Firstly, we’ve just received the latest official communication from Local District Health which advises that there are now 38 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the Central Coast.
Today we’ll provide some updates from Local District Health here on the Central Coast, we’ll update on recent Centrelink registration challenges, we’ll share with you a short recording from Parliament House in Canberra from the Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks and, finally, we’ll walk through the most recent announcements from both State and Federal Government.
there are now 38 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the Central Coast.
This represents a doubling of cases in the last 48 hours and includes:
- 31 overseas acquired
- 6 close contacts of confirmed cases
- 1 unknown source
Of these cases, 5 have recovered and are no longer in isolation.
All other cases are at home in isolation (no current hospital cases).
Now it’s important to bear in mind that while the number of cases is accelerating, the number of test being taken is also accelerating and so this pattern is not as alarming as it might first seem.
We’ve just now received advice from local health that they are implementing changes to non-urgent surgeries and outpatient clinic appointments in response to COVID-19.
- prioritising surgery cases to enhance intensive care capacity; and
- Conducting outpatient clinic appointments over the phone or video where possible to reduce close contact.
Some surgeries will be postponed as clinicians prioritise cases based on each patient’s needs.
Chief Executive Dr Andrew Montague stressed that there would be no impact to emergency and trauma patients, as well as urgent surgery cases.
Medical staff will communicate directly with affected patients about rescheduling where necessary.
The full release from Local Health is available on our website.
Across NSW more broadly, 212 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in in the 24 hours to 8:00pm last night, bringing the state total to 1,029.
Two of these new cases were children under the age of 10 – bear in mind that’s less than 1 per cent of all new cases.
Dr Chant said many of the new infections were actually linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship which was allowed to dock in Sydney last week
Once again, it is important to keep in mind there have now been well over 67,000 other cases tested and cleared in NSW.
OK, earlier this week, David Abrahams spoke to Robertson MP Lucy Wicks who is in Canberra for the current sitting of Parliament.
Ross, Lucy has been participating this week in the National Cabinet of Premiers and Senior Ministers set up to co-ordinate the national response to the virus across all States.
She took a few moments out to record this message for her constituents here on the Coast:
Notwithstanding the relief for small businesses, many people are facing financial hardship here on the Coast, which has a high proportion of small businesses and workers in the retail and hospitality sector, many of whom have already been laid off.
We learnt this morning that the Centrelink IT system buckled for the third time in three days due to the surge in demand.
I took this photo from the Centrelink office in Gosford where some people had lined up for hours.
One of the big challenges for these people is getting a Centrelink Identity number, without which, you can’t currently login to the system to set up payments.
Back to you Ross
Thanks David, and while we are on the subject of Federal Government measures, a number of new restrictions announced by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, took effect earlier today.
These come in addition to the earlier announcement of the closure of all pubs, clubs restaurants, food courts and other public meeting venues.
The new protocols included:
- A recommendation that all people stay at home unless they need to do otherwise
- A ban on all overseas travel
- A ban on real estate auctions and inspections
- They included a ban on all guests at weddings; and sadly
- A limit of 10 mourners at funerals
Perhaps just as sadly, there is also now a ban on extended family barbeques and other gatherings.
New State Government Measures
NSW Premier Berejiklian has said all these measures will be enforced in NSW
In addition, earlier today, the Premier announced the passage through State Parliament of a set of 20 new emergency measures to ensure authorities can appropriately respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast said the measures were necessary for government and business practices to change to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.
The measures include, among other things:
- New powers for police to enforce public health orders
- More flexibility for NSW Health to utilise private health facilities
- Reducing physical court appearances and allowing the conditional release of some, low-risk offenders from prisons; and, one that might raise a few eyebrows …
- Changes to planning laws to ensure developments that protect community health, welfare and safety can proceed without normal approvals
Finally, just a few further updates:
- Firstly, Newcastle University Ourimbah campus remains open but subject to all State and Federal Government protocols on non-essential travel, hygiene and social distancing
- All TAFE campuses, that’s Gosford Wyong and Ourimbah remain open under the same protocols to provide support services but have paused all training and educational delivery, starting March 30; and finally
- The Central Coast Community college has suspended all physical meetings.
That’s all for our bulletin today.
Remember if you would like us to make any important community announcements please email us at:
And see our website for rolling updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation here on the Central Coast.
Thanks and stay well.
Primary Sources: Lucy Wicks Mp, Media Interview March 23, 2020. CCHD Media Release & NSW Government Media Release 25 March, 2020.