Editorial: Confirming Local Cases of Coronavirus

Filed in Just In, Opinions by March 24, 2020

MANY residents want to know when the first cases of covid-19 are confirmed in Scone and the broader Upper Hunter Shire, while it is understandable there is an important reason why those figures won’t be released and it’s not simply patient privacy.

There are many people in self-isolation locally, but that does not mean they have tested positive to the virus, despite lots of rumours to the contrary.

While we can confirm today that nobody has tested positive locally, from this point we need to assume there are people in the community who have the virus.

First, it is possible, even highly likely that there are people in the Scone community who may have the virus now, but don’t fit the testing criteria to be confirmed.

Secondly, it is projected that the overwhelming majority of the population will contract the virus and Sconeites are not immune, unlike other coronaviruses nobody is immune to this new strain.

Thirdly, and this is the most important point that health experts emphasise, the only way to protect yourself is to practice infection control assuming everyone you come into contact with may have the virus and every surface you touch may have droplets of the virus.

So, knowing if there are no cases, five cases, 500 cases of 4,000 cases confirmed in Scone no longer matters, because we need to assume the numbers will be high as the pandemic spreads and we need to behave now like we are in the midst of a pandemic, because we are.

The only protection you have is infection control, including washing your hands and social distancing.

When the first cases of covid-19 are confirmed in Scone, the public health unit will be in constant contact them ensuring they observe self-isolation measures and coordinating their care with local health professionals.

These are actually not the people we need to worry about contracting the virus from, because as the virus spreads there will be literally hundreds of people in town who will have the virus and may not have had a test, so we need to start protecting ourselves and the broader community now, not when it reaches a magic number locally.

From today forward, we won’t continue to confirm there are no cases locally, because none of us can afford to have a false sense of security.

It can be overwhelming watching the state and national numbers rise, seeing Bondi Beach crowded and hearing people are not adhering to quarantine, but as a community we can make Scone’s statistics beat the trend and keep infections low.

The simplest procedures of infection control are the most effective in combating the virus, focusing on what we can do and how we can control the spread in our own community will keep Scone’s numbers down, our community healthier, our health system functioning and our front line staff at less risk.

Keep up to date with our posts on how to practice better infection control and become expert at it!

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Elizabeth Flaherty
Editor of scone.com.au


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