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Eurobodalla Covid cases: Addressing the Elephant in the room

The Beagle Editor, I wish to raise my serious concern regarding the Batemans Bay Covid situation and the flaws in the system.

I write to you today with my concerns of the current Covid situation. I am aware of quite a few flaws in the system since this outbreak has occurred in our small town and I have serious concerns that if something isn’t done to fix these issues then we are going to have serious problems when we open up in a couple of weeks. The rules that have been set in place are really only for the honest people who already do the right thing. The rules rely on people being honest. The rules are to check into venues. Most do but some blatantly chose not to. When they do they are rarely challenged. We are all required to wear masks when shopping for essentials. However some blatantly do not abide by this rule and are rarely challenged. We have had an excellent turnout of people being tested. The community acknowledged and accepted the rule that once tested you return home immediately, self isolate and await the results. But some didn't abide by this direction and chose instead to go out into the community and place their town at further exposure risk. This was blatant, irresponsible and reprehensible. When a Covid positive case has been discovered, as has been the case in the Eurobodalla, the community has an expectation that those infected will do all they can to assist Covid Tracers by telling the truth about where they have been, who they have visited, or who had visited. It is hoped they would review all their check-in history and then ISOLATE for the 14 day period before being cleared to leave, all the while following the rules and restrictions that have been put in place.

Let's mention the elephant in the room. Batemans Bay has been in a perpetual lock down as a result of far too many not following the rules at all, not telling the truth about where they have been and who they have been in contact with, not isolating and awaiting test results, having parties and several visitors to their houses, not telling contact tracers the truth, not checking into premises, refusing to get tested. These individuals have put not only their own family at risk but the whole community. Even though it is very clear and evident that these people have not followed the rules and restrictions and put the community at risk there appears to be no action by police to issue any fine. The consequences of their actions are far greater than those of the make-up artist in Byron Bay (that made national news) yet locally, via the actions of members of our own community flagrantly snubbing their noses at the law there is no repercussion. What’s the point in having all these rules in place if you aren’t going to enforce them? Authorities say you can’t make someone get a test, you can’t make someone tell the truth. Then how exactly are any of these rules keeping our community safe? And what is making anyone besides the honest people who genuinely care, do the right thing when they know they will get away with it. Just because the virus may not have effected you badly and you haven’t suffered the serious effects this virus can cause doesn’t mean the person you exposed to the virus at the shops when you went there instead of isolating isn’t going to get seriously sick, end up in hospital or worse. What about the people who are genuinely trying to do the right thing but put themselves at risk every time the go to buy groceries. What about the vulnerable innocent children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities or immune deficiencies. What about our essential workers? What about our hospitals, the staff, nurses and doctors. We do not have a hospital here to deal with an outbreak. They do not deserve to be put at risk because of people doing the wrong thing and getting off scott free. What happens if one of our children or other family members need hospitalisation, where will they be sent? We already don’t have the paediatric or neonatal health care here for children that need to go to hospital, they normally get sent to Canberra or Bega or Sydney hundreds of kilometres away. Is that what will happen if this outbreak gets worse? For single parents with more than one child, who will look after those children at home while one is sent to hospital, or does the sick child get sent away all alone? It’s an extremely worrying and horrifying thought. Everyone is so concerned about ending lockdown as soon as possible but what’s being done to make sure it’s really safely open when there are such evident flaws? What will be done about those flaws before you end lockdown? Are the rights of the people doing the wrong thing worth more than the lives of the innocent? Why are they free to flaunt the rules and not be held accountable for their actions. Even if the only people they infected from breaking the rules are their family it’s still put a strain on our health workers who continue to put their lives at risk to help those who do the wrong thing as well as the innocent. I think they deserve better than that.

Before this happened to our small town I use to wonder how did Sydney get so many cases during lockdown? Now I can clearly see how easily it would have gotten out of control. It’s not that lockdown hasn’t worked, it’s that people are not following the rules to keep everyone safe and instead are putting their communities at risk. And when there are such flaws in the system that allow these dishonest people to do what they want without punishment, that is where the problem lies. The flaws protect those who do the wrong thing rather than protect those innocent people who are doing the right thing.

I fear that if something isn’t done to fix these flaws and enforce the rules, then when they open up it’s going to get a whole lot worse. If it can get out of control so easily and so quickly while in lockdown with the majority of people doing the right thing then what’s going to happen when lockdown is over and the rules aren’t there anymore?

Please fix the problem and make it clear that those who do the wrong thing will, and actually do get held accountable for their actions and putting people lives at risk is a serious matter and not one to be taken lightly. It’s NOT ok!

Sincerely a concerned community member.

A big storm was coming. The village looked to the Elder Elephant for advice and protection. Instead of offering sound advice she said to ignore the grey clouds and the thunder and not take shelter in their huts. She said "Come to my clearing and I will protect you. It is no storm at all. Nothing to worry about". Some listened and followed the Elder Elephant. The village had expected the Elephant Elder to know better and be responsible. But the Elder Elephant thought she knew better and thought she was too special to get in trouble. "Don't listen to them. Listen to me. I know best." The storm raged for fourteen days and fourteen nights and then on the final day the villagers came out of their homes, happy, dry and looking forward to sunshine. But the sad, bedraggled ones who appeared from the Elder Elephant's compound weren't happy. They accepted that they had been saturated for no reason. They knew it now and they now knew that the Elder Elephant was wrong. Such a silly Elder Elephant. But the Elephant didn't care because she liked the rain and the attention.