Bourke urged to prepare for COVID


Officer-in-Charge, Bourke Police, Detective Inspector Jeff Little. Photo TWH

As NSW grapples with a worsening rate of COVID infections, the Bourke community has been put on notice that it is equally at risk of an outbreak.

Poor testing and vaccination rates have raised concerns with police and health officials, who are urging residents to take extreme care by getting vaccinated, getting tested, practising social distancing, hand hygiene and following public health orders.

Officer in Charge of Bourke Police, Detective Inspector Jeff Little, said the number of infections in NSW were likely to be well into triple figures and he feared it was a case of ‘when not if’ the virus arrived in the Bourke Shire.

“Bourke and all places in the local government area are of concern for us because we have a high proportion of vulnerable people, so we need to care for them and the entire community,” he said.

“The persistent messaging surrounding hygiene and social distancing for the most part people take seriously, but there are some who think it’s a joke - until it gets them.

“When we had some COVID particles in the sewage a great job was done by NSW Health to set up the testing site at Davidson Oval, but the uptake was very poor.

“In a community of 2600, only 135 people turned up over four days of testing. There was also poor participation in the vaccination clinic.

“I know there are some fears around the vaccine but all I can say is - please consider the real issues versus the perceived dangers and speak to your GP.

“It is not a matter of if, but when it will infiltrate Bourke. It would only take one case to tear through the community and that’s why we should get vaccinated, wear the masks, and follow all the health advice on hygiene and social distancing.

“It is a pandemic, and it will spread quickly, and we have so many different virus strains morphing into other strains.

“We have had a lot less flu because people are more conscious of hygiene so if we can do that with flu then we can with COVID.

“We don’t want to give this virus a place to live in Bourke,” Inspector Little said.