Paramedics shocked by packed beaches as Illawarra COVID cases rise



Paramedics have slammed Illawarra residents for flocking to local beaches as the region recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections since the start of the Delta outbreak. Key points:The Illawarra Shoalhaven local health district records its highest daily number of COVID cases during the latest outbreakOf the 53 new cases, the source of 35 is under investigationParamedics say it was a “slap in the face” to see crowds at local beaches on the weekendOf the 1,262 new cases across New South Wales, 53 were confirmed in the Illawarra Shoalhaven local health district on Sunday, up from 37 on Saturday.There were 35 in the Wollongong local government area (LGA), 15 in the Shellharbour LGA, one in the Kiama area and two new cases in the Shoalhaven.Investigations are underway into the source of 35 of the new cases, with 18 linked to previously reported infections.Ten residents are being treated for the virus in the Wollongong Hospital.According to the local health district, of the new cases announced on Sunday, more than 60 per cent were aged under 40.Fragments of the virus were also detected in the local sewage network at Gerroa, on the south coast, where there are no known cases. Paramedics say they were “gobsmacked” to see so many people on local beaches over the weekend.(Supplied)Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from September 12 with a look back at our blog’Absolutely gobsmacked’ by beach crowdsNSW’s march towards freedomDid you hear something snap this week? It was the sound of the last vestiges of any national policy coherence being tossed aside.Read moreDuty operations manager with NSW Ambulance Norm Rees said he was disappointed to see so many people breaching public health orders when paramedics were called to a job at Port Kembla beach on Saturday.”It was a blatant slap in the face to turn up to Port Kembla beach and see 450 people there, not practising social distancing and not wearing masks,” he said.”Our staff are under stress because of COVID, they’re responding to patients all the time, and are worried about taking it home.”I was absolutely gobsmacked.”‘On a knife’s edge’Opposition health spokesman and Keira MP Ryan Park said the region was at a tipping point and implored residents to “do the right thing” as case numbers continue to rise.”Our community is on a knife’s edge,” Mr Park said.”We’re in for a very difficult week or two, I fear.”I know it’s difficult for people, I know the good weather means people want to go out, I understand that, but go and have a swim and then leave, don’t hang around all day.”Want more local news? Sign up to the ABC Illawarra weekly email newsletter NSW opposition health spokesman and Keira MP Ryan Park is calling for the state government to direct more vaccines to the Illawarra. (ABC Illawarra: Tim Fernandez)From Monday, people who have received both doses of the vaccine will be allowed to gather in groups of five at public places in their local government area for recreation, including picnics.Mr Park said he would like to see more vaccines directed to the region in light of the rising cases.He said he would be speaking with Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard this week to ensure more vaccine doses were sent to the region.”I want to make sure the Wollongong vaccination hub is operating at full strength because at the moment, it isn’t,” he said.What you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…



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