A message from Rohan Fitzgerald, WDHS Chief Executive

We are our best defence against COVID-19

The recent surge in community transmissions in Victoria demonstrates how pervasive and unrelenting this virus is.

We’ve watched on as the world has struggled to implement suppression, containment and in some cases, elimination strategies.   

Over 11.6 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to the World Health Organisation and more than 539,000 deaths. In the last week the total number of new cases reported in a single day rose to 211,000, the highest global increase to date. Sixty percent of all cases so far have been reported in the last month.

During the first lockdown, many local people and businesses made sacrifices to protect our community. 

When the lockdown came to an end, we were hopeful that our hard work would pay off and that we would return to our normal lives. 

Sadly, in only a few short weeks COVID-19 has extended its tentacles again and forced a further lockdown of Greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

With news that visitors to Port Fairy have also tested positive this week, the potential for community transmission in our region is ever more real.

With no vaccine available, we need to continue to rely on each other to stop the spread of this devastating virus.

Healthcare professionals and authorities will be working hard to test, find, isolate and care for people with COVID-19 and quarantine people they come into contact with.

But each and every one of us also has to act responsibly and ‘do their bit’. Social distancing, washing hands and staying at home are all strategies that will be with us for some time. 

We also need to look out for each other and not stigmatise people who test positive. Sometimes when we fear the unknown we look at the world through an ‘us’ and ‘them’ lens.  

We know that stigmatised people feel isolated and abandoned and this can also impact on people coming forward for testing and treatment.

In the Southern Grampians Shire we are fortunate to live in a community that has always demonstrated high levels of compassion for its community.  Whether that’s a collective response to a natural disaster or an individual caring for a loved one.

The Dalai Lama said “if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”.   

While our search for knowledge and answers from scientists and academics creates more questions than answers, let’s not lose sight of a gift that promotes healing, alleviates suffering and is fundamentally human – COMPASSION. 

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