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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

LOCALS’ CONCERNS ABOUT THE COVID-POSITIVE CASES AT CHINDERAH AS NSW HEALTH CONFIRMS “SEVERAL PEOPLE” ARE ISOLATING IN ORGANISED ACCOMMODATION

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two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed
Two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed

LOCALS’ CONCERNS ABOUT THE COVID-POSITIVE CASES AT CHINDERAH AS NSW HEALTH CONFIRMS “SEVERAL PEOPLE” ARE ISOLATING IN ORGANISED ACCOMMODATION

by Margaret Dekker

There’s mounting concern across the Tweed Valley the two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed.

An initial alert from NSW Health stated the pair had attended the “Chinderah truck stop” overnight.

Tweed Shire Councillor Warren Polglase told The Northern Rivers Times he’s been contacted by a number of people in the Tweed concerned about the identities of the COVID-positive pair and what they were doing at the service station between 8:30pm on Tuesday, July 13 and 7:30am on Wednesday July 14.

“Maybe there’s a bigger issue here than is being let on, and NSW Health is keeping a lid on it until it gets all the test results back,” Cr Polglase said.

Cr Polglase also said of the 40 people contacted by NSW Health for testing, some were from Murwillumbah.  He believes residents of Far North NSW have a right to know if they are at heightened risk.

“If it was mentioned there was an issue or concern, awareness would increase dramatically he said.”

In a statement, Acting Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir said

“There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, nor any confirmed cases isolating here.

Several people are completing their 14 days of isolation in accommodation arranged by NSW Health with the assistance of NSW Police and the North Coast Public Health Unit, after being identified as close contacts at the Ampol Service Station in Chinderah at the same time as positive COVID-19 cases.

The accommodation has been arranged so that the individuals have suitable accommodation to be able to isolate properly.

These isolation accommodation arrangements provide a secure and supportive environment for these guests.

All guests will undergo the required testing during isolation, and will receive regular wellbeing checks from NSW Health,” the statement by Lynne Weir, A/Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District said.

A spokesperson from NSW Health said owing to privacy, NSW Health does not comment on individual cases and unless there is reason for the community to be concerned, it will not be providing further comment.

But Cr Polglase said the community is concerned.

“People want to know where these people in isolation are, are they in a house next to me?  The state government should be honest and clear in their interpretation as to what is taking place,” Cr Polglase said.

“We basically need to know what is going on from Gladys Berejiklian,” he said.

Cr Polglase said he was particularly concerned given the Tweed Shire’s ageing population who he believed would be on tenterhooks.

Federal Labor member for Richmond Justine Elliot told The Northern Rivers Times “everything” about the handling of this COVID-19 exposure site concerns her.

“Everything about it concerns me, the lack of information about where the infected pair were before they were at the service station, where they went afterwards, we have no answers on that,” Justine Elliot said.

“All the close contacts, have any tested positive, how many are in quarantine, and what are the specifics of the quarantine and is it secure?” she asked.

Justin Elliot described it as a “massive fail” by the NSW Government to provide crucial information to residents of northern NSW and called on the NSW Government to come clean, given the detail provided on other COVID-19 exposure sites in the state.

She said the Tweed’s vulnerable situation also illustrated the need for a dedicated ‘Border Zone’ to better protect the people of northern NSW.

“It is just inexcusable, treating our community with such contempt, I call on Tweed MP Geoff Provest to respond,” Justine Elliot said.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest told The Northern Rivers Times he had spoken to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Wednesday afternoon asking for more detail about the accommodation “several people” are now isolating in after the Chinderah exposure site, and added he was also concerned.

“I will have more details for the public on Thursday morning,” Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed, said.

 

 

COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

From 5pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021, residents of Tweed and Byron LGAs are ordered to stay-at-home for at least 7 days.

This order was confirmed by NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, during a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday morning.
The orders also apply to any person who has been in either of these affected LGAs since September 18, or in the Kempsey LGA since September 14.

Ballina has escaped the order, although fragments of Covid-19 virus were detected in sewage in Ballina and Wardell overnight.

