Kangaroo Island Council reschedules meeting, gets COVID-19 coronavirus update

The COVID-19 testing clinic at the Kangaroo Island Hospital.
The COVID-19 testing clinic at the Kangaroo Island Hospital.

Calls for great travel restrictions to Kangaroo Island continue with a sighting of a camper van on the SeaLink ferry on Tuesday night creating alarm among locals.

Locals are concerned an influx of non-essential travellers could be coming to the Island in days and weeks ahead, further spreading the disease and straining local services.

The Kangaroo Island Council yesterday was unable to pass any motion on its coronavirus response because of the need to social distance.

Councillors will meet again at 11.30am tomorrow, Thursday, April 2 to authorise themselves to make decisions over the phone.

And then at 4pm they will discuss the council's coronavirus response, both of which The Islander hopes to live stream on its Facebook page.

A petition calling for formal restrictions started by former mayor Peter Clements on the Change.org platform now has more than 3000 signatures.

Councillors did get together for a phone hook up on Tuesday, March 31 but were told they were required to formally pass a motion allowing them to meet and make decisions by phone.

The council did receive a one-hour briefing from the deputy chief public health officer about the State's efforts to combat the disease.

Mayor Michael Pengilly said the health officer made it quite clear the only person under the emergency management orders with authority to close areas was the police commissioner.

South Australia was not yet enforcing the more strict two-person social isolation regulations recommended by the Federal Government and Commonwealth health officials.

Mr Pengilly said he understood that SeaLink had contacted all non-local bookings, asking them to change them. The ferry service is also not taking online bookings accommodation inquiries, he said.

"Whilst everyone seems to blame SeaLink and myself they fail to remember there are two airlines, cruising yachts and several private planes operating," he said.

State Member Leon Bignell posted a photo of the camper van on the SeaLink ferry, calling for immediate action from Premier Steven Marshall and the State Government.

The photo was originally posted by a local, who said the ferry staff told her the camper belonged to tourists.

There are also unverified reports of campers at the Vivonne Bay campground.

"Premier Steven Marshall will you please listen to the people of Kangaroo Island and immediately introduce a travel ban to the island for all non-residents including people who own holiday houses on the island," he posted.

"This picture of tourists in their camper van was taken on tonight's 6pm ferry.

"The doctors of the island, businesses, the general public and the island's political leaders have been calling for a ban for more than a week.

"You say tourists shouldn't go but they are not listening to you. Close this down now. Our Island is not equipped to deal with coronavirus and you are putting our elderly and our vulnerable people at risk.

"The virus doesn't travel. People travel and they take the virus with them. Please learn from the UK and Italy.

"Order the ferries and airlines to stop taking people on and off the island unless they have a valid reason.

"If the virus reaches the island you will be held responsible because you have deliberately ignored the wishes of islanders for more than a week."

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud in an interview on the ABC's Radio National program spoke about concerns rural and remote areas were already seeing an influx of visitors due to COVID-19.

He said locals in his Queensland electorate were comparing grey nomad caravans to corona-infested cruise ships.

"We'll look as we see, and in fact we saw a surge of caravaners from southern states and also from South East Queensland out into my own electorate in the outback of Queensland to try and escape COVID-19," he told the ABC

"They've got to appreciate that there are finite resources - health resources - in these small communities. And they're not just putting themselves at risk they're actually putting these little communities at risk.

"And it's not us being selfish here in the west, it's understanding that we don't expect to have huge medical facilities, but the ones that are here are designed to support the small communities that are here.

"And when you have significant influx of thousands of people it puts everyone at risk when, particularly state officials have been very clear about this - you need to stay home, you can't be selfish about this.

"Otherwise these caravans could turn into the cruise ships of the outback and put a lot of Australians at risk and shut down these little towns."

SA Health is now putting out a daily SA COVID-19 Health Message that we think you will find helpful. Concerning is the fact SA now has eight patients in ICU, five of which are critical.

