COVID-19: your StrataFAQ for community living
One in 10 Australians live in apartments, meaning if the right steps aren’t taken to prevent and control COVID-19, our high-density living arrangements pose a significant risk to our ability to #FlattenTheCurve.
To help keep COVID-19 under control, we have summarised practical information to help manage potential spread and infection.
What if someone in my building has been identified with COVID-19?
If someone is found to have COVID-19, we’d recommend that the individual immediately self-isolate as per the guidelines provided by the Australian Government.
Take note of the safety measures that have been put in place by your committee, building management staff, and public health authorities. To read in detail what committees should be doing to manage the health and safety of a property during COVID-19 click here.
What action do I need to take if I live with someone under mandatory home isolation?
- Minimise all personal contact during the quarantine period. Even if that person does not have symptoms
- As much as possible stay in your respective rooms
- Avoid sharing bathrooms. If there is only one bathroom in the apartment, clean and disinfect the bathroom thoroughly after each use
- Clean and disinfect the kitchen frequently and make sure kitchen utensils and appliances are thoroughly cleaned after each use
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently. Soap breaks down the layer of fat around the virus and leaves it unable to infect you
- Woolworths and Coles – and others, offer doorstep delivery service to those under quarantine, so it is advised you use these services
If I have COVID-19, am I obliged to inform my committee?
If you are passing through common areas or using common property, this may be a breach of by-laws or your building rules by “creating a nuisance or hazard on common property”. You could also be breaking the law under the Public Health Act and could be fined or imprisoned.
We recommend alerting your committee so other residents can be informed and take appropriate precautions – without exposing your name or which floor you reside on. Confidentiality should be kept.
Can I still use an outdoor fitness or swimming pool area?
- Avoid the use of common areas or shared facilities, as these are areas highly susceptible to germs and viruses
- When using the laundry room, wash your hands before and after using the facility. Ensure you use detergent and a hot water wash, and using the dryer is recommended. Remember, to maintain social distancing
- Arrange for parcel deliveries to be left at the front door of your apartment – or the lobby area, where necessary. Use gloves to take receipt of packages and dispose of the packaging immediately. If a signature is required, use your own pen
- Remember to stay up-to-day with information from the Australian Government and your public health authority. Restrictions around what facilities people should and shouldn’t be using are changing quickly—you don’t want to put yourself or others at risk.
What can I do to maintain good mental health in self-isolation?
We are amidst a global and national health crisis, so worrying is a normal reaction. However, you can and should take steps to manage stress and anxiety and relieve or prevent bad mental health. Proactive steps to managing mental health include:
- Follow a routine — research shows following a routine is good for maintaining mental health because it is something we can control and do well
- Have a strategy in place — if you are getting stressed about the ‘what ifs’ put a plan in place
- Eat well – ensure you are eating healthy food options and getting enough rest
- Stay active and exercise — try and exercise somewhere that doesn’t involve touching common area assets to minimise the spread of germs. If you can’t get out, stretching has been proven to help
- Stay connected even when physically distant — self-isolation doesn’t mean social isolation. Use technology to talk to colleagues, family, friends, and check on those within your building
Should we do anything differently when disposing of rubbish?
When disposing of waste, use common sense and dispose of it considerately. Ensure children, pets and pests cannot access waste and do not leave rubbish unsupervised on the ground.
If you have COVID-19 or are in self-isolation from returning from overseas, it is recommended that you not dispose of your waste until you have been cleared. If this is not possible, any waste from self-isolating residents should be double-bagged, and the exterior surface should be wiped before handling.
If I’m working from home, can I commence renovations?
If you are not under pressure of a renovation timeline, you may want to revaluate commencing works during this public health crisis. There are a few factors at play that could mean your works may have to come to a halt such as:
- Your contractor may be prevented from finishing the job as they might experience staffing issues or forced closures
- The building industry might be impacted by shortages of materials and products causing delays
- Material costs may become more expensive because of scarcity and unusually high demand.
It’s also worth thinking about the fact that at this time, we can expect to have more people around your property that are sick and working from home. It would be considerate to put off any unnecessary works during this period to support those who need peace and quiet.
Can I get infected through an air-conditioning system?
It’s still too early for scientists and doctors to know. According to the most up-to-date information from the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through air conditioning systems.
Buildings may be at reduced risk with improved air quality through ventilation and filtration and opened windows to help dilute high concentrations of indoor air contaminants.
Should new cleaning procedures be implemented?
Scientists found that COVID-19 was detectable in aerosols from people talking, coughing, and sneezing with the virus lasting four hours on copper, up to 24-hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is the best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19. We recommend that committees should increase the number, length, and areas that get cleaned, especially in areas that are frequently touched, such as door handles.
If you have contracted cleaners, ask to see their Safe Work Method Statement and talk to them about their COID-19 management strategy, so you know they are taking the right measures.
How do I stay in touch with reliable information updates?
We recommend to only obtain updates on COVID-19 from reputable sources. For the latest information, visit the Australian Government’s Department of Health. If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact your state or territory public health agency or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
- Health Australian Capital Territory: 02 5124 9213
- Health New South Wales: 1300 066 055
- Northern Territory Government: 08 8922 8044
- Queensland Health: 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
- South Australia Health: 1300 232 272
- Tasmanian Government Dept of Health: 1800 671 738
- Victoria State Government Health and Human Services: 1300 675 398
We are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, and the only way to combat it is if everyone works together to flatten the curve. We must help reduce the spread, so we don’t overburden our health system and see unnecessary loss of life and illness. Remember, we’re in this together.
Note: We are not in the position to provide health advice and urge you to keep up-to-date with information from the Australian Government and public health authorities.