Sunday, 3 October 2021

COVID-19 State of Play in North-East NSW: Venues of Concern growing & a Sydney-centric vaccination myth annoys


Echo Net Daily, 2 October 2021:

The Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified of new venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region.

NNSWLHD says that a anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed are considered a casual contact and must get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

NNSWLHD Venues of Concern, Saturday October updated 9.18pm.

If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules given to you by Health staff, whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.

Echo NetDaily, 29 September 2021:

Byron’s vaccination coverage is 20 per cent below the rest of NSW and it needs to lift – quickly. Political and health leaders suggest ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as the problem, but the main issue has been vaccine supply. With thousands of Byron Shire adults not due to receive a first COVID vaccine dose until October, creative solutions – and a greater sense of urgency – are needed to get us ahead of what’s coming.

The recent Shire-wide lockdown resulted from just one Sydney traveller visiting a few Byron shops on her trip from Ballina Airport to Kingscliff. The travel was permitted, but the retail therapy was not. The traveller later tested positive for COVID, and within hours more than 100,000 of us were back in a snap seven-day lockdown.

The whiplash-inducing hard shift from ‘mostly-open’ to ‘mostly-closed’ is a regional NSW peculiarity designed to protect places like ours that have been largely COVID-free, but which also have below-average vaccination rates. Byron Shire has the second lowest first dose vaccination rate in NSW today – an extraordinary 20 per cent below the State average.

If you watched any of the daily COVID updates recently, Byron’s low vaccination rate – and what that means for the October statewide reopening plans and regional travel – is finally getting attention in Sydney. But there’s something a bit off. The questions lead with an assumption of why the vaccination rate is trailing; an assumption that respondents are too willing to reaffirm.

Take this example from 22 September:

Interviewer: ‘What’s the strategy to get the vaccination rate up in Byron Bay, Mullumbimby…?’

NSW Premier: ‘Well as I said, unfortunately there are pockets of resistance… And even if you don’t care about the safety of those around you… And even if you don’t care about your community, I think people are looking forward to doing things we haven’t been able to do for a while, and I think that’s a big incentive. But as we know there will always be pockets of resistance, but we are trying to identify those communities that legitimately have lower vaccination rates, it might be access issues… and as you know we have done incredibly well as a state considering the lumpiness of the supply we have received… it’s been a challenge for us to make sure it gets to the right places… I know there are some regional communities that are slightly behind the state average and we are trying to increase those as quickly as we can.’

Wow. That’s as unsubtle as it gets. Let me translate: There are a handful of places with legitimately low vaccination rates (problems the government is working hard to fix!), and then there are places like Byron where the rate is illegitimately low owing to the selfish (in)actions of some…..

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