Eyre Peninsula feels impact of COVID-19

The state government Heatmap shows 65 active cases from the Port Lincoln City Council area as of January 6. Note the map relates to cases from the local government areas, it does not necessarily mean they are currently within those areas. Photo: SA Government
The state government Heatmap shows 65 active cases from the Port Lincoln City Council area as of January 6. Note the map relates to cases from the local government areas, it does not necessarily mean they are currently within those areas. Photo: SA Government

Port Lincoln and Eyre Peninsula communities are on alert as communities and local businesses feel the impact from the rise of COVID cases across the state.

COVID cases have been increasing across South Australia with the spread of the Omicron variant since the borders reopened on November 23 with 21,215 active cases across South Australia as of Thursday, January 6.

The state government's COVID Heatmap shows as of January 6 the Eyre Peninsula has 115 active cases, with 65 from the Port Lincoln City Council area.

Meanwhile Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council shows 14 cases, Tumby Bay District Council 8, Elliston District Council six and Ceduna and Streaky Bay district councils five each.

It should be noted the map shows place of residence for cases, it does not mean the cases are currently within the local government area.

In a statement the Eyre and Far North Local Health Network spokesperson said as part of its ongoing COVID-19 response, hospitals in Port Lincoln, Ceduna and Coober Pedy could admit positive cases requiring hospitalisation.

The spokesperson said most COVID-positive patients could be cared for at home, but those who experienced further deterioration and required ventilation would be transferred to Adelaide.

"With known cases in our community, we understand that the COVID-19 situation can be concerning and we'd like to reassure the community that a range of health advice, information and support is available from the SA Health website and social media channels.

"We expect to see COVID-19 cases in the Eyre and across the state continue to increase over the coming days, which is why it is important people get vaccinated, remain vigilant and continue to follow health advice and hygiene practices, including wearing masks and physically distancing so we can protect ourselves and each other."

Businesses across the region have also been impacted including instances of closing temporarily due to staff members or customers testing positive.

CLOSED: Businesses such as Lincoln Surf in Port Lincoln are closing their doors temporarily due to positive cases of COVID-19. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

CLOSED: Businesses such as Lincoln Surf in Port Lincoln are closing their doors temporarily due to positive cases of COVID-19. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

Lincoln Surf, Electrical Discounters and Wendy's Port Lincoln announced on their Facebook pages it would be closed until further notice after staff members had tested positive.

Cummins IGA has also provided a warning after a customer who attended the store last Sunday had tested positive and Tumby Bay based Shana's Beauty has announced it was closing for now due to a positive COVID test.

Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism chairperson Sharni-Marie Barney said the chamber felt for all businesses and people impacted by the current outbreak.

"There are tough days ahead and we need to rally around each other and do our best to support local businesses and business owners," she said.

"It's a bit of a wait-and-see situation and we hope we can walk through it as best we can."

Ms Barney said the chamber would make sure local businesses would remain updated with the latest information on support available.

Efforts are being made to keep the community informed, with a Facebook page called 'Port Lincoln Exposure Sites' set up to try to keep locals informed of hot spots in the community.

Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty said there was a concern with how COVID would impact businesses at this time of the year but was hopeful the impact would be negligible.

"There's always that COVID will have any impact on businesses or services on Eyre Peninsula, particularly in Port Lincoln, but the main concern is how we're going to cope as a city with the outbreak," he said.

"Council is in close contact with SA Health on a regular basis and we request everyone conforms with the requirements of SA Health."

Mr Flaherty said people should remember to maintain social distancing, sanitise their hands, wear masks and use QR codes if they are out and about in Port Lincoln.

Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council mayor Jo-Anne Quigley said even though there looked to be only a small amount of people from within the district that had contracted COVID so far, it did not take much before everyone in a community like Cummins or Coffin Bay knew someone who had it.

"There's a really different feel, people are really concerned of it and are being mindful," she said.

"Better communication for people to understand when to get tested is vital to reduce panic."

Mrs Quigley said she believed the local health network needed to step up to keep the local testing regime available to residents.

The EFNLHN spokesperson said there would be a boost in resources to increase testing and training additional staff to support the COVID-19 response.

Pop-up vaccination clinics have been organised throughout January across the Eyre Peninsula, at the Cummins Institute on January 10 followed by clinics at Tumby Bay Hall (Jan 11), Port Neill Hall (Jan 12), Kimba Institute (Jan 17-18), Cleve Institute (Jan 19) and Cowell Bowling Club (Jan 20).

Further pop-up clinics are also planned for Ceduna, Streaky Bay, Lock and Elliston.

People are encouraged to book for their vaccine online at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/covidvaccine or to call 1800 253 787 for assistance.

This story COVID impact felt on Eyre Peninsula first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.