Here is yesterday's message:

There have been 337 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia. 103 of these cases have been linked to travel on cruise ships, 74 specifically from the Ruby Princess.

SA Health has confirmed THREE cases of COVD-19 are the result of community transmission.

There have been 27,500 COVID-19 laboratory tests conducted by SA Pathology.

SA Health has confirmed EIGHT patients with COVID-19 are being treated in Intensive Care Units, FIVE of which are in a critical condition and THREE are in a stable condition.

There are 38 testing clinics across South Australia, with 32 of those based in regional locations. 9,000 tests have been conducted through these testing clinics.

Where there has been public exposure, tracing of the patients movements is taking place. South Australians at high risk of exposure are being identified and contacted by SA Health with information and advice.

FOR PUBLIC ACTION

Barossa Valley

A number of linked COVID-19 cases have been identified in people who live in or have travelled through Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Williamstown, Angaston and Lyndoch, in the Barossa Valley, since Saturday, March 14 2020. Travel in or out of these towns should be significantly limited.

SA Health is requesting people within these locations to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and if symptoms develop, to access testing. A drive through testing site has been established at Tanunda War Memorial Hospital.

People are encouraged to work from home where possible. When not working, people are encouraged to stay at home.

Where working from home is not possible, people working in or around the affected towns (including those in the wine industry) must maintain social distancing, including whilst at work.

For those with school aged children, the Education Department has closed schools within the defined area in the Barossa Valley based on health advice, from 30 March 2020 until further notice. Select Out-of-School-Hours-Care (OSCH) services will be available for parents working in essential services. To find out more, visit the SA Education Department website.

People over 70 years, or those 60 years and over with chronic health issues, are more vulnerable to severe illness. They are reminded to monitor symptoms and encouraged to self-isolate if personal circumstances permit, and seek testing if symptoms develop.

SA Health is continuing to monitor this situation and work to identify and quarantine people who may have been exposed. Identified people will be contacted as soon as possible. It is important to continue to implement social distancing.

Please check the SA Health website or contact the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 for more information.

Adelaide Airport

A number of linked COVID-19 cases have been identified today in personnel that work in the Qantas Baggage Handling area at the Adelaide Airport. SA Health is working with Qantas to identify a number of staff that will need to be quarantined.

SA Heath's Communicable Disease Control Branch is also working with Qantas in relation to risk mitigation and the deep cleaning requirements to the areas that need to be cleaned. There are no concerns for other areas of Adelaide Airport.

Please check the SA Health website or contact the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 for more information.

DIRECTIONS

South Australians must take action now to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection.

If you have returned from overseas on or after 16 March 2020 or interstate on or after 22 March 2020, you must quarantine yourself for 14 days.

As of midnight on 28 March 2020, all new arrivals into Australia will be quarantined in their port of arrival in supervised accommodation to ensure compliance.

Effective from midnight 30 March 2020, cellar doors and wineries across South Australia will be closed and the sampling of food or beverages will be prohibited across any commercial premises.

Unnecessary travel across South Australia is discouraged in an effort to limit the spread. This is the year to stay at home at Easter.

Gatherings of 10 people or less is allowed in South Australia provided that social distancing guidelines are adhered to, although limiting the number of people gathering to two is encouraged.

It was announced on 31 March 2020 that non-emergency surgery is no longer allowed to be performed in South Australia. This has been introduced to ensure that our hospitals have capacity to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have been directed by a health professional or law enforcement agency to quarantine for 14 days, you must do so.

SA Health and SA Police are working together to monitor people who should be in quarantine and fines may be issued to people who breach these directives.

WHAT TO DO

. Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer. Alternatively use alcohol based hand sanitisers.

. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.

. Maintain a minimum social distance of 1.5 metres, and when in an enclosed area maintain a radius of 4-square metres.

. Monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhoea.

. If you are unwell stay at home. Do not go to public places or attend work, schools, or universities. Do not visit healthcare facilities. Call ahead to seek advice. Do not visit aged care facilities.