The lockdown order follows the arrival of a Covid-19 positive man into the Northern Rivers region from Sydney on the weekend. Northern NSW Local Health District advised the man was infectious in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas between Saturday, September 18 and Monday, September 20, after landing at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport at 8:45am on Saturday direct from Sydney on Virgin flight VA 1141.

Hazzard said today the man had been authorised to travel to Northern NSW for work and was tested on arrival, however it was only after a second test health authorities discovered he was positive.

Everyone in Tweed and Byron LGAs must now stay at home unless for essential reasons including shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise, and work/tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home.

People can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation if all in the group aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed, said a strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if these stay-at-home orders are extended beyond a week.

“I encourage everyone with the mildest of symptoms to get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received,” he said.

An exasperated Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, said the situation was a joke and called for rapid antigen testing at the Ballina Byron Airport for anyone arriving in the Northern Rivers, to protect the region from Covid-19 arrivals, a view shared by Ballina MP, Tamara Smith.

“I cannot believe we’re in this situation, completely avoidable again, businesses shutting down again, school holidays ruined again, it beggars belief,” Mayor Lyons said.

The Queensland Government has not confirmed if Tweed and Byron LGAs are removed from the restored border bubble.
Lismore LGA remains in lockdown until at least Thursday, September 23, and is excluded from the border bubble arrangement until further notice.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

There were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, to 8pm Thursday 16 September.
Yesterday there were more than 1,000 tests conducted in the Northern NSW Local Health District.
To determine the extent of the risk and detect any further potential COVID-19 cases in our area, we are calling on the communities to come forward for testing in large numbers.
A strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if the current stay-at-home orders for Lismore are extended beyond one week.
For the week of 5–11 September there were 4,976 tests conducted amongst NNSWLHD residents, compared to 5,746 tests conducted during the previous week.
Anyone with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms is urged to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received.
Please continue to check this page regularly, as the list of venues of concern and relevant health advice are being updated as new cases emerge and investigations continue.
If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules given to you by Health staff, whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
All residents of the Lismore LGA, and anyone who visited Lismore since September 7 are subject to ‘Stay at Home’ requirements.
Testing clinics in the Lismore region
We’d like to remind the community that there is a new drive-through testing at Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC), 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah. This clinic also accepts walk-ins.
The clinic will be open from 8am to 4pm Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September at this stage. PAGE 2 OF 2

Other clinics located in Lismore are:
• • _Lismore Base Hospital – Uralba Street, Lismore, open seven days, 9am-5pm. Appointments not required
• • _Lismore 4Cyte Pathology Drive-through Clinic – 47-49 Dawson Street, Lismore. Open Saturday and Sunday 8am-2pm, appointments not required
• • _Lismore Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology – 62 Wyrallah Road, Shop 12, Wyrallah Road Shopping Centre, Lismore. Open Monday – Saturday, appointments not required
• • _Southern Cross University Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Drive-through Clinic Military Road, Southern Cross University, East Lismore. Open Tuesday to Friday, appointments not required.

For those outside of the area, there are more than 500 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

Police are warning would-be protesters to stay at home this weekend, with a significant police operation to be launched in response to planned unauthorised protest activity.

Preparations are underway for a highly visible and mobile police operation to disrupt any protests and prevent mass gatherings across the state.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott warned anyone thinking of protesting this weekend to stay at home, and not come into the city.

“There is no doubt that these protests are a risk to public health – for the community, for police as well as for the individual health of the protesters themselves,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’ve seen past protesters end up contracting COVID-19, so anyone who is still considering protesting needs take a good hard look at themselves.”

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon, Metropolitan Field Operations, said the operation would mirror previous operations, which had been extremely successful in preventing and disrupting protest activity.

“We are continuing to monitor online commentary ahead of tomorrow and have put in place an extremely mobile police operation with significant resources, to respond to whatever situation we are faced with.

“I have said before and I will say it again – we take the health and safety of the community extremely seriously.

“I would again appeal to the community to do your part to protect your loved ones and the wider community by staying at home, unless you are complying with the requirements of the public health order.

“Engaging in an unauthorised protest does not comply with the public health order and anyone choosing to attend or participate for that purpose should expect to be met by the police and face penalties ranging from a fine to being arrested.”

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