Lockdowns and closures

Locked up. The ANZ on Argent is closed, with a message left on its doors for customers. PICTURE: ANDREW LODIONG

COVID-19 cases in Broken Hill have led to lockdowns and closures of sites in town as alternative arrangements are now put in place.

A local aged care facility and bank were forced to implement extra measures to ensure others were kept safe while maintaining business and care as usual.

According to the Far West Local Health District (FWLHD), 53 new COVID-19 cases were registered in Broken Hill as of Monday afternoon.

One of the confirmed cases was a resident of St Anne’s nursing home, who tested positive for the virus via a Rapid Antigen Test.

As a result, the home went into a minimum 14-day lockdown as per the direction of the Public Health Unit.

Southern Cross Care Broken Hill (SCCBH) CEO, Zoe Tonkin, confirmed that the resident is recovering and that families will continue to receive updates.

“This resident will be isolated in the facility and be cared for by our amazing team,” she said.

“As residents are tested for COVID-19, families will be informed of all positive results as soon as practical.”

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SCCBH homes are operating under a COVID plan with staff already required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to help mitigate the risk to residents and co-workers.

Other measures include additional cleaning, virtual management and nursing support and mandatory testing for staff that began on March 7.

Mrs Tonkin urges recent visitors to look out for COVID-19 symptoms and said further announcements will be communicated to the public.

“If you have visited our St Anne’s Nursing Home in the last 48 hours and have any symptoms at all, please get tested,” she said.

“Please be assured that we will continue to closely monitor this situation, and we are actively working under the guidance of our established plans to protect the health and safety of our SCCBH community.

“We will communicate with you regularly as new information comes to hand.”

ANZ account holders in the Silver City might have noticed a change to operations at the branch on Argent Street.

On Monday, the branch was shut due to staff shortages due to COVID-19 and other impacts.

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“Recently, our Broken Hill staff have been affected by COVID and other health issues that have limited our ability to safely operate the branch,” ANZ District Manager Andrew Ferrier said.

“Thankfully, some of our colleagues have generously offered to help us work through this latest challenge, which means we have been able to open the branch again from Tuesday 29 March.”

However, local customers will have to complete their business during temporary trading hours.

Operation has been limited to 9:30am-12:30pm from Tuesday to Friday this week.

Mr Ferrier expects the branch to return to regular hours in the “very near” future.

“Broken Hill remains an important part of ANZ’s branch network and this challenge is simply the result of the environment we are operating in with active COVID cases continuing in the broader community,” he said.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this will have caused our customers and hope they understand the circumstances.

“The team at Broken Hill is doing its very best to return the branch to normal operation as soon as possible.”

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FWLHD encourages anyone with mild cold-like symptoms to get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

For a full list of COVID-19 testing clinics, visit https://bit.ly/C19testclinics.

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