Linguistically diverse health staff hit shopping centres to answer your COVID questions

SWSLHD staff at Carnes Hill Marketplace.
SWSLHD staff at Carnes Hill Marketplace.

Local health professionals have been hitting shopping centres in south-west Sydney recently to spread information about COVID-19 to as many people as possible - including those who don't speak English.

In a state first, the frontline healthcare workers who speak a variety of languages were on hand at local malls including Narellan Town Centre, Campbelltown Mall and Carnes Hill Marketplace to answer any questions people might have about the coronavirus.

The South Western Sydney Local Health District said about 51 per cent of the region's residents speak a language other than English at home, and more than 44 per cent of the local population was born overseas.

That's why the staff, including nurses and multicultural health workers, spent time speaking Vietnamese, Arabic, Hindi and Assyrian to shoppers at the local centres to encourage them to take every measure to protect themselves and their loved ones during the pandemic.

More visits are scheduled soon, with the team visited Westfield Liverpool this week and stopping by Oran Park Podium from Monday.

SWSLHD staff at Narellan Town Centre this week.

SWSLHD staff at Narellan Town Centre this week.

SWSLHD chief executive Amanda Larkin said locals appreciated being able to speak their own languages to healthcare staff.

"This is an opportunity for shoppers to engage our staff in their own language and hear first-hand how to stay safe during the pandemic and stop community transmission," she said.

"We are a community of many cultures and our shopping centre visits are another way we are sharing important information.

"Thank you to everyone who stops to ask questions and receive information. By supporting each other and working together, we can help to keep our community safe."

Ms Larkin said anyone who was feeling unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat, should come forward to get tested.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, get tested and isolate right away if you are unwell. Make sure you wash your hands regularly, maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from others and wear a face mask when you can't physically distance.

The state government is investing $800 million additional funding into the health system over two years on top of the 2019-20 Health Budget of $26.7 billion to help boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment in response to COVID-19.