COVID-19

New high risk SA exposure site & $100 million state-wide support package announced

Steven Marshall addressed the state on the first official day of lockdown, covering COVID relief payments, new exposure sites, and the number of cases in SA.

Premier Steven Marshall has addressed South Australians this morning on what is officially the first day of a 7 day lockdown, with six cases now recorded in the state.

The Premier gave an update on the number of cases currently identified in South Australia, COVID relief payments available to those who have lost more than 20 hours of work, and the growing list of exposure sites across South Australia.

CURRENT CASES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The new case is a woman in her twenties who was working at the Greek Halifax on Saturday 17 July between 6 and 10pm. After hearing the Greek was an exposure site on the news, the young woman immediately got herself tested and isolated. The young woman had previously been through the Burnside shopping centre, after many had queried why the entire shopping centre was listed as an exposure site.

Clarity around the Burnside shopping centre will be provided later today on the SA Health website including the more high risk areas within the centre.

The six cases are all currently from the same cluster, stemming from an elderly 81-year old gentleman who travelled back to Australia from Argentina, spending the majority of his hotel quarantine in hospital in Sydney, where is infection is thought to have come from.

5121 people are currently in quarantine in South Australia after visiting exposure sites within the state and in VIC after travel over the school holidays.

COVID-19 DISASTER RELIEF PAYMENTS

There has now been a hotspot declaration by the Federal Government for Adelaide Metropolitan area, Gawler and the Adelaide Hills, which has also been extended statewide to regional areas who it has been confirmed will receive the same compensation for loss of work due to the lockdown as Adelaide Metropolitan areas.

A $100 million business support package was announced to support businesses suffering with significant reductions in their turnover due to the lockdown restrictions.

The new Business Support Package – worth about $100 million – will assist an estimated 50,000 eligible SMEs across the state, from gyms, hairdressers and nail salons to restaurants, cafes, and hotels, affected by the new necessary heightened restrictions to help stop the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant. 

It will help businesses cover ongoing operating costs such as rent, power bills, supplier and raw material costs and other fees, and be able to re-open when restrictions ease. 

The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment scheme provides $375 per week for those workers who have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours’ work, or have lost a full day of work, and $600 per week if a person has lost over 20 hours’ work.

Mr Lucas said the State Government will match the income support payments for workers outside the declared Commonwealth ‘Hotspots’ of Adelaide metro, Hills and Gawler areas.

The payments will be paid in arrears for the lockdown and anyone affected can apply through myGOV from Wednesday 28 July. 

More information, including how to claim the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment, will soon be available on the Services Australia website here.

The major support package also includes a new $1,000 cash grant for eligible small businesses who don’t employ staff (eg non-employing sole traders). 

“This is an immediate lifeline for small and medium businesses that are the lifeblood of our community and underpin our economy,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas. 

“We know this is an incredibly difficult time for many employers and their staff, which is why we are doing everything in our power to help as many businesses as possible get through to the other side of this short lockdown. 

“The $3,000 grants will provide an immediate cash injection to eligible businesses affected by the restrictions, by improving cash flow and helping cover costs such as commercial rent and utility bills or supplier fees for raw materials.” 

Mr Lucas said the Government would consider the potential for further support if the lockdown is extended beyond 7 days.

TESTING CENTRES AND VACCINATIONS

A huge increase in the numbers of tests were recorded yesterday with Marshall noting the inconvenience of testing sites and assuring SA Health were doing everything possible to increase capacity at the 86 testing sites currently operating across the state. Yesterday saw a record 45% more tests at Victoria Park than previous records.

SA Health, ACL and Clinpath have been undertaking a huge amount of tests, which Nicola Spurrier noted as reaching over 10,000 for yesterday.

Also discussed was the issue of staggering wait times at testing centres, with some lines up to 12 hours long, leaving South Aussies attempting to be tested sleeping in their cars overnight. Marshall explained that ADF staff were being consulted to increase the capacity at testing sites by acting as swabbing staff.

