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Coronavirus update – Hilltops Council response

Mar 18, 2020

Hilltops Council encourage community members to stay up to date with information provided by the Australian Federal Government Department of Health, we will be following their instructions and guidelines. It should be noted that there are currently no reported cases of the virus in the Hilltops area.

Council have made a number of proactive decisions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The following decisions have been made in line with the Australian Federal Government guidelines and recommendations and will be effective from Thursday 19 March 2020:

  • Council operated libraries in Boorowa, Harden and Young will be closed until further notice
  • Council operated Visitor Information Centres in Boorowa, Harden and Young will be closed until further notice
  • Council requires sports clubs, schools and any organisation that utilise Council sports fields to cease competitions until end of April 2020 at this stage. Council also encourages sporting and social clubs on private facilities to suspend activities until the end of April
  • Council requires all community/social/cultural organisations that use Council facilities, to suspend meetings and gatherings until the end of April 2020
  • Council encourages all sports clubs, schools and other organisations on non-Council facilities to suspend their activities until the end of April 2020
  • Swimming pools in Boorowa and Harden will be closed for the remainder of the season

A number of events have been cancelled including:

  • The Lambing Flat Chinese Festival Young
  • ANZAC Day services across the region
  • All library events and school holiday activities

All Council 355 committee and working party meetings where no urgent decisions are required have been cancelled until the end of April 2020.

Our number one priority, should the virus escalate in our region, will be maintaining provision of essential services such as water and waste services.

The safety of the community is a priority and will remain at the forefront of all decisions that are made. Council’s approach to the declared national biosecurity emergency has been the introduction of various measures aimed at managing risk. These include:

  • Printed COVID-19 information sheets available for staff and customers at the front counter of each office
  • Council staff are sanitising benches, keyboards and counters in public facing areas including customer service areas as appropriate
  • Cancellation of all Council events until further notice
  • Council staff will be wearing gloves and/or using hand sanitiser when handling cash
  • Council Staff are not attending conferences or large gatherings or participating in any unnecessary travel

Current advice from the NSW Government:

  • Any staff member who has been overseas is excluded from work for 14 days from the date they return to Australia
  • Any confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded until they are medically cleared to return.
  • Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded from work for 14 days since last contact with the person who is the ‘confirmed case’.
  • Staff who have returned to Australia and have shown no symptoms during the 14-day home-isolation period are able to return to work.

Hilltops Council will continue to monitor advice from the Department of Health to monitor and respond to developments and to ensure the safety and wellbeing the community.
Hygiene – Good hygiene remains the best protective measure against the spread of the virus. Maintaining good hygiene standards is an important way to reduce the risk of acquiring and spreading respiratory infections using infection control guidelines. We have put into place enhanced handwashing reminders in all public facilities.

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is the same way you would protect yourself from catching flu or other respiratory illness:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Social distancing is an effective measure, but it is recognised that it cannot be practised in all situations and the aim is to generally reduce potential for transmission. Social distancing includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

Further information on Coronavirus including symptoms, updates, alerts and resources available here:

When you visit your doctor or the hospital emergency department, it is very important that you call before visiting to describe your symptoms and travel history. You can also call the Healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.

Council will keep the community informed on a regular basis.