Council calls on the government to consider the risks as Delta continues to spread

Council calls on the government to consider the risks as Delta continues to spread

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Penrith City Council is calling on the government to consider the risk to our younger residents as COVID’s unforgiving Delta strain continues to spread across the City.

The uncertainty created by the daily growing numbers, combined with a city that’s only half ‘locked down’ by harsher restrictions means we’re in limbo about what will come next.

Penrith Mayor, Karen McKeown OAM is most alarmed by the number of children being impacted by the highly infectious delta strain, something that wasn’t so much of an issue the last lockdown, and says our young people need to be a critical factor in decision-making moving forward.

“With more schools reporting cases and Council’s own Childcare centres reporting a small number of cases, it’s important that contact tracers are able to keep pace to prevent more people from being unnecessarily exposed.

“The current 3 – 5 day delay from when a case is first identified to when an exposure site is notified is of great concern.

“The job that our contact tracers do is truly amazing, but with so many cases is it still practical to believe that people will be notified about a positive case in a timely manner to` prevent further spread of the virus? One would argue, it is not.

“Meanwhile, the 3 – 5 day lag means more people, children and families are unwillingly being exposed creating a cycle that is almost impossible to stop.

“It’s time to make a call, either increase contact tracing to a scalable size reflective of the number of COVID cases. This would mean exposure sites are quickly identified and swift communication to close or casual contacts occurs.

Or prioritise the notice period for essential services, such as childcare centres, to remove the 3 – 5 day lag to stop the perpetual exposure that will continue if things don’t change.

“I concede there is no easy solution to what we are facing; however, a timely review of the situation combined with a common-sense approach towards essential services, is needed.

“We continue to campaign for our community and our staff’s safety, however, an all of government response is needed, we’re calling on our government counterparts to help us to help our people slow the spread,” said Cr McKeown.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 31 August 2021.