Steph Cooke and Superintendent Bob Noble display social distancing at the media conference in Wagga Wagga.

The Member for Cootamundra has joined representatives from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Riverina Police and the Member for Wagga Wagga to update the media on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steph Cooke MP commended these agencies who have come together as a united front in the face of the rapidly evolving challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis.

“The MLHD are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances. As a Government we are doing absolutely everything we can to support NSW Health in their efforts and I want to thank our frontline health workers,” Ms Cooke said.

“We really do need to think more broadly about the health of the people around us and if this virus gets in to some of our communities it’s going to be very difficult to stop and we will see some people die. None of us want to see that.”

Chief Executive of MLHD Jill Ludford said testing clinics are available at Wagga Base Hospital and Griffith Base Hospital 7 days a week and so far over 1,000 tests have been conducted in the region. Ms Ludford also said new clinics would shortly be established in Cootamundra and Deniliquin in the coming days to accommodate the spread of the virus. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest threats this community has faced,” Ms Ludford said.

“The most important message from today is what you are doing out in the community. If we don’t do anything we will get more and more sick people in the community and more and more demand on our hospitals.”

“There are three simple things that everyone can do to slow the spread of this virus: stay at home, adhere to the restrictions that have been put down by the Government, do not travel, wash your hands and do not leave your house if you are sick.”

Superintendent Bob Noble of the Riverina Police said his officers would be strictly enforcing the new social distancing restrictions.

“Quite simply the message must get through: if you don’t abide by the Health Minister’s directions you’re placing not only yourself but other untold millions across the state in peril of serious illness or death,” Superintendent Nobel said. “Whilst we all understand there are people doing it hard because they are isolated or are doing it hard economically because they have lost their job or their job is in danger of being lost. But we must play the long game here because if we don’t the damage and fallout is going to be much more far reaching.”