‘BE THANKFUL’: Reports health workers are being abused
"DISAPPOINTING" is one word local authorities have used in response to reports of residents hurling abuse at health workers manning COVID-19 testing clinics, and nurses walking the streets in protective gear.
Today Coffs-Clarence Police, local Members of Parliament and the Mid North Health District released a joint statement imploring that residents, who may have been deemed uneligible for testing, to remain thankful for healthcare and frontline workers helping to fight the deadly virus.
Coffs-Clarence Superintendent Steve Clarke, Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan, Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh and MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick reminded residents of their moral and legal duty to treat the state's frontline workers well.
"Apart from it being socially unacceptable, in some circumstances it may be a criminal offence to intimidate or cause fear in someone by your actions under the NSW Crimes Act," Mr Conaghan said.
Three COVID-19 assessment clinics have been set up at health campuses in Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Port Macquarie, and the North Coast Primary Health Network is working with general practices to seek expressions of interest to establish coronavirus respiratory clinics.
MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick said some people who are ineligible for testing have been taking frustrations out on local health care workers.
He said so far 2,489 people on the Mid North Coast tested for COVID-19 have been excluded, with 44 cases confirmed.
"I can understand why people find it frustrating they cannot simply present at a clinic and be tested, but the eligibility criteria has been established for good reasons," Mr Dowrick said.
Across NSW so far, 108,239 people have been tested for COVID-19 and excluded.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh also urged locals to remain courteous and calm.
"We are doing all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 and I implore residents to keep doing the right things, practice good hygiene, exercise social distancing and be kind to one another.
"Any intimidation and abuse of frontline health workers will not be tolerated."
Residents are reminded they will only be tested for COVID-19 if they meet the following criteria:
- You have returned from overseas in the past 14 days and you develop respiratory illness with
or without fever
- You have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and you develop a respiratory illness with or without fever
- You have severe community-acquired pneumonia and there is no clear cause
- You are a healthcare worker who works directly with patients and you have a respiratory
illness and a fever.