The state reported three deaths and 830 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. 36 of those cases were recorded in Western NSW, taking the current cases in the region to 253. Most of these are in and around Dubbo, but the Bathurst number is slowly increasing.
There are now 6 confirmed COVID cases in Bathurst. Despite sewerage testing showing signs of COVID last week, there are no confirmed cases in Lithgow at this stage.
Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole MP, has updated the community amid concerns that exposure sites were not being communicated.
“I can confirm following discussions with Health that close contacts at all venues have been contacted directly (remembering in many cases, entry to these premises is tightly controlled and monitored) and that no other community exposures have been identified by the teams interviewing the six cases,” said Minister Toole
“I know people are curious and keen to ensure they are across the details and protecting their family but please know should further community exposure sites be identified, Health will let you know as soon as possible,” said Minister Toole.
HOSPITAL PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY AS COVID-19 CASES IN BATHURST INCREASE
As part of its Covid-19 response the Western NSW Local Health District will temporarily convert the Panorama Clinic at Bathurst Base Hospital to function as an extension of the emergency department.
Chief Executive of the Western NSW Local Health District, Scott McLachlan, said the repurposing would commence on Monday with the transition process expected to take 2 days.
“We now have six known cases of Covid-19 in the Bathurst area, and we have seen in Sydney and in Dubbo how quickly that can multiply.
“I can’t stress this strongly enough – this represents a serious risk to people in Bathurst and both the community and the health service have to respond accordingly.
“We’ve had plans in place for months about how to escalate our response as the risk from Covid-19 increases, and these changes at Bathurst Base are part of that.
“Utilising the Panorama Clinic footprint enables us to operate the emergency department in ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ zones, keep patients that may present a Covid-19 risk separate from other patients,” Mr McLachlan said.
The Panorama Clinic is a sub-acute mental health service. The majority of people currently in the service will be transferred to a ‘hospital in the home’ model. This involves mental health staff providing care to each person in their own home using telehealth or, when needed, in person using Covid-safe measures.“
“We successfully activated this measure at the start of the pandemic, returning Panorama to its usual operation as soon as that was possible. That’s what will happen again down the track when this threat is over.”.
Mr McLachlan said that the best way the Bathurst community could respond at this time was to get tested and follow the stay at home orders to the letter.
“Test, test, test – that has to be a focus. We have to find out if this has reached any further into the community. Don’t play a numbers game and think ‘it’s only 6 people’. Don’t get fixated on the locations where known cases have been. Assume everyone has Covid-19 and let that motivate how you behave.
“If you don’t have to leave your house for something essential – including testing and getting vaccinated – stay at home. Make sure your kids stay at home. Check in on friends or relatives over the phone or online – but don’t pop over for a cup of tea or a beer.
“Everyone thinks that one little action isn’t going to make a difference, but trust me, it can. Don’t risk it.”
Mr McLachlan said that testing at Mount Panorama had been rapidly expanded.
“If you can possibly go to the Mount for the drive through testing, please go there. Testing is available at the hospital (in the Heritage building) but please leave it as free as possible to take care of people who can’t get to Mount Panorama.
“If you have to wait to be tested, if you have to wait to get your results back, please be patient but don’t let it put you off being tested.”