No more new cases in the Southern Highlands! Just one recognised case in our population of 45,000 - over five weeks ago.
The nearest new cases are in 2571 (Picton, Couridjah, Wilton, Razorback, Mowbray Park, Maldon, Balmoral, Buxton) - but none since July 19 at the time of the Cross Roads break out. It is good that the panic is settling - but need to remember that the risk has not passed.
Local doctors are worried that Highlands residents and particularly Highlands weekend visitors are still too relaxed - given what is happening in Victoria and in some parts of Sydney.
It seems hard to get the "social settings" just right - in an infection risk environment that keeps changing.
Younger adults in particular seem to more often ignoring the recommended safety measures - despite the statistics that show that 25 percent of infections in NSW are in the under 30 age group, 43 percent are in the 30-60 age group and 31 percent are over 60.
There is increasing evidence that young people and especially young adults are the major source of transmission - though the majority of severe infections and deaths are in older people.
But we have had a visitor with Covid!
NSW Health on Sunday announced that a person, later diagnosed with COVID-19, had visited Horderns Restaurant at Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa, Bowral, on Sunday, August 2 between 7.45pm and 9.15pm.
The restaurant was cleaned and all staff tested (negative!!) and it remains open for business. It is considered possible that the visitor may have actually contracted Covid after his trip to Bowral and certainly no cases have been identified as a result 16 days later.
Nonetheless, this is a good reminder that we need to maintain our safe practices and be vigilant.
The rumour mill remains a concern. A couple of weeks ago, the NSW Health (mistakenly, it turns out) showed an active case on its hotspot map - attributed to "Alpine, Aylmerton, Balaclava" - and social media went mad: "who is it? Where do they live in these villages? How dare they bring Covid down to our area?".
In fact, "Alpine, Aylmerton, Balaclava" were the first three suburb/villages alphabetically in the 2575 postcode: "Alpine, Aylmerton, Balaclava, Braemar, Bullio, Colo Vale, Goodmans Ford, High Range, Hill Top, Joadja, Mandemar, Mittagong, Mount Lindsey, Renwick, Wattle Ridge, Welby, Willow Vale, Woodlands, Yerrinbool". Jumping to conclusions seems to be an integral part of Covid.
The big topic this week remains whether to mask or not to mask.
Masks are mandated in both hospitals and staff in nursing homes (virtually no relatives are being allowed into nursing homes by a government order).
The evidence so far suggests that we are relatively unlikely to contract COVID-19 in an outdoor environment - where we physically distance from one another.
If we are indoors and close to one another - that is the major risk - see that most of our recent NSW hotspots were at pubs, clubs, restaurants, churches, funerals and gyms. So our recommendations are to wear masks when indoor close to other people - shopping, going to the doctor, hairdresser, public transport etc.
Take home thought for the week: There is very little flu or cold virus about. If you have any symptoms at all - it is more likely to be Covid - so get tested!
So what should we do? Really simple really!!
For the general population, our advice is:
If you have any symptoms (fever, dry cough, unexplained tiredness, aches and pains, diarrhoea, sore throat, conjunctivitis, gut symptoms, a loss of taste or smell), please get tested at the Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic or the General Practice Respiratory Clinic at Mittagong.
If you are in a shop, bar, coffee shop or restaurant where physical distancing is not happening - speak up, as the standard you walk past is the standard you accept - or leave the place. The economic and social recovery is not worth dying for. And when you are in a bar/restaurant or coffee shop - please fill in the log to register your presence (truthfully please - I logged into a coffee shop just after "Scott Morrison" last week)
The Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic continues to operate seven days a week out of the hospital's outpatient department. This is planned to continue for several more months.
Hours of Business:
People do not require a referral from their GP to attend the BDH Flu Assessment Clinic. The direct phone number for the flu clinic is 4861 0145 and enquiries will be answered during hours of operation only.
If you have any respiratory symptoms - even if you think it is just a cold - please get tested.
You need to ring the clinic on 4861 0145 to organise your time to come to the clinic. Results are available about 24-48 hours after testing.
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