Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is urging the Dubbo community to take sensible precautions while celebrating over the holiday period, following a significant level of COVID-19 transmission at entertainment venues.
This week, up to 8pm on Wednesday 22 December, there has been 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified in the Dubbo Local Government Area (LGA), with a significant percentage linked to recent exposures at late-night venues.
Mark Spittal, WNSWLHD Acting Chief Executive, said with typically large-scale celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaching, the community should take every precaution possible.
“A large percentage of the recently-confirmed cases in Dubbo are linked to exposures at The Pastoral Hotel and The Amaroo Hotel, which we reported earlier this week and all occurred late at night,” Mr Spittal said.
“Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are both typically large celebrations at our District’s pubs, and hospitality or entertainment venues, but this Christmas is different and particularly for young adults.
“Three-quarters of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our District have been aged under 39 and one third of those have been in the 20-39 age group.
“So I am urging everyone, particularly those young adults, to be sensible about going out to celebrate during the holiday period. Take every precaution you can and have a plan to minimise the number of venues you go to.
“Every time you leave your home or get together with people there is a risk of spreading the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19, and we all need to consider those risks very carefully.
“If you feel unwell at all or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, don’t go out. If you do go out, check in and out using QR codes where required and wear a mask if it’s at a crowded, indoor venue.
“The risk is not just to yourself, particularly at this time of year. If you are planning to spend Christmas or New Year with loved ones, think about how you’d feel if you contracted COVID-19 at a party and then passed it on to your family.
“So show some common sense, consider the risks and be prepared by having a ‘Plan C’ in case you, or anyone else in your household, tests positive for COVID-19.”
Mr Spittal also sent a stern reminder to people that they have a responsibility to act if they receive notification they have tested positive to COVID-19.
“There has been a significant number of people we have not been able to contact after they have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, many in the Dubbo area, which is simply unacceptable,” Mr Spittal.
“If you receive confirmation you have tested positive for COVID-19 you must make contact with our teams or NSW Health and take the appropriate steps to ensure you, your loved ones and the entire community is protected.
“If you have tested positive or are required to isolate, ignoring that is not only selfish and incredibly irresponsible it is dangerous and you risk very harsh punishments by doing so, particularly if you then spread COVID-19 to others.”