Here are the latest updates about the COVID-19 outbreak on the Mid North and Coffs Coast with essential information and contacts.
Health authorities in NSW have confirmed seven new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total to 2,870.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “encouraged” by the low number.
Numbers stable across Mid North and Coffs Coast.
Higher education relief package and rental assistance package announced.
CSU says higher education relief package “not enough”
According to the Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, the international student market is unlikely to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Andrew Vann said the Federal Government’s higher education relief package will not be enough to offset university losses from the expected downturn in international enrolments.
The package includes 20,000 places in short courses to domestic students, which the Government said will offset university losses from a reduction in international students and allow greater flexibility.
Professor Vann said it’s not enough.
“We think that we will actually get less revenue for students than we otherwise would have done, which could be a problem,” he said.
“We’re just going to have to work through the details with the government on that.
“But certainly we don’t think that’s going to be enough to offset the losses from international student revenue.”
He hoped there would be an increase in the intake of domestic students coming out of high school and those wanting to up-skill.
“Traditionally when recessions come, actually people tend to go back to higher education and so we’re hoping that there will be a positive impact from a slowdown in the economy and that will be a bit of a silver lining in this,” he said.
More clarity called for in rental assistance package
A Port Macquarie real estate agent said the State Government’s rental assistance package is a start, but more clarity is needed for both tenants and landlords.
The $440 million in relief measures is aimed at keeping people in rentals over the next six months.
It includes a moratorium on evictions and waiving land tax for landlords who are accommodating tenants in financial hardship.
But David Gray said the details are unclear.
“With what we are seeing now there is going to be a lot of help out there for everyone which is fantastic,” Mr Gray said.
“But exactly how that is going to come through – there still seems like there needs to be a lot of communication between the landlord or the agent and the tenant themselves.”
The chair of the Housing Matters Action Group, Kerry Pearse, said the package needs to provide more support to tenants when making new arrangements with landlords during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Usually tenants don’t feel that they have the same level of authority in the relationship,” she said.
“It would be really helpful if there was a way that those negotiations could be supported to try and get the best outcome.”
There’s been no increase in numbers of COVID-19 cases since our update yesterday.
As of 8pm on Sunday, 12 April, there are 39 cases of COVID-19 in the MidCoast local government area, 27 in Port Macquarie-Hastings, 14 in Coffs Harbour, eight in the Clarence Valley, and between one and four cases in the Nambucca, Kempsey and Bellingen council areas.
Of those, the source of infection for five is not known in the MidCoast area, with the source of infection for between one to four is not known in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Coffs Harbour City Council areas.
The Manning remains one of the areas that’s of focus for testing.
“That’s because in those areas we have diagnosed identified cases of COVID-19 where there aren’t clear links to clusters and so we want to assure ourselves there is not broader community transmission occurring in those areas,” the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
Local COVID-19 Clinics
Coffs Harbour Health Campus COVID-19 Clinic
10am to 2pm – 7 days per week
Access the clinic via the Emergency Department entrance (turn right at main roundabout) and park in ED carpark. Walk past ED entrance and look for demountable buildings. They are sign posted.
Kempsey Health Campus COVID-19 Clinic
8am to 12 noon weekdays
Go to the front of the Emergency Department.
Port Macquarie Health Campus COVID-19 Clinic
via the Emergency Department
10am to 4pm weekdays
10am to 2pm – Saturday and Sunday
Go to the Port Macquarie Base Hospital Emergency Department and staff will assist you upon arrival.
Bellingen COVID Clinic
Local doctors and nurses are providing a COVID-19 testing clinic for Bellingen Shire residents.
12-23 Watson St Bellingen
Noon – 2pm
Manning Hospital – Taree
26 York Street, Taree, NSW 2430
8am-4pm, 7 Days
Need to be phone screened first, call 65929850
COVID-19 (coronavirus) Assessment Clinic Hotline
Assessment Clinic Hotline 1300 001 956
Hours of operation: 9am – 4pm weekdays
Criteria for COVID-19 Assessment
A person with flu-like symptoms of cough, sore throat AND/OR fever.
Dentists have suspended routine care, but urgent dental treatment is still available.
NSW schools remain open until the end of term – and are expected to open again after the holidays. However, you’re encouraged to keep your children home.
No child will be turned away from school.
Supermarkets and pharmacies can now open around the clock in NSW to meet demand.
Supermarkets are continuing to limit sales on a number of household items.
The major supermarkets are also offering dedicated times for shopping by seniors and carers only – check with individual stores for details.
People breaking social distancing guidelines can be fined by NSW Police and may face jail time.
The penalties extend to people found not following self-isolation rules.
There’ll be increased police patrols in the community – and random checks based on tipoffs through the Crime Stoppers hotline.
Transport and travel
Non-essential travel includes caravans and motorhomes, and many caravan parks and campsites are closed.
Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania have border controls in place.
Any non-essential travellers entering these states will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Where you can get help and support
The organisations listed below are some of the places you can contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. This list will be updated as the situation changes.
Coffs Harbour City Council – www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au
Clarence Valley Council – www.clarence.nsw.gov.au
Bellingen Shire Council – www.bellingen.nsw.gov.au
Important coronavirus information from the Department of Health
Official advice to help slow the spread of the virus and to reduce the risk of infection:
➡️ Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and thoroughly; this means for at least 20 seconds
➡️ Cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a clean tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin
➡️ Stay 1.5 metres away from others. If you are sick, stay home
➡️ If you’re feeling sick or showing symptoms of coronavirus, you should call your GP for advice — they will tell you if you need to get tested
➡️ For more information and tips to help improve your safety and wellbeing, visit the Federal Government’s official advice website
➡️ You can also get up-to-date information on the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government’s WhatsApp channel.
ABC Coffs Coast
Posted Mon 6 Apr