WGHG Project Worker Cherie Howe packing free masks for people in need with volunteer Catherine Cooper, WGHG Health Promotion Officer Angela Greenall and volunteer Vanessa Campbell.
Free masks for people in need in Baw Baw

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic response, the Victorian Government has provided funding to the WGHG to engage and support vulnerable communities in Baw Baw Shire.
It has also provided free masks to Healthcare Card holders in the local area who may not be able to afford to purchase them.

The one-off grant from the Department of Health & Human Services ( DHHS) is to promote awareness on the importance of getting tested for COVID-19 if a person has symptoms, to reduce barriers to testing and help reduce the spread of infection across the community.

People eligible for free masks include those with chronic conditions such as poor immunity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or chronic lung disease, people who are homeless, in insecure housing or supported accommodation as well as Aboriginal people, people living with disability, mental illness or experiencing family violence.

WGHG Acting Director of Allied & Community Health Services, Leanne Coupland, said the goal was to reach people who can’t afford masks or can’t make them, and provide them with an opportunity to be safe without having to be stressed about getting a $200 fine.

The DHHS has delivered 2,000 disposable masks which are available at our Allied and Community Health Centre at 31-35 Gladstone Street in Warragul to people who have a Healthcare Card and live in the Baw Baw Shire. People should phone 5624 3500 to check availability.
The masks have been packed into bags of five and include instructions for use. There is a limit of 1 bag per person. Cloth masks are anticipated to arrive soon and will be limited to two per person.

WGHG’s Community Services team has also been visiting small communities, caravan parks, post offices and essential businesses to provide information on support and extra assistance such as food packs, mental health supports and where to go for testing.
Bright purple posters have been distributed to show pictographs of COVID-19 symptoms and encourage people to get tested at the Warragul Specialist Centre Respiratory Clinic at 197-199 Sutton Street, Warragul.
The message is that anyone with cold or flu symptoms, no matter how mild, needs to get tested immediately and then go straight home and wait for their results.

Additional information:

Victorian Government Coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398 or visit: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Media Inquiries: 5623 0600