Canberra’s primary Aboriginal Health Care Service is back up and running after a COVID scare forced the building to close for two days while it underwent a deep clean.

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service in Narrabundah was deemed a casual exposure site and several staff were forced to isolate after a COVID positive person was unknowingly infectious in the reception area last Friday.

CEO of Winnunga, Julie Tongs said at least one of her staff tested positive for the virus but all clinicians and people working closely with the service were fully vaccinated.

“Any staff from any agency need to be fully vaccinated before they can work at Winnunga”, Ms Tongs said.

She said any staff who were hesitant or refused to get the vaccine were stood down at the start of ACT’s lockdown due to the heightened risk COVID-19 poses to vulnerable community members.

Clients who had vaccine appointments at Winnunga Nimmtyjah on Monday or Tuesday were asked to attend the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) vaccination hub to receive their jab or alternatively re-book for Wednesday when the medical centre reopened.

Julie Tongs said mob weren’t too keen on getting their jab at the AIS mass vaccination clinic but now that Winnunga is back on its feet, their vaccination program can pick up where it left off.

The Wiradjuri woman said before the centre closed, their vaccination program was coming up to 900 Pfizer jabs.

“Hopefully by mid next week we’ll be back on top of it and up to the 900,” she said.

“We need to protect our families, our Elders, and our mob, and the only way to do that is to get vaccinated.”

Julie Tongs speaking with NIRS News