Illawarra Newsroom

Call for Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to reinstate detailed COVID figures

Medical personnel don PPE before entering a COVID-19-positive, non-critical patient’s room.

The Member for Wollongong believes the Local Health District needs to share more information about COVID-19 as it faces extraordinary pressure and patient presentations at its facilities.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District chose to follow the lead of NSW Health at the end of April and scale back its COVID reporting to provide only daily case numbers for the entire region whilst directing people to weekly reports on the NSW Health website.

The Local Health District previously provided LGA case numbers and deaths.

When asked by Wave FM if it was a directive by NSW Health to reduce the detailed information, a spokesperson said it was not.

"There was no directive from NSW Health, however we aligned our reporting with them," the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District spokesperson said.

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Sadly, 20 people from the Illawarra Shoalhaven lost their lives to COVID last month up to May 28.

It's a figure the Local Health District doesn't highlight, instead relying on the number being reflected in the weekly NSW Health report.

Paul Scully is adamant the flow of information should be increased by the Local Health District to educate and remind people that COVID is still actively spreading in the community and claiming lives.

"We're still getting hundreds of cases a day of COVID.

"We've still got the flu coming through and we're still having COVID related hospitalisations and deaths.

"Getting some of that information out to the public is important to make sure everyone knows that the risk is still there.

"The rainstorms over the last couple of months didn't wash COVID away and that information has to be repeated and repeated and repeated so we can try and ease that incoming pressure on our health system," the Member for Wollongong said.

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Data from the NSW Health weekly report shows that in the Illawarra Shoalhaven there were 136 COVID hospitalisations from 13,494 cases last month while just under 1,000 cases of influenza were reported during the same period.

"I think people would still be surprised at the number of people who are being hospitalised and the number of people who are still dying locally of COVID," Scully said.

"In a time when we've got flu overlaying COVID, overlaying staff shortages in the hospital system and additional pressures from aged care and the GP Network, every bit of  information particularly those deaths, make sure people sit up and take notice and maybe act appropriately and accordingly to make sure that they're not among the statistics," he said.

Images: flickr, NSW Health and Paul Scully MP