THERE is no doubt that the spectre of CORONA Virus is shadowing our community with a person being testing positive having spent a significant amount of time at Salamander Bay Shopping Centre.
The 60 year old is now in home isolation.
There have also been confirmed positive tests within the Tomaree Public School as well as at an Anna Bay kindergarten.
This has prompted calls for all people who attended the centre on July 15 to get tested.
Hunter New England Health’s Dr David Durrheim spoke extensively with News Of The Area on Wednesday about COVID-19, he said, “Older people are certainly more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“We all need to make sure that we take meticulous care, wearing a mask does not replace 1.5 metre distancing from others, hand hygiene, not shaking hands and not touching things.”
While elderly are vulnerable, so too are others with underlying conditions, the young are not immune to this virus.
“If we are entering crowded places and we are concerned that we aren’t going to be able to social distance, masks add additional protection.”
Dr Durrheim also stressed the importance of a mask being correctly fitted and the need for good hygiene throughout wearing the mask and after removing the mask, we must also engage in thorough hand washing, as any germs that the mask has protected us from will be on the surface of the mask.
Dr Durrheim also asked that residents of Port Stephens not to travel to Sydney unless it is for essential travel.
He asks that we all “Take precautions as none of us want to be the reason the virus is reintroduced to the community.”
At the time of the interview Dr Durrhiem stated that Port Stephens is not a hot spot, however increased testing is now available and he stressed the importance that for those needing a test, isolation is a part of the process.
The process, and an area identified as a weak link in the second wave that Victoria is experiencing, is a failure of those with symptoms or who have potentially being exposed failing to isolate prior to testing and to isolate until you receive your results.
It is not appropriate to be shopping or even outside exercising if you are in need of a test or waiting for test results – in these circumstances you need to be isolating at home.
To get tested it is ideal to get a referral from your GP first or you can book into the pop-up clinic at Tomaree Community Hospital by calling 4964 7497.
Leah Anderson President of the Tomaree Business Chamber said, “It is essential that anybody who visited the Salamander Shopping Centre on the 15th July, follow the advice from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant to monitor for symptoms and get tested at the local clinic.
“Everybody should continue to remember to “Do the 3″, Wash Hands, Physical Distance, and have the App on their smartphone.
“Even the slightest of Symptoms, get tested, and self-isolate.
“Essential workers at our local shops and medical centres are doing their absolute best to follow guidelines and take precautions.
“We have heard stories of staff being abused, and this is just not right. We are all in this together. Be kind, Be safe and take care of each other,” she said.
Community concern is rife – now is the time to engage in anti-COVID-19 protocols, strict social distancing, use the App and use positive hand hygiene, avoid crowded places, if you are vulnerable, isolate as much as possible.
By Marian SAMPSON