Fleurieu communities at great risk from COVID-19 outbreak

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is concerned for the elderly with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is concerned for the elderly with the outbreak of COVID-19.

Victor Harbor and the wider region is regarded as a potential hotspot for Coronavirus (COVID-19) risks, due to the large percentage of elderly who live in the community.

At the 2016, Census, Goolwa and Victor Harbor's median age was around 60 years and residents aged 65 years and over made up around 40 per cent of the population.

More than 10 per cent of Victor Harbor's residents are aged over 80.

Goolwa/Port Elliot and Victor Harbor have the highest proportion of over 50s in the state, with 61.5 per cent and 59.8 per cent of the population respectively.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said elderly residents aged 65 years and over made up more than 22 per cent of the population in the electorate of Mayo.

Ms Sharkie urged South Australians to heed the call from authorities to end unnecessary travel, particularly to the south coast where the population has the highest median age in SA and is considered one of the localities at highest risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We know from the tragedy unfolding overseas that people over the age of 80 and those with underlying health conditions tend to be the most vulnerable to Coronavirus. Just over 10 per cent of Victor Harbor's residents are aged 80 or over and in Goolwa the percentage is even higher.

"The electorate has the oldest median age (46 years) in the state and the sixth oldest in Australia. With the electoral boundary realignment at the 2019 election we are now eighth. In the coming weeks and months we need to exercise common sense, go about our daily lives as much as possible while also doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities."

Ms Sharkie said the government's response is acting on the advice from Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy and the states are acting on the advice of their medical officers.

"The reality is, the vast majority of people who contract the COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms," Ms Sharkie said.

"The personal hygiene and social distancing advice is about slowing down the spread of infection so our medical resources can cope with treating those vulnerable groups, who include our elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

"I would also like to encourage our community to look out for those who are vulnerable. Pick up the phone and check on neighbours, family and friends who might be feeling socially isolated."

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins.

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins.

City of Victor Harbor mayor Moira Jenkins was well aware of the age demographic in the community she leads.

"We have an extremely vulnerable community and our Council Community Support Team is looking at expanding its services to provide greater support to those residents who require it," Dr Jenkins said.

"We will be utilising staff from the Visitor Information Centre, the Library and Whale Centre to provide extra services for our most vulnerable.

"These could include shopping, help navigate online services and just checking to see if they are alright and provide any support that is needed.

"Our Southern Community Transport Scheme will continue and drivers will be council staff members and volunteers under 70 with one passenger per car, taking clients to medical appointments."

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