Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Actions we are taking in relation to COVID-19

The Shire of Northam is taking expert advice from the Western Australian and Federal Governments, which are guiding the decision making of Council.

The Shire of Northam has activated its Business Continuity Plan (BCP), to ensure that we are able to provide the required services and facilities to our community. The coordination of the BCP is being undertaken by our Chief Executive Officer, who has established COVID-19 response team.

The Shire of Northam has also coordinated its Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC). This Committee includes key agencies within our Shire to promote a coordinated approach to managing this pandemic crisis and then leading our community through the recovery process. Our LEMC includes representatives from a  variety of health organisations, police, emergency services, community and social services.

We are currently working on a range of initiatives to support the community through this pandemic, as well as initiatives to aid community recovery. These initiatives will be focus on a range of areas including, social, financial & economical. Details will be provided to the community once these initiatives are finalised.

Shire of Northam | Latest News

Shire of Northam COVID-19 Information Sheet

Shire of Northam COVID-19 Community Support

From the Shire President

We are in a very challenging environment with a great deal of uncertainty. Our commitment to the Shire of Northam community is that we will keep you informed as to the decisions we are making, actions we are taking and information we are provided relating to this challenging issue. In saying this, our overall message to our community is to remain calm, source information from factual sources (provided above) and make informed decisions. We are also imploring our community to think of others, particularly those vulnerable people in our community. Please treat each other with respect in this difficult time and we appeal to all our residents to please refrain from panic buying, this does not help anyone and serves only to increase the anxiety for some of our most vulnerable community members.

Also to our medical professionals, on behalf of the community – thank you for all you are doing in what must be very trying circumstances – your community appreciates you.

We would also like to implore our community to use this time as an opportunity to support our local businesses. They will be doing it very tough now and for the foreseeable future, so please let’s all focus on ‘buying local’ and doing all we can to ensure we have a small business sector in the future.

As your representatives, the Northam Shire Council is doing everything in our power to play our role in leading you through this pandemic. We will be releasing more details around the strategies and initiatives we are planning over ensuing weeks.

Cr Chris Antonio

Shire President

Shire of Northam

Local Support

These are difficult times for all of us, but we also understand that there are some people in our community that may be really struggling and could do with some extra help. The Shire of Northam is working with our local community service providers and as a team we are doing our best to ensure those who need additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access it. 

Information on local support services, as well as state and national online support and phone hotlines are available here

We have several other initiatives in development to support our community, please check back here for the most update information on obtaining and giving support during these unprecedented times.

We are all in this together, and ensuring that our community is supported is our highest priority.

COVID-19 Local Community Support Hotline

If you are confused by COVID-19 and where to turn to for help, the Shire has established a local community support telephone hotline. The number to call is 6608 0613. The telephone operator will be there to help connect you to the right service.

The telephone hotline will be available during the hours of 8.00am – 5.00pm (Monday-Friday)

Neighbourhood Assistance

Through our neighbourhood assistance program we are connecting the elderly and vulnerable who are in need of help with those who are able to provide it.

If you need help click here to fill in the form

If you are able to provide help click here

Alternatively call 6608 0613 to register.

Whilst we are working hard to ensure we reach all vulnerable members of our community, you can help help by reaching out to your own neighbours by printing our neighbourhood assistance cards and dropping them off to your neighbours (being careful to observe social distancing and practising good hygiene).  

If you live locally and are in need of support, the below guide has a number of community organisations who may be able to assist

Community Support in the Shire of Northam

Important Community Information

Shire of Northam Facilities

The Shire of Northam on advice from the State and Federal Governments, is endeavouring to keep our facilities open. Unfortunately this has not been entirely possible with a number of facilities being closed. Closed facilities can still be contacted by phone and email if necessary. 

Please note that although the Shire of Northam Administration Centre remains open, we respectfully request that any business able to be done online or via phone should be, in the interests of social distancing. If you are unable to complete your Shire or licensing business online, and need to visit the Shire of Northam Administration Centre, please be prepared to use tap-&-go instead of cash to assist us in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Open:

  • Shire of Northam Administration Centre (including licensing service)- where possible please try to do business online or via phone
  • Old Quarry Road Waste Management Facility
  • Inkpen Road Waste Management Facility
  • Killara Adult Day Care and Respite Centre (Respite only)- for more information, head to the Killara Page
  • Toilets: Wundowie, Bakers Hill, Bernard Park (Northam) public toilets

Closed:

  • Northam Recreation Centre
  • Bakers Hill Recreation Centre
  • Northam Aquatic Facility
  • Wundowie Aquatic Facility
  • Northam Visitor Centre
  • Northam Heritage Centre (Old Railway Station)
  • Morby Cottage
  • Northam Library (Housebound service & Click & Collect only)
  • Wundowie Library (Housebound service & Click & Collect only)
  • Create 298
  • Bilya Koort Boodja Centre
  • Community Halls
  • Bernard Park Water Playground
  • Toilets: Clackline, Apex Park (Northam), Katrine public toilets, and any toilets attached to a public hall
  • Playgrounds

As we are sure you can appreciate, Council will be reviewing this position regularly and will advise the community if this position changes. We have put a range of measures in place to manage potential risks in accordance with advice provided by the State and Federal Governments. We are following directives from the Federal Government, and all playgrounds will be closed down. We respectfully request that people comply with the closures in the interests of public safety. 

