Binjari woman’s death from coronavirus mourned as Northern Territory suffers first COVID-19 fatality



The tight-knit Binjari community, near Katherine, is mourning the death of a 78-year-old woman who has died from complications related to COVID-19.Key points:A Binjari woman who died in hospital last night is the NT’s first death related to COVID-19Aboriginal groups and community leaders have paid their respects to the close communityNT Police will investigate a Cairns woman who they blame for Katherine’s coronavirus outbreakThe Binjari elder, who authorities said had underlying health conditions and was not vaccinated, died in hospital last night after contracting the virus two weeks ago as cases spread in the Katherine region. The woman is the first person to die from coronavirus in the Northern Territory. Hard lockdown restrictions in the community of around 200 people were eased slightly yesterday but standard lockdown rules remain in place.NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner described today as one of great sorrow for the woman’s family and community.NT Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy, whose own family members were also affected by the outbreak which currently stands at 60 cases, said the woman’s death was “the most dreadful news”. Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from DATE with a look back at our blog”My heart goes out to the all of those families,” she said.”Let me just say, I’m so sorry and we are with you.”She said the woman’s death showed coronavirus was a “very real” threat and urged all Territorians to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Health staff at Royal Darwin Hospital did “everything they could” to save the Binjari woman, Mr Gunner said.(ABC News: Che Chorley)LoadingShe said authorities must help families in Binjari conduct sorry business in an appropriate and safe way.”The first thing for me is to reach out to the families in Binjari and express my sincere condolences and find out what they want,” she said. Lisa Mumbin, chair of the local Wurli health service and friend of the Aboriginal woman who died, said she was devastated by the loss of a community elder.”She was a very well respected elderly lady and a wonderful lady,” she said”It’s very devastating and it’s hurting the community at the moment.”Ms Mumbin thanked hospital staff for their efforts.She said conducting sorry business funeral rites would be extremely difficult under COVID lockout rules, which prevent people from gathering in Binjari. Ms Mumbin, a respected Aboriginal leader, said the woman who died was much-loved.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)In a post on Twitter, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT said the Binjari woman’s death was “very sad news”. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Binjari mob,” the post read. Labor MLA Chansey Paech said “our hearts are so heavy on this sad day — so, so heavy”. “Please, don’t wait till this sickness comes to your community to get vaccinated,” he said in a Twitter post. Mr Gunner said the clinical team who had been treating the woman at RDH was “devastated”. Health staff had arranged for the woman to say goodbye to her family via FaceTime at the hospital.”We all grieve with them today. All Territorians grieve with them today,” Mr Gunner said.  The woman’s infection was linked to the Katherine outbreak, which authorities say was triggered by a Cairns woman who had visited Melbourne and lied on her border entry form upon entering the Territory.Read more about the Omicron variant:NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said police would launch a criminal investigation into “the causation and links that may have been to the passing of this lady”.Authorities reassure remote residents about vaccine supplyThe first-dose vaccination rate in Binjari is now at 100 per cent. But before coronavirus entered the community, health authorities say the vaccination rate in Binjari was low.Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain said he understood people would be feeling “anxious about getting vaccinated” following the woman’s death. “All of our remote clinics have the vaccine available, [so] you should have no concern about the availability,” he said.”You can just go to any clinic and there will be people there to vaccinate you.”Please be assured if you’re anxious about getting vaccinated now, you will have the ability to get vaccinated.”Vaccination rates have lifted across the NT since the start of the outbreak, with Katherine passing the 80 per cent threshold this week.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 4 minutes 58 seconds4m 58s Heavily mutated Omicron variant puts scientist on alertWhat you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…



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