CORONAVIRUS is changing the very foundations of life in Oberon.
In the latest developments:
- Dozens of staff have been laid off following the enforced closure of clubs and pubs, and partial closure of cafes and restaurants. Under the same Federal Government edict, all churches have also been closed;
- Oberon Council has begun operating a priorities plan that will keep services operating, and keep people informed;
- Public events have been cancelled, and social organisations have cancelled or cut back their activities;
- Some medications have been limited following an instruction from federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Acting mayor Mark Kellam summed up the situation and said this is going to go on for some time, so we all need to get used to it.
"But with common sense, making personal hygiene a priority, avoiding unnecessary personal contact, and showing patience and understanding, we can come through this," he said.
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"Oberon Council has begun operating a community priority response plan that will keep people informed on changing conditions, promote public health and wellbeing and ensure that council services keep operating.
"The plan will be ramped up through its stages as circumstances demand."
He said the priorities for council functions in descending order are:
- Operate and maintain the sewage treatment plant;
- Operate and maintain the water treatment plant;
- Maintain garbage and tip facilities;
- Maintain roads and outside maintenance;
- Maintain administrative functions.
"Council has closed the Visitors' Information Centre, but the library will stay open because this provides the only computer and internet access for some residents," Cr Kellam said. "However, the Communications Technology Centre section of the library is closed.
"Public toilets are also being inspected twice a day, and restocked with liquid soap and toilet paper as necessary.
"Visitors to the council offices are being supplied with hand sanitiser at the entrance, and being asked to keep an appropriate distance from the counter and avoid touching it.
"A community newsletter has also gone out this week containing vital health and other information.
"In an initial process last week, council officers visited all the town's businesses, passing on health advice such as social contact and wiping down surfaces."
Cr Kellam told the Review that it is important to understand that containing COVID-19 in the community is "dependent on all of us being very careful about social distancing and hygiene - particularly hand-washing and hygiene of work and living areas".
"If we aren't vigilant about these simple activities we will not reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is as simple as that," he said.
"It is important that if you think you have been exposed to the virus, do not present directly to the Oberon Medical Centre, hospital or pharmacy.
"You should call first and be screened by medical staff over the phone. If you are considered to be potentially at risk you will be directed to come to the medical facility.
"This process is important as it prevents the potential of an unannounced arrival of a COVID-19 positive person and potentially exposing others to the virus or contaminating a building.
"Having said all that, if we all work together, there will be an ending. We can beat this thing, by using responsibility, common sense and simple humanity. Let us look after one another, particularly the elderly and those living alone."
Cr Kellam also took a swipe at those posting rumours or fake news on social media.
"There was a post last week claiming that someone had become a virus case. This was wrong - it was a simple case of flu. We can do without such alarmism."
Oberon Pharmacy is now restricting customers to the front of the store. Customers are only allowed one unit of ventolin and two units of paracetamol.
The pharmacy is operating a medication delivery service in town, the villages and outlying districts. There is also a kerbside delivery pick-up service.