Following the closure of the Northam and Wundowie Libraries, services have been adapted to offer a click and collect service, as well as an extension of housebound deliveries. Please call 9621 1600 for more information. 

Shire of Northam Waste, Engineering, Works & Ranger Services

Waste Management

All kerbside rubbish collection services are operating as usual. Refer to the Recycling and Waste Disposal Calendar for your collection day.

The Shire of Northam's Old Quarry Road and Inkpen Road Waste Management Facilities is currently operating as usual. Refer to the Waste Management Facilities page for opening hours.

Engineering & Works

Engineering and works services are operating as usual.

Ranger Services

Ranger services are operating as usual. Rangers can be contacted on (08) 9622 7267.

Facility Hire, Sporting Clubs & Community Group Information

Facility Hire

Hiring of all facilities has been suspended until further notice and all bookings have been cancelled. 

Bookings for outdoor reserves and parks are still available but gatherings are restricted to ten persons at any one time. For more information please contact bookings@northam.wa.gov.au.

Information for Clubs and Sporting Groups

In response to Federal Government restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, all club sporting activities in the Shire of Northam must cease until further notice.

Information for Community Groups

Restrictions implemented by the Federal Government commencing midnight 25 March require closure of community and recreation centres, social sporting clubs and activities, historic sites, youth centres, halls, clubs, RSL's, PCYC's and places of worship.  If you have any questions about what activities can and cannot go ahead for your organisation, please visit aus.gov.au. If you cannot find an answer, contact us at records@northam.wa.gov.au. Please note that as the situation is constantly evolving, we may need to get back to you with an answer.

While most face to face activities and operations are now restricted, the Shire is encouraging our community to create new ways to connect with each other online or with other social distancing measures. If your community group is innovating to deliver services to the community (or even just staying connected with your members in a fun way) we would love to hear about it – please send details and links to us at records@northam.wa.gov.au

What can I do in the Shire of Northam?

Through our Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC), we are currently developing a list of activities our community can participate in safely.

Local travel restrictions

As of midnight on Tuesday, 31 March, all Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary. Exemptions will apply for, among other things, essential services and workers, including health and emergency services; people living in ‘border communities’, who may not have access to groceries or supplies within their region; employment purposes; medical reasons; transport of essential goods and some compassionate grounds. 

The Shire of Northam lies within the Wheatbelt Region of Western Australia. 

More information on the Wheatbelt region and its boundaries can be found on the Department of Regional Development website.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People

A message from the Northam Ballardong Elders on behalf of the Shire of Northam Nyoongar Cultural Advisory Committee:

To keep our mob safe we all need to do our bit to stop coronavirus from spreading through our community. Please listen to the government health messages and follow them.

The best thing you can do to keep safe is stay home!

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50, are at greater risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19. Unfortunately many of our mob have other health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease, which puts them at high risk.

If you’re an Elder or suffer with serious health conditions stay home!

The rest of you can help keep us all safe by:

  • Staying home as much as possible
  • Staying home if you are feeling unwell
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least 1.5-2m away from others
  • Wash your hands often, with soap & water or hand sanitiser
  • Cover your coughs & sneezes with a tissue or elbow & wash your hands straight away
  • Put your used tissues in the bin as soon as possible
  • Keep surfaces clean by disinfecting them regularly e.g. benchtops, door handles
  • Avoid travelling to different towns and cities
  • Self-isolate if you have recently travelled to a different state or country or have been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

If you have any of the following symptoms call a doctor and tell them about your symptoms and tell them if you’ve had any contact with people with COVID-19.

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • A sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing

General COVID-19 health advice can be obtained on 1800 020 080. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing call 000, ask for an ambulance and tell them if you’ve had any contact with anyone with COVID-19 

Signed: Deborah Moody, Pat Davis, Yvonne Kickett, Janet Kickett, Joan Parfitt, Kathy Davis, Kevin Stack, Claire McGuire, Maria Nickels.

Aboriginal Health Council of WA resources

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 Prevention

Important Business Information

What is the Shire of Northam doing for local business?

We will be working with the Northam Chamber of Commerce and the Wheatbelt Business Network to identify possible initiatives that can be taken to support our local businesses. We would ask that our community supports local business as much as they can in this time.

The Shire of Northam is currently in contact with food businesses to assist them with the mandatory closures of dining areas and transitioning many of these businesses over to providing takeaway and delivery of food services. The Shire of Northam Environmental Health Officers are supporting these businesses with additional sanitary procedures and staff hygiene requirements to ensure these services continue in a safe manner.

