Confirmed local COVID-19 cases published after push from minister
FROM Thursday, March 26, the community will have more access to information relating to the spread of COVID-19 in their local area, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has said, following news that NSW Health will publish daily updates of confirmed cases of the virus in each local government area across the State.
On Wednesday, Mr Marshall took aim at Hunter New England Health for keeping the public in the dark about confirmed coronavirus cases in the region, requesting localised information, instead of just the number of cases across the health district – an area of more than 130,000 square kilometres, from Newcastle to Mungindi.
Mr Marshall said today’s announcement was an important step towards trying to limit the spread of the deadly virus and reducing anxiety, panic and rumourmongering in the community.
“For the last two weeks communities across the Northern Tablelands have been kept in the dark by Hunter New England Health, which didn’t trust the public with this information,” Mr Marshall said.
“I’m pleased to announce that ends today, with NSW Health to provide a map on its public COVID-19 website, which includes every local government area in the state and the number of confirmed cases in each of those areas.
“This means finally we all have access to one, trusted, accurate source of information they can go to, which will hopefully eliminate the unhelpful rumour-mongering which is taking place on social media.
“Until now it has been absolutely inexcusable that the public and even emergency services like NSW Police, who have been vital in the fight against COVID-19, have been denied the information they need from the HNE Health to keep the community safe.
“The health risk COVID-19 poses to the community is severe and I would hope, with this map available, those who were not previously taking social distancing or hygiene measures seriously will now do so, because they can see threat is real and it is here.”
Mr Marshall said the website would display two maps and data sets on a local government area basis – overall confirmed cases and those which has been locally acquired, that is, from a domestic, rather than an international source.
“You really cannot ask for much better than that,” he said.
“We have quite detailed information at our finger tips and it’s being updated every 24 hours.
“Hunter New England Health’s information vacuum has been bypassed and the details will come direct from NSW Health to us all, which is exactly what we asked for in the first place.
“I’m very pleased for our communities.”
Mr Marshall added from today NSW Police also have new penalties which they will enforce to ensure people adhere to social distancing restrictions.
“I can guarantee police will not hesitated to smack an on-the-spot fine of $1,000 on and individual, or $5,000 on a business which continues to flout the social distancing rules which are in place.
“COVID-10 is not something which is on our doorstep, it is here in our region. We now have four confirmed cases, two in Inverell and two in Emmaville, and so it is imperative people obey the new restrictions and new orders.
“I want to thank all of our front line staff, doctors, nurses, ambulance and police, who are working tirelessly to protect our communities during this very difficult time.”
The new information will be uploaded within the next two hours and available on NSW Health’s website at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-latest.aspx
Media Release: March 26, 2020