By Raquel Mustillo
SOUTH Australian chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier has announced a 40-year-old woman has tested positive for Covid-19 in Mount Gambier.
Professor Spurrier told a press conference that initial investigations have found that “there doesn’t look at any other exposure sites at this time”.
However, Prof Spurrier said the 70km cross-border bubble will be reduced to 30km, weekly Covid-19 testing will be reinstated for people traversing the border, and first-dose vaccinations for cross-border community members are likely to be mandatory as of this week.
According to Prof Spurrier, the woman – who was in Casterton at the time – experienced symptoms from September 26, and returned to Mount Gambier on October 1.
The woman had a Covid-19 test at Mount Gambier’s drive through clinic located at the Showgrounds, before going straight home where she has remained since.
Prof Spurrier said the woman has four children aged between 13 and 18, who have been tested and returned negative Covid-19 tests.
However, Prof Spurrier said the woman is “not very well and has quite a few respiratory symptoms” and health authorities were currently organising a transfer to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Prof Spurrier flagged mandatory vaccines for cross-border community members wanting to traverse the South Australian and Victorian border as early as this week.
“Queensland has put in a requirement for vaccination for people in their border zone with New South Wales… we will be following a similar lead… that is likely to come in later this week,” she said.
“If you’re wanting to cross in that 30km either side, those will be the likely requirements.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated and you want to be able to cross that border and be in that border bubble, you’ll need to be thinking about getting your first dose of vaccine.”
Prof Spurrier reminded people that it takes two weeks to be fully immune to Covid-19 after receiving a second dose of the vaccine, and said there was scope to establish a pop-up clinic within the Grant District Council area, which currently has the lowest vaccination rate in the country.
“We’re looking at putting more vaccine resources into Mount Gambier, but it’s very readily available through pharmacists, and also the GPs have been vaccinating there for a long period of time,” she said.
“We are going to be reducing [the cross-border bubble] to 30km, that’s on either side, and we’ll do that for a seven day period… whilst we look at what else is going on and make a determination about how we’re going to manage this going forward.
“I feel very sorry for you guys down in that border area because I’ve spoken to many of you and I know it’s hard to be getting all those Covid tests done, but we are going to move back to having a seven-day Covid testing.”