By Jacqueline Cooper
Locals in the small Victorian town of Lakes Entrance were left shaken when it was announced its Aquadome would immediately be closing for 14 days, following confirmation that a staff member had been experiencing ‘flu-like symptoms’.
The staff member, who has not been named, was said to have now gone into self-isolation and is receiving continued support from the local council despite since testing negative to COVID-19.
“Due to the rapidly evolving and changing environment, our business operations may change at any time. We will update the community through our various channels with any new information about services,” a statement from the East Gippsland Shire’s website read.
Rachael Morrison, whose son had attended swimming lessons at the facility the day before the announcement, expressed the anxiety she felt when she discovered her son and other children may have been exposed to the virus.
“It made me anxious. I suppose that it is inevitable that suspected cases will start to pop up around town, but you always hope that your family is not involved in a potential exposure,” Mrs Morrison said.
The announcement comes at a time where local supermarkets are struggling to keep up with demand as shoppers clear shelves in preparation for a potential outbreak.
Woolworths Lakes Entrance has been forced to use police and establish barriers to the aisle which stocks toilet paper, tissues and paper towel, with officers enforcing the limit of one packet of each per customer. The frantic actions which led to those restrictions have left customers both outraged and disappointed.
“It is a shame that it has come to police there, and sadly I think people are going overboard and not thinking of others who are not able to stock up, and the vulnerable. That is not the Aussie spirit, that is not who we are,” Lakes Entrance local Jodi Smith said.
Health experts are warning that many Australians are over-purchasing, with a supply of only two weeks’ worth of shopping being more than enough to suffice in the case of self-isolation.
Instead, Australians should be focusing their efforts on following the Federal Government’s advice of maintaining social distancing and correct sanitary measures.
Lakes Entrance pharmacist Fady Beshay urged residents to follow the rules.
“If you have access to a mask, then you should wear it when out and use hand sanitiser or wash your hands frequently. If symptoms do occur, it is important to contact the coronavirus hotline who will recommend either seeking medical advice or beginning self-isolation at home,” she said.