20 July 2020

Batemans Bay now COVID-19 hotspot as infection spreads

| Kim Treasure
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Batemans Bay Soldiers Club

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club. Photo: File.

Hundreds of people are being asked to self-isolate with a COVID-19 outbreak at Batemans Bay growing to eight.

The Batemans Bay Soldiers Club closed on Friday night after two tourists who dined there earlier in the week tested positive.

Initially, health workers were contact tracing anyone who dined at the club between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on Monday, 13 July.

However, the advice now is that anyone who visited the club last Monday, or Wednesday through to Friday, must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested. Even if the test is negative, the isolation must continue for 14 days.

If you visited on Tuesday, 14 July you should monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop.

The change in advice is due to the identification of four new cases linked to the club on Sunday: one staff member, two diners at the club and one case who is a close contact of the previously reported cases.

Four cases, all members of the same Sydney family, who dined at the club had already been identified.

READ ALSO Tourists test positive to COVID-19

Only one of the eight cases is a local resident.

However, a public health spokesperson said others in the community should watch for respiratory symptoms or fever and, if they occur, isolate and get tested for COVID-19 right away.

COVID-19 warning sign

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club COVID-19 warning sign. Photo: Kim Treasure.

To ensure people can get tested quickly, Southern NSW Local Health District has arranged a COVID-19 pop-up clinic at the Hanging Rock Oval Car Park (near the function centre) on Beach Road, Batemans Bay. The clinic will be open from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm until further notice. Anyone feeling unwell – even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat – should self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing, so cases in the community are identified as quickly as possible.

The need for scheduled appointments across many of the District’s COVID-19 testing sites has been removed.

READ ALSO Feeling uncertain during COVID times? You are not alone

Callers to the Southern NSW Local Health District 1800 999 880 COVID-19 line will be provided with information on testing eligibility and clinic times and locations.

These sites include Goulburn Base Hospital, Queanbeyan District Hospital, Eurobodalla Health Service (Moruya), South East Regional Hospital, Cooma District Hospital, Jindabyne Clinic and Yass District Hospital.

Also included are the ‘pop-up’ clinics at Malua Bay, Hanging Rock, Merimbula and Crookwell.

A number of smaller COVID-19 testing sites will still be by appointment only (Pambula Hospital, Bombala MPS, Eden, Perisher and Thredbo).

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I was at the Club on Thursday for lunch. As soon as I heard of the father and son testing positive after their visit on Monday I rang the hotline to see if I should be worried or get tested. I was told to get tested and that no appointment was necessary but to get there as soon as possible to 9.00am. I arrived at Hanging Rock at 9.00am on Saturday. I was tested at 2.00pm. Some people had been there longer. The nurses and staff did a great job but it was so disorganised. When you arrived, you were given a mask and told to park your car and stay in the car. They took no details from you then so they had no idea what order you arrived. A guy was walking up and down the rows taking details but as people left (many through frustration), new arrivals took their places so missed out giving details. May I suggest that they use a number system like they use at supermarket deli departments then people can be called in the order they arrive. It would save a lot of frustration.

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