March 14, 2020
South Burnett Regional Council held a special media conference on Saturday afternoon to update local residents via live video about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Kingaroy.
The full-text of the speech is below, or you can listen here:
The address followed a meeting of the South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) – which consists of members of local emergency services and Queensland Health – at the Council Chambers in Kingaroy on Saturday morning.
Representatives from the Cherbourg Local Disaster Management Group and District Disaster Management officials also attended the meeting, some via telelink.
Today the South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group met in response to the current and future impact of the coronavirus known as COVID-19.
The Disaster Management Group known as the LDMG has moved to the official status of “Lean Forward”, to ensure that all agencies within our region work together to prepare and respond, if and when required.
The LDMG’s role in this case is to ensure that we support Queensland Health as the lead agency and make certain that a whole-of-government response is provided for our people and community.
The LDMG has been informed by Queensland Health that at this stage there is only one confirmed case of COVID-19, and appropriate steps have been taken to manage this case.
I want to also confirm that at this time there have been no cases in South Burnett schools or other public facilities.
People are encouraged to visit the Queensland Health website www.health.qld.gov.au or ring 13 HEALTH if they require further information on COVID-19. All hospitals have increased preparedness should the current situation worsen.
Community Members who feel unwell and present symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their local hospital to arrange for testing – residents are urged to ring ahead; travel to the hospital via car or via the Queensland Ambulance Service; once there, remain in the car and alert staff by phone; staff will come and collect you from your vehicle.
There is an approximate 20-hour waiting time for results. Hospitals can be contacted direct via the numbers below:
Current evidence shows that approximately 80 per cent of people with COVID-19 will experience only mild symptoms, with children from 0 to 19 years least likely to be affected.
There are some people in our community who will be at a higher level of risk and I ask that you keep in contact with these friends and family over the coming weeks to ensure their well being.
I want at this point in time, to call for people to remain calm in our region, we should remain “alert, but not alarmed”.
We as with other places across the nation, have seen an increased demand on health and food items at our supermarkets. I want to state that this is unnecessary, and that there are currently NO interruptions to supply lines. I am calling for people to show restraint in their purchasing to ensure that all residents are able to undertake their regular shopping requirements.
We know that the situation is going to change, and there may be more confirmed cases within the region in the coming period, the response to these will be appropriate and led by Queensland Health with support from other government agencies and additional localised support from the LDMG as required.
From Monday, in response to recent announcements of controls, the LDMG will meet on a regular basis and Council will be updating its website and disaster dashboard to ensure up to date information is provided, as it is provided to us.
In response to the Australian Government’s advice in regards to cancellation of non-essential public gatherings of 500 people or more, we will be publishing a register of events that are proceeding or have been cancelled. We will provide further details on Monday for event organisers to get in contact with us.
Finally, I want to state that people’s right to privacy will be maintained at all times by the government and only confirmed and required information for the public interest will be provided, at a time that is provided to us by Queensland Health or other government agencies.
We know it is absolutely inevitable that COVID-19 will continue to grow in impact in our region. The situation will evolve daily and our response will evolve with it. I ask people to show respect and remain calm to minimise the impact on our region, our people and our economy.
People should exercise diligence and judgment, and life should continue as normal as much as possible.
I will ensure that the community remains informed regularly, and that the people of our region receive the whole of government response required.
Community members are encouraged to visit the following sites for up-to-date information and requirements:
Further updates will be released as required.