Small town’s plans to create COVID-19 ‘response unit’
RESIDENTS of a small Somerset town are aiming to pull together a "response group" to help its community with day-to-day tasks.
Earlier this week, Coominya Public Hall president Lloyd Hill issued the invitation for residents to attend the open meeting on Sunday evening, to discuss community support strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic..
"It's not an information session about the C-19, because that's already available, it's about trying to establish a response group or something. It's basically to find out who's willing to put their hand up to do something," he said.
"I'm trying to establish who's going to be available to help who, and when. What if the school closes? Who'll look after someone's animals if they're sick? Who's going to look after the elderly?"
Being a relatively small, isolated community, with many animal owners and elderly residents, there are concerns surrounding what might happen if COVID-19 makes it into the town.
Mr Hill said it was important for vulnerable members of the community to know there was a support network in place.
"They're not going to be able to rely on the government to provide services, they can't keep up with the normal everyday stuff without all of this crap going on," Mr Hill said.
"You'll find very shortly that Blue Care and all those other little organisations will stop, because they go from one old person to the next old person, they may spread the virus, or they'll catch it."
Coming up with a plan to look after children if the school closes will be another priority during the meeting.
"If the school gets shut down, parents who've got to go to work, what are they going to do with the kids?" Mr Hill said.
"At the school there's a before-school, after-school care centre, but if the school shuts down it'll have to shut down, and they don't cater for all-day stuff."
Setting up the Community Hall as an interim daycare is an option that may be considered.
"The hall is set up with Foxtel, we've got table tennis tables, we've got games and stuff, so there could be a small group of kids who need taking care of," Mr Hill said.
He stressed any strategy would require locals to pitch in and help.
"That's the idea behind it, trying to get the community involved," he said.
"There's no point just getting the Community Hall involved, because most of its members are over 70 years old. We're looking for the younger groups."
The recent announcement barring gatherings of more than 100 people has put a dampener on the plan, with Mr Hill refining the criteria and asking that only residents who have the time and willingness to help attend.
"I'm going to restrict it now to age group, if you're over 70 don't attend, if you have any respiratory issue, any illness, health issues, don't attend. Basically, if you don't feel well, don't come," he said.
Hall members will be using infra-red thermometers on the night and turning away anyone who appears to have a fever.
An invitation was extended to Queensland Health, inviting them to send a representative out, but no response has been received.
The meeting will take place from 6pm on the evening of Sunday, March 22.