It's the news we all knew was inevitable but were hoping wouldn't happen; COVID-19 cases in the Bega Valley and South-East.
The Far South Coast has been doing well in keeping the highly contagious Delta variant at bay. But given the highly infectious nature of the virus and the lax attitude to health advice and restrictions of a minority in our community it was only a matter of time
However, Monday arrived with the announcement of two positive cases - one in Batemans Bay and one in Cooma. Then on Thursday morning, rumours like wildfire of cases in Merimbula, two confirmed at the 11am state government media conference.
At times like this, our aim is to gather as much correct and official information as possible to inform our community.
The Bega District is just one of many media outlets who bombard health services and state authorities with questions, often many times a day.
We're part of a daily video conference and Q&A with Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro.
We're asking the questions for which you, readers and fellow members of our community, are seeking answers. They may not always be pleasant to hear.
Take lockdown for example.
Until Thursday, the Bega Valley did not have a confirmed active case of COVID-19. While we had unexplained detections of the virus in our sewage systems last week, both in Merimbula and Bega, the most recent samples have been negative.
Logically you would have thought think we could be safe in returning to our places of work, local shops and schools. And we felt justifiable in our frustration that we can't.
Now COVID-19 has reared its head and lockdown is to continue, in the Bega Valley as well as neighbours Eurobodalla and Snowy-Monaro.
It could be argued the very reason we are not seeing COVID take hold here like it has in major cities and other countries is because we're all locked down.
While frustrations with current rules and restrictions are understandable, we should still take a cautious approach for fear of spreading this potentially deadly virus through our vulnerable communities.
Was there really any reason for numerous Bega Valley residents to travel to Narooma at the weekend for a vaccine when they are relatively easy to procure here at home?
We've not yet heard of any vaccine shortages in the Bega Valley nor of an inability for people to access the shots.
South East Regional Hospital, Pambula Health Service, multiple GP clinics and pharmacists across the shire are all taking bookings.
Is it the booking process turning people off getting the vaccine? The alternative was waiting in the pouring rain at Narooma for up to four hours for that "walk-in" clinic on Sunday...
- Ben Smyth
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