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January 21, 2022

Regional areas coped better than the city during COVID

Latest News

First Byron Shire Council meeting postponed

Byron Shire Council’s first meeting of newly minted councillors was to take place today, 20 January, however, the storm of COVID-19 that is taking place across the country led to it being postponed.

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Vale Byron girl, Patricia Marcia Dailhou 

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Free KYUP! Project workshops

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Cartoon of the week – 19 January, 2022

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

According to a study of people living in the city and those who don’t, rural and regional communities across NSW have fared better than those in Sydney in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

The findings of the first major representative study of COVID-19 mental health impacts in NSW, undertaken on behalf of the Mental Health Commission of NSW, shows that one-in-five people in the Sydney area experienced a new mental health issue during 2020, compared to one-in-10 across the state as whole.

NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said rural and regional residents reported experiencing fewer relationship, financial and practical impacts than those in the city during 2020.

Current stay-at-home orders in Sydney yet to be measured

Mental health responses to the most recent stay-at-home orders in greater Sydney are yet to be measured, but Ms Lourey said ‘pandemic fatigue’ may well have increased negative mental health experiences for many people.

‘Unsurprisingly, the impact of COVID-19 and the associated shut-downs has been more muted in rural and regional communities than it has been in Sydney,’ Ms Lourey said.

‘Overall, younger Sydney metro residents were more likely to report either negative or positive impacts than older people living in rural or regional NSW.

‘Over 30 per cent of those in rural and regional communities reported experiencing no negative impacts during 2020, compared to 20 per cent of those in the greater Sydney area. Having said that, they also experienced fewer of the positive impacts reported by those in metro areas, such as being more careful with money, less road and public transport congestion and a slower pace of life.

More anxious, more stressed and less in control

‘Although the negative impacts of COVID-19 were less, around one-third of rural and regional residents reported being more anxious, more stressed and less in control than usual during 2020,’ Ms Lourey said.

‘At the same time, regional and rural residents were more likely than those in the city to name looking out for neighbours and the elderly as ways in which their community has benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic.’ 

The study involved 2,000 NSW residents aged over 18 – including more than 600 from rural and regional NSW – representing a cross-section of the community, with a further sample of people who reported a mental health issue in 2018-2019 or a new mental health issue in 2020 – as advised by a health professional.

The research was commissioned to provide insight into the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in NSW, the types of support being accessed and their impact on those living with mental health issues, and identify what is needed to support wellbeing as the fallout from COVID-19 continues.

Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?


1,114 cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Rivers in last 24...

The Northern NSW Local Health District say that to 8pm yesterday, January 17, there were confirmed 1,114 new PCR cases of COVID-19.


The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 


Lung specialist ‘we’re doing the best we can’ and Hazzard lays...

At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.


Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.


Record breaking day of COVID deaths as Hillsong sings and dances...

As New South Wales breaks another COVID record with 29 lives lost in a single day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke to the media this morning with an update on the pandemic.


The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.


What do you do next if you test positive to COVID?

With more than a third of callers to the National Coronavirus Helpline asking about isolation, healthdirect has launched a guide to help those who are COVID-19 positive know what they should do while isolating at home and when to seek medical help.


Govt offer pandemic payments 

There is now financial support of up to $750 per week for individuals who have lost work because they have had to isolate – or if you are caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine owing to COVID-19.


Frontline health workers supported

It started, in classic Byron style, with a batch of bliss balls. The homemade treats were whipped up for the nurses at Byron Hospital by local, Sarah Armstrong, after she heard how challenging life had been for them during the Omicron outbreak.


NNSWLHD ID-19 update for January 10

The Northern NSW Local Health District authorities report that to 8pm yesterday, January 9,  there were 778 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District.


NSW COVID update and children’s vax rollout

As tennis and Novak Djokovic’s appearance in the Australian Open dominates the COVID news, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet met the press today as children between the age of five and 11 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.


Queensland school year to start in February

It was proposed last week and it has now been made official – the start of the 2022 school year in Queensland will move from Monday January 24 to Monday February 7 to avoid opening schools during the predicted peak of the Omicron wave.


Perrottet: elective surgeries off, booster mandate on and no singing or...

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet met with the media this afternoon to outline restrictions being reintroduced.


Tweed LGA passes Byron with highest number of new COVID cases

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) reports that in the 24 hour period to 8pm last night, January 6, there were 683 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District. There are 35 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital in...


Blunt side of tourism’s double edged sword as COVID bears down...

A double-edged sword, the benefits of being a tourist area is showing cracks as the weight of COVID-19 bears down on the Far North Coast.


COVID-19 vaccination does not increase the risk of preterm birth

Study findings support the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.


Changes to testing requirements and some RATs to be free

The National Cabinet met yesterday to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant – and the biggest issue making news at the moment: COVID-19 testing and the lack thereof.


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