteers for an initial period of 2 weeks.  However, given the most recent updates following the National Cabinet Meeting today, the suspension will now be extended until further notice, subject to ongoing review.

I am closely monitoring events as they occur, participating in regular Government teleconferences and taking into account the advice of the NSW and Federal Health Departments in regard to the pandemic.  Please be assured that all necessary steps are being implemented to protect you, your families and the communities we live and work in.  As a result, I have split HMC operations and suspended all but the individual support services which will enable those most socially isolated in our community to receive essential assistance.

It is hoped these measures will ensure we comply with our social responsibility to prevent the virus spreading further, while ensuring we support all our stakeholders our benevolent work, our organisation's vision and ultimately protect business continuity in the longer term.

We are looking at ways in which the HMC can continue to provide essential services and support to our clients throughout these difficult times.  These will include transitioning from social support group to regular phone contact, social support individual and home visits based upon current advice guidelines and risk assessment.  Who hope to continue these services up to a point when we can recommence our usual activities.

Whilst we understand all these unprecedented social distancing restrictions could give rise to increased physical and mental hardship, we encourage people to utilise digital forms of communication to reach out to one another by phone, text, Skype, email, social media etc.

Additionally, up to date information can found on:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

And resources in multiple languages can also be accessed on:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-resources-cald.aspx

We plead to all our communities to resist bulk buying, observe Government issued restrictions, warnings and official health guidance and to respect and look out for those who are more vulnerable in our society.

Thank you in advance for your continued patience and understanding as the HMC makes any required adjustments to our services during these difficult times.

Please stay safe and we will continue to update you on developments through our social media pages and notices.

Annette Gebhardt

Chief Executive Officer