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Disaster Groups Target COVID-19

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LDMG members met in Cherbourg on Saturday … a larger group, including representatives from Cherbourg, Gympie and South Burnett councils met again in Cherbourg on Monday  (Photo: CASC)

March 23, 2020

There are currently no positive cases of COVID-19 in Cherbourg or the South Burnett, a joint Local Disaster Management Group meeting held in Cherbourg on Monday was told.

However, there is one person in isolation in the South Burnett.

southburnett.com.au understands this is the person who was confirmed as testing positive by Queensland Health on March 13.

The LDMG was told 70 tests are being carried out per day in the region, with results coming back on average within 24 hours.

The Cherbourg LDMG has been meeting regularly with representatives from the South Burnett and Gympie councils as well as the District Disaster Management Group (DDMG), community service providers, the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and local health and education bodies.

“COVID-19 coronavirus has been identified as the single largest threat to our community’s health,” Cherbourg Mayor Arnold Murray said in a statement released after Monday’s meeting.

“Plans are being enacted that will stand for at least the next six months or more.

“This pandemic cannot be taken lightly; it is dangerous to Cherbourg, our elderly and most vulnerable.”

Mayor Murray said all non-essential works in the community have been suspended.

A checkpoint would be erected on the main road into Cherbourg within the next 24 hours to ensure only essential movements of people in and out of Cherbourg in a bid to keep COVID-19 out of the town.

Like the South Burnett LDMG, the Cherbourg LDMG has created a number of sub-groups to address specific issues.

These include Health and Education, Human Social, Re-Supply Of Goods and Corporate Communications.

A Checkpoint Sub-Group will maintain a list of people allowed into the community.

“This is not a lockdown. Community cannot, and will not, be sealed off, however movements in and out of community will be restricted to essential services,” Mayor Murray said.

“The only way in and out of Cherbourg will be via a checkpoint that will be manned by local people supported by Queensland Health and QPS.”

Mayor Murray said all people entering the community would be screened at the checkpoint, including schoolchildren and teachers.

“It is important to know – this checkpoint is not designed to keep people in community, it is there to help keep coronavirus out,” he said.

“If you need to go to town for shopping, you can, but think before you get on the road. How many people do you need in your vehicle? Only one person really needs to go into town for shopping, so let’s work together to help each other out.

“You can still attend hospital and doctors and hospital appointments for things like dialysis.

“At this point all service providers are being contacted to verify which employees are considered essential to attend Cherbourg.”

Mayor Murray said Cherbourg residents needed to know the Cherbourg LDMG was well-prepared.

“We have well thought out and developed strategies for disaster management in our community,” he said.

“We have now enacted protocols and procedures for pandemic control, with numerous scenarios catered for.

“Because of this preparation, we are able to move calmly and smoothly toward setting in place measures to best handle this unfolding COVID-19 event.

“As the event continues, protocols to handle the emerging situation will also continue evolving.

“Please look out for our most vulnerable, our elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

“Cherbourg is the safest place for people to be at the moment, as at today there are no confirmed cases in our community.

“For that reason it is critical that we all remain calm and stay where we are. It is important that we all observe good hygiene and social distancing practices.

“Sales and supply of food, health and other essential goods are being addressed and will be trucked into Cherbourg in future – and all items will be priced and distributed fairly.

“The future is uncertain for us at the moment.

“The measures we are going to see taken will feel alien and out of place, not normal. They are likely to feel disruptive and uncomfortable but be assured, they are necessary and are being carried out in the interests of protection of community.

“The Federal Government has announced a number of support measures for the unemployed and those who may have lost work because of the coronavirus event.”

[UPDATE March 25: The person that was in isolation in Kingaroy is now fully recovered.]


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