4.15pm. See you tomorrow
That’s a wrap for today’s #ipswichtogether COVID-19 daily blog.
We’ll be back again tomorrow from 8am, and throughout the day, with regular updates and information you need to know about COVID-19 and its impact on Ipswich.
We’re also keen to share the good news stories taking place in our community about how people are helping one another and how businesses are adapting in these testing times. If you know a story we should highlight, let us know at email@example.com
3.55pm. There’s an app for that
The Federal Government has launched an app to help the community get accurate and the most up to date information about COVID-19.
It was launched alongside the Government’s new WhatsApp feature.
3.45pm. Protect yourself and your mob
West Moreton Health has developed this resource for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Protect yourself and your mob.
Do your part in preventing the spread of germs by washing your hands often, keeping a safe distance from others and looking after your general health and wellbeing.
3.15pm. New social gathering restrictions, borders and education updates
Following a decision by the National Cabinet, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced a limit of two people at indoor and outdoor gatherings, with the exception of members of the same household.
These restrictions will be in place for at least a month.
With that in mind, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll cautioned those wanting to catch up with friends and family at home, after police responded to more than 900 noisy party complaints this past weekend.
“What’s been occurring obviously as people haven’t been able to go out to clubs etcetera that they’re congregating in houses” she said.
“What that means for us obviously is an extraordinary amount of resources that have been diverted to looking after complaints and noisy parties and not where we should be concentrating our efforts.
“As a result of the new rules, police should not be getting any more noisy party complaints.”
There will be a $1,334 fine for people who do not comply with the new restrictions, though Ms Carroll said police had not yet been required to issue an enforcement notice for social gathering restrictions.
Ms Palaszczuk also announced tougher border restrictions that will come into effect this week.
From Friday, 3 April people who do not have a permit will not be able to cross the border.
State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski said self-quarantine will no longer be an option for those do not have an exemption.
“We’ve seen a large number of people, around 1,100 that we have ordered into self-quarantine as they came into Queensland,” he said.
“That will change as of Friday. Those people will not be allowed into Queensland.”
Do you have a legitimate need to cross the Queensland border? Apply for a permit at https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass
As Queensland schools start a week of pupil-free days, Ms Palaszczuk said the government was looking into long term measures for children of essential workers.
Queensland currently has 689 active COVID-19 cases.
2.35pm. Why social distancing matters
1.40pm. Embracing the transition to online learning
Ipswich students are transitioning to online learning as student free days started today.
While some students are still attending school, there is a large amount of students learning from home.
Ipswich Grammar School teacher Mr Strathdee wanted a face in his classroom this morning so he created IGS Wilson who was set up with pen and paper.
See the gallery below
1.10pm. Advice for senior Australians including those with existing health conditions
The care and wellbeing of senior Australians remains a priority in this uncertain time.
Coronavirus has more serious impacts on older Australians, those over 70 years of age and Australians with existing health conditions or comorbidities.
National Cabinet’s strong advice is for self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for Australians:
- Over 70 years of age;
- Over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities;
- Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities.
These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
12.00pm. Let’s all do our part #ipswichtogether
11.30am. Prime Minister’s message on public gatherings
Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced further to stop the spread of COVID-19.
National Cabinet has agreed to further limit most indoor and outdoor non-essential gatherings to just two people as of today.
That means exercising in groups is now banned, down from 10 people to just two; or meeting for coffee or lunch at the park with multiple friends.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said only two people should now gather in public spaces and “other areas of gathering”, but it will be up to states to enforce that limit.
The PM said households could still gather together, but individual people can only meet with one other person.
Read the full story: Public gatherings restricted to just two people
11.00am. The power of flowers in trying times
Local florists are helping Ipswich residents stay positive one bouquet at a time, as the community adjusts to a new way of life amid the coronavirus crisis.
Letitia Cochrane from Stevensons Florist in Yamanto said she’s grateful to still have the opportunity to brighten people’s days with flowers.
“During such uncertain times people can start feeling really down, especially if they can’t leave their homes or see their friends and family,” Ms Cochrane said.
“Flowers can really make a difference. It reminds people that they are being thought of. They can bring people a lot of happiness.
Read more: The power of flowers in trying times
10.45am. Welcome to the new normal
In these anything but normal times, store owners across Ipswich continue to do their best to serve the community.
Oikos Cafe on Limestone Street is now running from its window with a restricted menu.
Owner Brett Briggs describes these as interesting times.
“We don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like, the next day, the next week, the next month all we are doing is waiting for new information, together,” he said.
“There is no one who isn’t dealing with this.
“We would love to say a massive thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and to all our friends, families and supporters.
