It seems that one of the battlefronts of Covid-19, which not many people have thought about is the apartment block.
Social distancing and even self-isolation are more difficult in circumstances where many households are needing to share space such as lifts, garbage rooms, stairwells and foyers.
If it hasn’t already happened, all buildings should now have closed their gyms and swimming pools in accordance with the Federal Government mandate. Serious consideration should also be given to any other area where people congregate – such as a roof top social area.
Hand-sterilisation stations in common areas would also be advisable.
But what if someone in your building is diagnosed with Covid-19?
Medical professionals are required to report people diagnosed with Covid-19 so the Government can undertake contact-tracing, to enable people who might be at risk of contraction to self-isolate. However, our rights to medical privacy remain.
It is recommended that any infected person does immediately let the strata manager know, who in turn can implement the following measures:
- Increased cleaning to the common areas, especially on doorknobs, lift buttons, stair railings, garage door buttons and intercom panels.
- Additional deep cleaning in garbage rooms.
- Closure of all non-essential common property facilities.
- Notification to all residents (which of course does not disclose any personal details, including apartment number of the patient) to encourage extra vigilance and hygiene.
- Installation of hand sanitizing stations in foyers and garbage rooms.
- Assist in setting up social measures to assist those in need.
Additional cleaning is recommended in any case but may not be a realistic option for all Owners Corporations.
People who are infected, display symptoms, are in mandated self-isolation or are at high risk should avoid use of common areas as much as possible. When accessing the shared areas, it is advised that people wear a surgical mask and gloves and move through as quickly as possible.
It’s a scary time for all of us right now. But strata schemes are in a unique situation, where a micro-community operates within the greater. It means we must be more vigilant. But also provides an opportunity to strengthen the sense of community within the building as we all assist each other through this.