20 July 2020

Stay at home if you can, Mayor urges after COVID-19 outbreak

| Kim Treasure
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Liz Innes

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes. Photo: Supplied.

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes is urging people to stay at home if possible as concern mounts about the impact of a COVID-19 outbreak in Batemans Bay.

Eight cases of COVID-19 are now linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club and Mayor Innes is urging residents to follow the advice from NSW Health.

“We must all take responsibility and follow advice from health authorities, especially in a region like ours with an older demographic,” Cr Innes said.

“The Premier is encouraging us to limit travel, and I’d suggest that in Eurobodalla, especially now, we follow that advice and stay home if we can.

“It’s a tough time for everyone. Let’s continue being sensible and kind to each other.”

Southern NSW Local Health District announced six new cases of COVID-19 overnight. Two of those were family members of the father and son diagnosed after they returned to Sydney from Batemans Bay last Wednesday. Two were diners at the club, one is a staff member at the club and the other a close contact of those previously diagnosed.

READ MORE Batemans Bay now COVID-19 hotspot

Of the eight total cases connected to the club, only one is a local resident.

Canberrans who visited the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club last week will be required to self-isolate in a bid to protect the ACT from what ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman has described as the “biggest risk to Canberra” importing a case from across the border.

“The biggest chance we have of getting on top of it is having someone already in quarantine and isolated from when they become infectious,” she told ABC Radio Canberra.

“Noting how much we all love Batemans Bay and already understanding how many people passed through or stayed in Batemans Bay last week for school holidays, there’s going to be a lot of work done and we really hope the community comes on board with us.

“It’s as close as it has been now, so it is the time to wake back up.”

Dr Coleman said about 60 people who had attended the club were currently in isolation in Canberra.

NSW Health is directing people who visited the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on Monday, 13 July, Wednesday, 15 July, Thursday, 16 July and Friday, 17 July to immediately be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.

Long lines at Hanging Rock testing centre, Batemans Bay, Photo: Supplied

Those people must stay in isolation for a full 14 days even if their test is negative. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should also be retested, even if they have had a negative result previously.

People who were at the Club on Tuesday, 14 July are now being advised to monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop.

Mayor Innes said she’s confident the Eurobodalla community will once again rise to the challenge.

“We have been through so much already and we can do it again,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with the staff at the Soldiers Club. They’ve done everything right and I urge all Eurobodalla businesses to follow their lead.

“I know the constantly changing advice is exhausting for businesses, but if you don’t have a COVID-safe plan in place already, please get onto it today. Lives could depend on this.”

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NSW Health advise that contact tracing for all those who attended the club during this period is underway and investigations continue.

To ensure people can get tested quickly, Southern NSW Local Health District has opened a COVID-19 pop-up clinic at the Hanging Rock Oval car park on Beach Road, Batemans Bay. No appointment is necessary.

Anyone feeling unwell – even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose, scratchy throat cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, tiredness, loss of taste/smell, nausea, diarrhoea or muscle aches – should self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing, so cases in the community are identified as quickly as possible.

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