‘Reach out and get your vaccination’ – that was the message from the Member for Ballina Tamara Smith [The Greens] to her constituents as much of the Northern Rivers entered a seven-day pandemic lock-down on Monday evening.
‘It’s disappointing that we’re in this situation but if you live in Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Lismore Shire or Richmond Valley Shire, all the health orders have come out now,’ Ms Smith said, before reminding people to seek up-to-date information from NSW Health or the Northern NSW Local Health District.
‘Basically, we all need to stay at home and get tested if we have any symptoms whatsoever,’ Ms Smith said.
The member for Ballina said the regional lockdown was upsetting but she was hopeful the community could work through the local COVID 19 alert quickly by following public health orders.
Still unclear where infectious COVID case has been on Northern Rivers
The alert came Monday morning via the NSW government’s daily media conference when authorities confirmed a man in his fifties had breached Sydney stay-at-home rules to visit the Northern Rivers in late July.
The man was reportedly staying in Byron but travelling the region looking at real estate.
Authorities said he was infectious with COVID 19 throughout his trip but refused to wear a mask and to use QR codes, making contact tracing difficult.
‘If people were doing the right thing, we wouldn’t be in this situation,’ Ms Smith said.
By Tuesday morning much of the Northern Rivers, with the notable exception of the Tweed Shire, was in lockdown and it was still unclear exactly where the man with COVID 19 had been.
Authorities had only named Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Casino and Nimbin and were yet to be more specific.
Further announcements were expected later in the day, most likely via Tuesday’s 11am premier’s media conference.
Get tested, see your doctor, get a vax if you can: Ballina MP advice
In the meantime, extra COVID 19 testing clinics were open in impacted local government areas on the Northern Rivers, including a drive-through service at Byron’s Cavanbaah Centre and one on River Street in Ballina.
‘Please reach out and get your vaccination,’ Ms Smith said.
‘I know that it’s troubling that people who are being recommended Pfizer are unable to get that at the moment and we’re working really hard to try and get that supply,’ the Ballina MP said, ‘but meanwhile, if you are eligible for AstraZeneca and your doctor is advising that, please do book in your vaccination’.