Four confirmed cases in Southern Riverina

By Daniel Hughes

Coronavirus has reached the Southern Riverina and is spreading.

The first and so far only positive case for Berrigan Shire was confirmed Monday, contributing to a total number of cases for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District of 35 by yesterday.

A third positive in neighbouring Murrumbidgee Council — which includes the townships of Jerilderie, Darlington Point and Coleambally — was also confirmed on Monday.

The first two Murrumbidgee Council cases were confirmed in the council area on Sunday.

In neighbouring Moira Shire, there are now six confirmed cases of Coronavirus, up from only one last week.

MLHD is refusing to reveal specific details about the local cases, including the communities in which those who tested positive live.

Their ages and genders are also not being revealed for privacy reasons.

Local mayors were not able to shed any light on which communities are directly impacted.

Berrigan Shire Mayor Matt Hannan said the local testing positive has the support of the community.

He said it was also a timely reminder to follow the ‘‘simple message’’ from the health experts, and to follow government directives intended to limit the spread of the virus.

‘‘It’s a timely reminder that the Berrigan Shire isn’t immune to COVID-19 pandemic that’s going on nationally and worldwide,’’ Cr Hannan said.

‘‘It is so important we adhere to what experts are saying. If you don’t need to go outside, don't.

‘‘The message we need to follow is simple, and as long as we keep safe, don’t travel unnecessarily and continue to self-distance we can slow down the spread to our community.’’

Murrumbidgee Mayor Ruth McRae said following the rules and regulations is the only way to slow, and potentially stop, the spread.

‘‘It’s simple; people need to wash their hands, stop shaking hands, and socially, you need to stay at home,’’ Cr McRae said.

‘‘While our three confirmed cases is concerning, all of the information available tells us that if we are to have any chance of containing it, the community is responsible.

‘‘If you are unwell, contact the hotline and do not go outside.

‘‘Deniliquin has opened a testing clinic which is a lot closer than Wagga, and you need to seek assistance as locally as you can.’’

Cr McRae said the important thing to remember is it’s not only you that will be impacted by your actions during this pandemic.

‘‘Life is still going on around us,’’ she said.

‘‘There are still people receiving treatment for other illnesses that we need to respect and be mindful of.

‘‘Follow the basic tips and avoid vulnerable people.

‘We know by now that the elderly are more susceptible to the virus and should respect this in our surroundings.

‘‘We will have to do the hard yards now, so we can overcome it later.’’

MLHD’s other positive cases of Coronavirus are located in Albury City local government area (6), Cootamundra-Gundagai (1), Federation (6), Greater Hume (2), Griffith City (3), Snow Valleys Shire (1) and Wagga Wagga City (9), Narrandera Shire (1).

The majority of the cases notified were diagnosed after travelling overseas, or being in contact with a confirmed case, MLHD has confirmed.

‘‘Patients who have experienced mild to moderate symptoms are in self-isolation to ensure they do not transmit the virus,’’ an MLHD spokesperson said.

‘‘They are being managed at home with the support of their GP and a daily check up with local health services. There are currently three cases who are more unwell and have been admitted to an appropriate local hospital.’’

MLHD is encouraging anyone who believes they have may have contracted the COVID-19 virus to:

● Call the free-call Coronavirus hotline on 1800022222;
● Contact your local GP; or 
● Call the Murrumbidgee COVID-19 Hotline on 1800831099.

NSW Government is also attempting to provide financial support for those who may be affected by the virus or are in need of medical assistance.

It announced a $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus package to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak last week.

NSW Health will receive $700 million to assist in doubling ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment, establishing acute respiratory clinics and bringing forward elective surgeries to private hospitals.