I am pleased to report that as of today, 24 March 2020, there have been no cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in our electorate. Please all keep up the good work, strictly adhering to the rules about social gatherings and social distancing. Only by being vigilant can we contain the impact of this global pandemic.
Restrictions apply to us all, and for this reason I have been paired from this week’s sitting week to reduce the numbers of people working from the Parliament House building, instead teleconferencing and using all digital devices. Other measures our office is undertaking is reducing face to face appointment contact and stopping non-essential gatherings. Be assured I remain available via phone and email.
It has been a particularly difficult week for local businesses, with the mandatory requirement declared yesterday that all hotels, clubs, restaurants, cafes, sporting venues, gyms, cinemas, and churches must close. Today, South Australia’s borders were closed for non-essential travel as part of our strong and clear plan to protect the health of South Australians.
The advice is that everybody entering the state must self-isolate for 14 days, with some exemptions that can apply for essential transport such as health and medical supplies, health workers, health personnel and patients, and food and commercial supply chains. For more information phone 1300 232 272 or email [email protected]
All such measures are recommended by Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier and her team, with the bottom line being to delay community transmission of this disease which is happening in other parts of Australia but vitally, not yet here in South Australia.
I am aware local health services and staff are under great pressure but was pleased this week that a designated 7-day COVID-19 testing facility was opened at Wallaroo Hospital, along with testing clinics at Maitland, Yorketown, Minlaton, Port Broughton, Snowtown, Port Pirie, Balaklava and Jamestown. All patients are required to be GP assessed prior to testing.
We must continue to keep working together, washing our hands thoroughly and regularly, staying apart 1.5 metres when we need to visit supermarkets or offices like Centrelink, and be kind to each other. Remember too, to try and support local businesses, including restaurants and pubs which are continuing to offer take away food.
The advice is that schools at this time will remain open and are safe places for students to attend. However, parents can choose to keep their children at home if they wish.
Please let us all try and stay positive. Groceries, fuel and medical items will always be available and are not in short supply – any empty shelves in our supermarkets is due to restocking issues, not supply threats.
The Maitland electorate office remains open Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5pm, for further assistance.