There have been two reported COVID deaths and 11 reported cases of infection among people with disability as Australia moves to ease restrictions.

One disability worker has also died from coronavirus and 13 have tested positive as of May 8, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission told Community Care Review on Tuesday.

The disability worker who died was not an NDIS worker, and there have been no reported deaths in group homes.

A spokeswoman said the figures don’t necessarily reflect all infections of people involved in the scheme as providers are only required to notify the commission of all cases of coronavirus infections that have been medically confirmed and disclosed to them.

Disability Reform Council meets

Confirmation of the latest figures comes after a telepresence meeting of the COAG Disability Reform Council on Monday which discussed continuing efforts to protect  and support people with disability during the pandemic.

In a communique released after the meeting, ministers said they were committed to working with their health colleagues to explore telehealth for NDIS participants and build more flexible support arrangements.

The council also urged people with disability and disability support workers to download the COVIDSafe app.

“Ministers remain committed to ensuring health services and supports continue to be delivered to people with disability and their families and carers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the council said.

More masks available

The health department has announced the allocation of 500,000 more protective marks for the disability sector, and providers and self-managing participants can request PPE from the National Medical Stockpile. 

The government has also introduced advance payments and increases to some supports to help NDIS providers continue to deliver services.

The council said it is continuing to monitor the NDIS workforce for any shortages that might arise.

Data realeased this week shows that 27,500 participants joined the NDIS in the first quarter of 2020, taking the total number of people being supported through the scheme to 365,000.

The COAG NDIS Quarterly Report also showed a four per cent increase in active providers, with 548 providers becoming active for the first time over the last three months.

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