I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.
I know we’re feeling a bit sick of hearing about COVID. I wanted to share with you some tips to keep yourself mentally well during these times – that have helped me, my family, and my team.
Choose what you need to know – don’t spend your day endlessly watching news and scrolling social media pages. Check in once a day with trusted contacts and keep doing what keeps you safe.
Don’t get caught up in negativity. We’re tough. We get through droughts and floods and plagues. We’ve bounced back before; we will do it again.
If you have symptoms get a test. Vaccinations are available and pop-up clinics are coming to your town soon. Talk to your GP and make a vaccination plan. Be patient.
Think the best of people, not the worst. Some are not doing the right thing, but they are the minority. Most of us are doing all we can. Trying to change what isn’t in your control will drain your energy. Focus on what’s within your control.
If you need assistance, please reach out. We can put you in contact with the right services and answer your questions.
Look after yourself and each other.
I have been contacted by people who want to know what I am doing about getting us out of lockdown or changing rules to get us more freedom.
I have supported lockdown, and I have kept people up to date on the rules. While I do not agree with every decision, and I will not stand by and allow restrictions to remain any longer than necessary. But there are some real reasons why we need to do what is being asked.
In Barwon, we don’t have widespread medical coverage. We don’t have a health system that can support people who need high level care. We all know someone who has been medically evacuated to a bigger town. Our system can only deal with several evacuations per day, but there’s a limit.
These problems aren’t new, and they’re not COVID-specific. Since 2019, I have raised issues with our health system. I continue to advocate for more doctors, paramedics, and nurses in the bush, and increased aeromedical capacity. The Regional Health Care Inquiry is ongoing and all these issues will be addressed, but the system can’t be improved overnight to deal with widespread COVID cases.
Covid case numbers
In the last week we have had positive cases of COVID in our towns and COVID sewage detections in a few more. The numbers are reported, but there is confusion about the where, when, and how many. This confusion is compounded by the NSW COVID-19 website reporting cases in locations where there are no positive cases. This is occurring mainly due to people not updating their address, and Western NSW being reported as a big block at the daily press conference.
Everyone should be acting as if COVID is in your community whether it is on the daily list or not. COVID is no longer a Sydney problem. It’s not localised to a handful of LGAs. It is real, and it is in our towns right now. I publish daily COVID updates from NSW Health, Police and the Local Health Districts, on my social media sites.
Testing wait times?
I have spoken to the Health Minister about how long it’s taking to get COVID test results.
Across Barwon we have people waiting for over a week for results. That’s a week they haven’t been able to work and earn money to support their family – when they are doing what’s being asked of them – getting tested and staying at home to wait for a result. All for the safety of their community.
I have been told that pathology labs were overwhelmed by test number. The Local Health Districts and NSW Health are putting more resources towards testing which will hopefully translate into people receiving their results within a reasonable time. I have been asked to pass on the following numbersfor results:
NSW Health 1300 066 055
Laverty 13 39 36
Histopath 9878 8173.
I have been contacted regarding access to tips. Many don’t have kerbside collection of waste. Our only way of disposing of rubbish is to load up the ute or trailer, and drive to the tip. This has happened because the Environmental Protection Agency has said that tips must be closed. I contacted the Minister, and I don’t know who thought people could stockpile waste for weeks? While my kids are older now, I won’t forget what a week of warm days did to a bag of nappies and food waste. We also don’t need a food source for mice as days warm up. I expect this will be resolved soon.