“You are all our Oikos and we greatly appreciate you.”
10.15am. Notes of encouragement spread kindness
Year 3 students of 3Blue at St Mary’s Primary School Ipswich sent these little notes of encouragement to the nurses and doctors at Ipswich Hospital.
A West Moreton Health spokesperson said “we appreciate the super-human effort all our frontline staff are making around West Moreton Health and beyond”.
9.15am. Help is available
It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it. Here are some important numbers which will have a guiding hand at the end of the line:
- Lifeline 13 11 14 will continue to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 will continue to operate 6pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Lifeline webchat will continue to operate 7pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800. https://kidshelpline.com.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 https://beyondblue.org.au
8.45am. Ipswich pound now closed
Over the weekend, the Ipswich City Council pound transitioned operations to the RSPCA’s Wacol shelter.
The pound facility located at 6 Hooper Street, West Ipswich is now closed to the public.
The RSPCA and council will work together to continue to offer an emergency-only service via the RSPCA Wacol animal care centre.
Council will be limited in capacity to impound animals as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, animal management services will still be provided to the Ipswich community, including:
- If an animal needs to be released, this can be arranged by calling the council on 3810 6666. The release of an animal will take place at Wacol by appointment only (as per RSPCA’s COVID-19 restrictions).
- If an animal is found during COVID-19 restrictions, council will work with residents to support them in reunited the animal with its owner.
For animal emergencies, the RSPCA’s helpline is always open on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).
8.25am. One portal to capture COVID-19 commitments from SEQ councils
The Council of Mayors’ (SEQ) member councils – including Ipswich – have joined together to present one portal capturing the available COVID-19 commitments of support and relief for businesses and residents of South East Queensland.
The portal allows users to select their relevant council area and view a concise list of the relief and stimulus packages available from each member council.
The portal can then direct users to the relevant council website for information and application details.
South East Queensland councils have rallied to implement a range of relief measures and economic stimulus packages, despite the restrictions of the local government election caretaker period. Further measures will be considered when councils are returned in the coming weeks.
The SEQ COVID-19 Relief Portal can be accessed at covid-19.seqmayors.qld.gov.au, and will be updated regularly throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
8am, Monday, 30 March 2020. Thirty-three cases confirmed for West Moreton
The total cases tested positive to COVID-19 for the West Moreton region is 33 patients.
Queensland Health reported 70 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday 28th March and 31 new confirmed cases on Sunday, 29 March raising the state total to currently 656 overall.
Queensland Health confirmed a third Queenslander has passed away from COVID-19.
A 75-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions died in Caboolture Hospital.
She contracted the disease from a cruise she had recently returned from.
In new restrictions enacted by the Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young over the weekend to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Queenslanders cannot have more than 10 people in their house at any one time, excluding households where more than 10 people ordinarily reside.
Dr Young asked all Queenslanders to limit visiting others in their home and to consider other ways of keeping in touch, such as phone calls.
“We need everyone to stay in their own home where possible and ensure social distancing at all times. Unfortunately this no longer means you can invite your friends over,” Dr Young said.
“We understand how important social contact with friends and family is but we need to do everything we can to slow down the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and this means limiting the number of people in each household to a maximum of 10.”
Dr Young said this did not apply to households where more than 10 people ordinarily reside in the household.
“For example, if 12 people live in one household, they can be there at the same time, but no visitors are allowed,” Dr Young said.
The restrictions came into effect on midnight 27 March 2020, until further notice.
Fines apply for people who do not comply with this direction.
Under the Public Health Act the direction from the Chief Health Officer, in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency, states:
An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a residence must:
- Not allow more than 10 people to be present at the residence at any one time; and
- Take reasonable steps to encourage occupants of, and visitors to, the residence to practise social distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.
This direction does not apply if:
- More than 10 people are present at a residence, but all of them ordinarily live at the residence, including if family or kinship customs or cultural obligations have the effect of a person living across multiple residences.
Contact tracing is undertaken for each of the 101 new cases over the weekend.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said the majority of cases are from patients who have travelled overseas, or have had direct contact with a confirmed case who had travelled overseas
“The number of confirmed cases each day is expected to vary as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation across the state,” the spokesperson said.
“We want everyone to know they can play their part to protect themselves and the more vulnerable in our community.
“Please follow the recommended advice from us and our federal counterparts in regards to social distancing, public gatherings and general wellbeing.
“Critically, make sure you are practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re sick. Washing your hands properly and often is the gold standard of health advice that can help prevent viruses from entering your body.”
Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and has a fever or any respiratory symptoms to see a doctor immediately.
Call ahead to the GP surgery and let them know your symptoms and travel history, this will help them prepare for your arrival.