The latest South Australian update comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison reveals just over 12% of Australians are now fully vaccinated following an uptake in vaccinations in locked down NSW and VIC.

Marshall noted there are still over 700 appointments still available for vaccinations on the SA Health website and urged people to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated as the best protection from the virus.

HIGH RISK EXPOSURE SITES IN SA

The growing list of 52 exposure sites that are requiring those who have visited the area to isolate and be tested was added to, including a Yattalunga winery added this morning. Nicola Spurrier explained these exposure sites would be added to the SA Health website throughout the day and SA residents should be vigilant in checking this site.

Chief Public Health Officer identified the Greek on Halifax and Tenafeate Creek Wines winery in Yattalunga as two high risk exposure sites SA Health are currently monitoring.

If you were at the Tenafeate Creek Winery on Sunday 18 July from 1:45 to 4:30 please immediately isolate and get yourself tested as well as alerting SA Health that you were at this site.

If you were at the Greek on Halifax restaurant on Saturday 17 July from 6pm to 10pm please immediately isolate and get yourself tested, as well as alerting SA Health that you were at this site.

Clarity around the Burnside shopping centre is being provided later today on the SA Health website including the more high risk areas within the centre, as the whole shopping centre as been named as an exposure site, following the most recent case visiting the centre.

Marshall was firm in “not leaving a stone unturned” in containing the virus spread, regarding locking down regional South Australia despite there not having been a case there, and expressed a desire to return to the low-level of restrictions and quality of life South Australia has enjoyed throughout the pandemic.

QR CODES AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT

QR codes will now be included in ride-share, taxis and public transport which Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has announced is being introduced as we speak. The first draft the renewed direction will be coming to effect very quickly.

MOST RECENT LOCKDOWN RULES

Fighting to contain the infectious Delta strain now in South Australia, yesterday saw a strict lockdown imposed across the state with only five reasons that South Aussies could leave the house:

1. Care and compassionate reasons i.e. taking care of loved ones

2. Essential work

3. Purchase of essential goods such as food

4. Medical reasons i.e. vaccination

5. Exercise that is limited to people from the same household

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier stressed that if you are in quarantine, you must remain in your home and the five reasons to leave the house do not apply to you. If you require assistance getting food, authorities can help you organise this. There are only a few reasons you may leave if you are in quarantine, being if you require urgent medical aid, a covid test or if you have a vaccine appointment booked. If this is the case you must notify the relevant parties that you are currently in quarantine.

Schools are also closed, apart from for vulnerable children and the children of essential workers, and people are unable to visit intimate partners or friends, with no bubble rule in place that would allow small social groups to form. Intimate partners being able to visit each other was being reviewed but the Police Commissioner mentioned this was only a 7 day lockdown and this was a period of time residents should have tolerance for.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens also provided clarity on areas of confusion: 

  • People are allowed to visit playgrounds with their children during their 90 minutes of exercise, but only with members of their own households
  • People are allowed to visit dogparks as part of their exercise
  • If you are outside and completely alone you do not need to wear a mask, but if you are unable to physically distance you must wear a mask
  • Masks are not currently required when exercising but the Police Commissioner said a walk did not necessarily constitute physical exertion and so would require a mask
  • Timber Mills are considered primary industries and are allowed to operate

The Police Commissioner also noted that he was pleased so far with the compliance of South Australians with the latest restrictions, with no fines having yet been handed out for non-compliance.

A new testing site has been opened at Waterworld in Ridgehaven to best support the spike in tests expected, as well as Victoria Park testing clinic remaining open 24/7. You can also find your nearest testing site here.

All South Australians who have symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested on the day symptoms appear.

Symptoms include:

– Fever or chills (in the absence of an alternative illness that explains these symptoms)

– An acute respiratory infection e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath

– Loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste

– Diarrhoea and vomiting

For more information: SA COVID-19 Information Line 1800 253 787; sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019.

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