13 September 2021

More COVID-19 cases at Queanbeyan, virus fragments in Eden

| Kim Treasure
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 Dianne Kitcher, CEO, COORDINARE.

COORDINARE CEO Dianne Kitcher says more Pfizer vaccine is becoming available in regional areas. Photo: Supplied.

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in southern NSW, all of them centred around the Queanbeyan area.

Two new cases were reported in the Southern NSW Local Health District to 8 pm last night, bringing the total cases in the LHD to 24 since the start of the current outbreak in June.

Both of the new cases are in Queanbeyan and are still under investigation. Health authorities say there has been a third case identified today, after the 8 pm cut off, in Karabar, near Queanbeyan. This case will be officially included in tomorrow’s numbers.

There have also been two new cases reported in the Wingecarribee Shire, bringing the total number of cases in the LGA to 20 since June.

There were 1257 cases recorded in NSW to the 24 hours to 8 pm last night, with seven deaths.

Meanwhile, no active cases have been identified on the Far South Coast despite virus fragments being discovered in Moruya, Merimbula and Eden.

The most recent discovery was at the Eden sewage treatment plant from a sample taken on 8 and 9 September.

READ ALSO Lockdown to lift for parts of NSW, new venues of concern on Far South Coast

This is the first detection at the Eden sewage treatment plant, which serves about 3000 people.

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said more undetected COVID-19 cases within the Bega Valley Shire remained a strong possibility.

“As more fragments are found, the possibility of there being unknown local cases increases, and we have already had two positive cases in Merimbula,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

“If you live in Eden or the surrounding areas, or in fact anywhere in the shire, and you have the slightest hint of cold-like symptoms, you need to get tested.

“This means if you are experiencing symptoms such as headache, nausea, sore throat, runny nose, cough, loss of smell or taste, or fever, you must get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.”

Council is sending samples from the sewage treatment plants in Eden, Bermagui, Merimbula and Bega, twice weekly to NSW Health for testing.

Testing facilities and hours can be found here.

COVID-19 cases and venues of concern are published on the Southern NSW Local Health District website here.

COORDINARE, the Primary Health Network (PHN) that takes in a region stretching from Helensburgh in the north, past Eden to the Victorian border in the south, and inland to Cooma-Monaro, Queanbeyan, Yass and Goulburn, has launched a campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in the NSW South East.

COORDINARE CEO Dianne Kitcher said the awareness campaign aimed to highlight the benefits of eased restrictions and coincided with increased availability of Pfizer through local general practices.

READ ALSO COVID vaccination rate target ‘within reach’ for NSW south east

“We are pleased to see the rollout of Pfizer to our general practices being brought forward more quickly than initially planned, following the vaccine dose-swap with Singapore,” Ms Kitcher said.

“From today, 13 September, more Pfizer appointments will be visible on the eligibility checker as an additional 40 general practices will commence administering Pfizer from 20 September. Increased supplies to more than 60 general practices will translate to more appointments at those general practices that are already administering Pfizer.

“I expect most of us are looking forward to eased restrictions once we reach the government’s 80 percent vaccination target. We’re urging people to book their COVID vaccination as soon as possible and to share their decision on social media by adding a #jabdone frame to their social media profile.

“We’re also asking people to thank our health workforce for keeping us safe from COVID, including those involved in the COVID vaccine rollout, they have been doing a tremendous job and have been under a lot of pressure.

“We recognise that until now some people have had difficulty accessing COVID vaccines, but with the increased supplies in coming weeks, the campaign calls for people aged 16 years and older to book their vaccination via the Department of Health’s eligibility checker.”

People aged 12 years and older are now eligible to book for vaccinations.

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