COVID-19 Health Advice Message 31 March 2020 at 18:15 Page 2 of 5

If you develop symptoms:

. Stay home and isolate.

. If you have recently returned from overseas or interstate, or been in direct contact with a person who has COVID-19 and you suspect you have COVID-19, contact a COVID-19 Clinic or Testing Centre for further information.

Help protect other people's health:

. If you are unwell in any way, avoid visiting loved ones, friends and family in hospitals and aged care facilities.

. Visit aged care residents only for a short duration and abide by the limit of a maximum of one visit per resident per day, which may include a maximum of two people, except for palliative care.

. Children under the age of 16 are only permitted to attend aged care facilities in exceptional circumstances.

Mental health and wellbeing:

. Quarantine and isolation may affect your mental health and wellbeing; although social (physical) distancing is critical at this time, it's important to our mental health to remain connected to family and friends.

. If you, or someone you know, needs help during this time, please reach out to:

o SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line - 1800 632 753, o Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636 o Lifeline - 13 11 14; or o speak to your GP or health practitioner.

STAY INFORMED

. For the latest South Australian information visit: www.sa.gov.au/covid-19

. For health information for South Australians visit: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019

. SA COVID-19 Information Line - 1800 253 787 offers local information and advice on general COVID-19 information for South Australians. 8am to 8pm 7 days per week.

. Communicable Disease Branch line - 1300 232 272 provides information on immunisations and from medical officers.

. National Coronavirus Information Helpline - 1800 020 080 provides information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) from an Australia wide perspective. Open 24/7

. SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line - 1800 632 753, provides mental health support for people struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. It is available to people to maintain their mental health and wellbeing.

. COVID-19 Relief Call Centre - 1300 705 336 provides information and assistance with such things personal hardship support, accommodation support for people unable to achieve self- quarantining and accommodation for emergency services personnel that are required to quarantine but unable to do so at home. People can also email housingrelief@sa.gov.au

. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450

. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech or communication impairment, contact National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.

OTHER ADVICE AND OTHER INFORMATION

Emergency contacts

COVID-19 Health Advice Message 31 March 2020 at 18:15 Page 3 of 5

. Anyone experiencing potentially life threatening symptoms should call Triple Zero (000).

. If you know of someone who is breaching the quarantine or isolation directions put in place, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

What is being done to limit the spread of COVID-19

. The South Australian Government is urging employers to allow all employees who can work from home, to do so.

. Consistent with direction from the Commonwealth Government, a number of measures have been implemented to limit social interaction in South Australia.

Aboriginal communities

. Some Aboriginal communities across the state have opted to close access to their townships and lands to outside visitors, except for those providing essential services. This is consistent with a decision made by National Cabinet.

. All non-essential visitors to these communities will be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to permission being granted to enter these communities.

SA Police

. The South Australian Border has been closed and police are monitoring checkpoints and providing information on how travellers should quarantine.

. SAPOL are working with SA Health to monitor people who are known to be in quarantine.

Education

. The Education Department have implemented four pupil free days from 6 to 9 April 2020, (the last week of Term One) to allow teachers to prepare online resources for learning at home.

. From 30 March 2020 and until further notice, schools will be closed within the Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Williamstown, Angaston and Lyndoch. Select Out-of-School-Hours-Care (OSCH) services will be available for parents in the Barossa Valley area working in essential services. To find out more, visit the SA Education Department website.

. The SA Education Department website has a dedicated COVID-19 page that provides a range of information for parents, carers and schools. Visit https://www.education.sa.gov.au/supporting- students/health-e-safety-and-wellbeing/covid-19-coronavirus

Emergency response

. A State of Emergency has been declared for South Australia, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, to limit the spread of this virus within the state.

. The State Government has established a cross-government Emergency Management Team (EMT).

. The EMT is working with SA Health to put in measures to reduce the spread of the virus in South Australia.

This story KI Council reschedules meeting, gets coronavirus update first appeared on The Islander.