Community Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

19 March 2020

Dear Ku-ring-gai Resident,

I want to assure everyone that the NSW Government has detailed plans in place to protect the community with regard to COVID-19 (coronavirus). On the 17 March 2020, the NSW Government announced a $2.3 billion health and economic stimulus package in the face of the virus outbreak.

Key elements of the NSW package include:

  • $700 million extra funding for NSW Health.

This will allow:

- a doubling of the capacity of Intensive Care Units;

- additional COVID-19 testing;

- purchasing of additional ventilators and medical equipment; 

- establishing acute respiratory clinics; and

- transferring elective surgeries to private hospitals.

  • $1.6 billion to support businesses and jobs including:

- $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months;

- $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure including transport and school assets;

- $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21;

- $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses;

- $250+ million to bring forward maintenance on public assets; and

- $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.

The best defence against infection, according to expert medical advice is to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow;
  • Avoid close contact with people, especially those known to be unwell;
  • Make sure you stay home if you are unwell; and
  • Practice social disntancing (1.5m), for example by avoiding crowds, mass gatherings, handshakes, hugging or kissing. 

If you have a fever, cough or flu-like symptoms particularly if you are a returned traveller, or are in contact with a confirmed case, seek medical attention by calling your GP, or call the Healthdirect Hotline on 1800 022 222, or visit the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Emergency Department. Please call your GP or the Hospital before visiting. 

This is a rapidly changing public health challenge. I recommend that you check regularly https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx for up-to-date information and the latest advice.

To find a COVID-19 clinic for testing visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-clinics.aspx

Be calm and stay safe.

Alister

Alister Henskens SC MP

Member for Ku-ring-gai