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Park lands isolation hub for COVID-positive Aboriginal visitors

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A temporary isolation hub with shelter, food and health services in the west park lands will open next week to accommodate Aboriginal rough sleepers who test positive for COVID-19.

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The State Government is setting the hub up in G.S. Kingston Park/Wirrarninthi (Park 23) and it is expected to open on Tuesday.

It will be modelled on the Puti on Kaurna Yerta service that opened in the southern park lands for two months last year. That site helped more than 70 Aboriginal people who were sleeping rough in the city to safely return to their communities.

Shelter, food and health services will be provided onsite, with all waste and rubbish to be self-contained and removed.

SA Health requested that the Department of Human Services open the isolation hub following concerns COVID-19 was spreading amongst Aboriginal visitors who were sleeping rough, predominately in the park lands.

So far, three people in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Lands’ executive to ask all Aṉangu people to stay put if they are away from their communities.

The executive earlier this month was forced to cancel a bus that was scheduled to transport Aṉangu people from Adelaide back to the Lands, after several passengers tested COVID-positive.

Department of Human Services community and family services executive director Alex Reid said the hub was expected to run for up to six weeks, depending on demand.

She said it would provide a culturally appropriate, safe place for people to isolate.

“DHS is able to set up the hub quickly and efficiently given the success of the previous, temporary Puti on Kaurna Yerta Hub,” she said.

“This hub is in part-modelled on the successful Puti on Kaurna Yerta Hub which was located in the south Parklands late last year.

“While that program was focussed on returning people to country and provide coordinated services, the Isolation Hub is a specific medical support service to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within a vulnerable community.”

The Department said the hub had the support of the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation and the APY Lands executive board, which were providing leadership and services.

The Adelaide City Council has granted the government a licence agreement for the use of the site.

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