Mayor Keith Campbell on Tuesday afternoon … there is still only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the South Burnett

March 17, 2020

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell held a media conference on Tuesday afternoon to update residents about the COVID-19 issue after the latest Local Disaster Management Committee meeting.

The major points:

  • There is still only ONE confirmed COVID-19 case in the South Burnett. There are no cases in local schools.
  • South Burnett police will still being doing random drug and alcohol testing of drivers as usual. Queensland Police have only suspended static, multi-vehicle roadside breath and drug tests.
  • Aged care facilities in the region have protocols in place to manage the issue.

Earlier in the day, Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Chatur Zala also emphasised that rumours of a COVID-19 case in Murgon or Cherbourg were incorrect.

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The full-text of Mayor Campbell’s speech is below, or you can listen here:

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Text of Mayor Campbell’s Speech

The South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) remains at “Lean Forward” status and has reconvened today to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 event.

The LDMG will continue to ensure that we support Queensland Health as the lead agency and make certain that a whole of government response is provided to the community of the South Burnett.

Queensland Health have re-confirmed that at this stage whilst people continue to be tested as required, there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the South Burnett, with only one confirmed case to date. Appropriate steps have been taken to manage this case.

I want to also reiterate that at this time there are still no cases in South Burnett schools or other public facilities.

People are encouraged to visit the Queensland Health website or ring 13-HEALTH if they require further information on COVID-19.

All hospitals have increased preparedness should the current situation worsen.

A triage system has been implemented by Queensland Health and those community members who feel unwell and present symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their local hospital.

Kingaroy Hospital has a dedicated triage nurse available from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily for those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. Upon making contact with your local hospital, Queensland Health staff will go through a required list of questions, and – if necessary – book an appointment for a swab test.

Residents will then be asked to 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:

  • Kingaroy (07) 4162-9200
  • Murgon (07) 4169-9600
  • Nanango (07) 4171-6700
  • Wondai (07) 4169-2600
  • Cherbourg (07) 4169-8800

As previously advised, 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 neighbours, friends and family over the coming weeks to ensure their wellbeing.

Self-Quarantine

In light of the recent announcements by the Australian Government, as of Monday, March 16, if you have been overseas and are feeling well, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you left the overseas country. You must also self-quarantine if you have been in close contact with someone who already has novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While you’re self-quarantining, if you start to feel unwell and develop any symptoms at all, but especially a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or a respiratory illness, you should seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your hospital and tell them your travel history so they can prepare for your visit.

Self-quarantine means staying in your home, hotel room or provided accommodation, and not leaving for the period you are required to quarantine. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home. For further information please see the Australian Government website

Public Gatherings

The Australian Government has also issued direction regarding public gatherings – As a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), from Monday, March 16, 2020, all non-essential organised gatherings of more than 500 people should not go ahead. All essential day-to-day activities, such as school and work, can proceed as normal. Anyone who is feeling unwell should not attend public events, and should stay home from work and school.

I thank the community for their proactive support in this decision, and would encourage anyone requiring further information on their event to get in contact with us.

Local Government Elections

Council has received the following advice regarding local government elections: The local government elections will proceed as normal on Saturday, March 28. Times for pre-polling have been extended to 9:00pm on Thursday, March 19 and March 26, Wednesday March 25 and to 5:00pm on Saturday, March 21. There was no change to the postal voting deadline, with applications for postal voting closing 7:00pm yesterday, Monday March 16.

Pre-polling will be made as safe as possible with residents invited to bring their own pencil or pen; a concierge will be available to assist elderly or at risk residents. Whilst how-to-vote cards will be made available at polling venues, mayoral candidates, along with a majority of divisional candidates, have agreed not to physically hand out how-to-vote cards, with residents invited to “help themselves”. Candidates and a limited number of volunteers may still attend polling stations.

Schools

South Burnett schools remain open, with the Director-General issuing daily updates to staff. Controls and protocols are in place to limit the introduction or spread of the virus including: promotion of personal health, hygiene and distancing; continuity of teaching and learning and business operations; reviewing of events, gatherings and assemblies, sports and break times. Should parents have any concerns, they should contact the school in the first instance.

Aged Care

The LDMG has contacted all aged care facilities within the region and have provided relevant information supporting the messaging from Queensland Health in relation to COVID-19. Facilities are acting with a level of heightened awareness in enacting their current influenza protocols whilst continuing to enhance their businesses continuity planning. The LDMG will liaise closely with these facilities and other service providers in the region to ensure consistent, up-to-date, accurate information is provided in relation to the COVID-19 situation within the South Burnett.

All agencies continue “business as usual” and are working on continuity plans to minimise the impact to the region and ensure essential services are maintained over coming months.

This includes policing operations such as random breath testing.

In response to the ongoing impact, the LDMG has formed a number of sub-groups to be on the front foot with planning, response and recovery of COVID-19 on our region. The LDMG sub-group of public health has commenced and is made up of representatives from Council, Queensland Health, Education Queensland and the Queensland Police Service.

The LDMG also resolved today to form a targeted sub-group to work on key issues in our community across the areas of human, social and economy with the group to be led by Council and the Department of Communities. This group will target the need to look after the vulnerable members of our community, aged care services, resupply to priority groups and involve key stakeholders in our community from industries to lessen the impact on economy.

Lastly, I want to thank residents for their patience, calmness and understanding as the situation continues to evolve. I would recommend that residents continue to use their own judgment and stay informed via Queensland Health website or through Council’s website.

Once again I ask people to be alert, not alarmed.

The LDMG and its sub-groups will continue to meet on a regular basis and again, I will ensure that the community will remain informed as information is provided to us and we continue to receive a whole-of-government response.

Community members are encouraged to visit the following sites for up-to-date information and requirements:

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