Staff are also developing a communication network with local businesses to assist them through these un-chartered waters. If you own a business in the Shire of Northam, please join our Facebook group to communicate directly with us during this time. Please ensure you answer the questions upon joining to allow us to accept you as quickly as possible. 

The Shire will be reviewing its purchasing procedures and policies to ensure where possible all Shire purchases stimulate the local economy.

What assistance is available to my business?

The Australian Government announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package. Consider whether you are eligible for any of the targeted subsidies and payments. More information available here www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/blog/coronavirus-stimulus-package-small-business

The WA Government has also announced $114 million to support businesses, particularly those with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million. More information here www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/blog/wa-coronavirus-relief-package

Also take a look at the webinar offerings of the Small Business Development Corporation. These are all free and tailored specifically to dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. https://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/blog/workshop-schedule 

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a series of valuable information about business continuity, protecting staff, working from home, travel, and communication. For more information visit https://covid19.cciwa.com/

Economic Development Australia also has numerous up-to-date resources about business resilience. For more information visit www.edaustralia.com.au/economic-recovery-hub/coronavirus-recovery-hub/

I'm already in financial hardship, who can I talk to?

Financial Counselling Australia is a great resource for financial hardship and business difficulties. Feel free to contact them here www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/ 

COVID-19 Health Information

The Shire of Northam strongly encourages residents and organisations who have questions about the COVID19 virus to attain this from one of the following sources;

Western Australian Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information for Community & Businesses

Department of Health (Federal) - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Department of Health (State) - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

HealthyWA - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Health Information Hotline - 1800 020 080

COVID-19 Enquiries Line - 13COVID (132 68 43)

An enquiries line to keep the community informed about COVID-19 coronavirus has been launched.
 
By dialling 13COVID (132 68 43), Western Australians will have access to the latest information regarding the impact of the virus in WA.
 
As well as hearing important COVID-19 prevention tips, callers are given a range of options directing them to the relevant sources of information for their needs.
 
In terms of health, this includes information for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, those in self-isolation, or calling as health practitioners.
 
Options also include information on impacts for families, businesses, schools and health care providers, and up-to-date advice on restrictions to travel and public gatherings.
 
The hotline will operate seven days a week, from 7am to 10pm.

Are there any cases locally?

Although a majority of the COVID-19 response is coordinated at a state government level, the Shire of Northam will be assisting with this response, and will be working hard to keep you informed of the pandemic as it progresses. The first COVID-19 case in the Shire of Northam has been confirmed via the Department of Health Western Australia, which is information freely available to the public. Please note that this information is updated almost daily and you can check back in to see how Western Australia is progressing alongside the other states.

The affected COVID-19 person(s) in Western Australia are monitored very closely by the state public health staff to ensure they have the necessities to stay at home. The Police are issued daily with a list of persons under mandatory self-isolation, and are conducting checks around the clock. Most incoming cases are now from overseas, and are required to self-isolate in the city in specialised accommodation; an initiative by the state to keep everyone safe.

The Shire would like to reiterate that staying calm and following the recommend social distancing (keeping 1.5m-2.0m apart) and hygiene guidance (regular handwashing, not touching your face, staying home if you are sick or seek the correct medical advice) is the best possible thing to do. Please check on any vulnerable neighbours, friends, and family (in a responsible social distancing manner) and most importantly, be kind to one another.

It is imperative that we all take a sensible approach to our future activities, whether it be for work, family, or social reasons, and if in doubt feel free to ask questions or seek additional information. The Shire has a dedicated COVID-19 hotline (6608 0613) to put you in touch with support services. The state government also has a dedicated 13COVID (13 26843) hotline.

This information is subject to change, and access to specific information is not available to the Shire of Northam, or to the general public at this time. Access to information regarding which local government regions have confirmed cases can be found on the Department of Health's website

How can I protect myself and others?

The Department of Health advises the most effective way to mitigate the risk of contracting Coronavirus is to practice good hygiene.

  • stay at home if you are unwell
  • practise social distancing
  • avoid gatherings
  • wash your hands often with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow
  • if you have arrived from overseas, you will need to self isolate for 14 days.

The community should call the Police on 131 444 to report people who should be self-isolating and are not.

What is social distancing and why is it important? 

Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people. Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared;
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread. 

Department of Health - Social Distancing Information Sheet

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 can be spread from person-to-person.

This can happen when a person comes into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person, for example through coughing or sneezing.

Spread of this coronavirus from person-to-person is usually between close contacts. Close contacts are those people who have been face-to-face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and who is most at risk?

Coronavirus can cause a range of symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience:

  • fever
  • flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches
  • difficulty breathing.

Some people may be at higher risk of infection, such as people who have other illnesses that suppress the immune system or make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease. This includes people with lung disease or diabetes, those who have suppressed immune systems, and the elderly.

Can I be tested and where can I find a COVID-19 clinic?

People will only be tested if they have fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough or sore throat AND documented evidence of:

  • overseas travel in the last 14 days (provide boarding pass or flight booking or airline bag tag with name and date of travel) OR
  • close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case (provide name of case)

Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home, until they receive their test results and further medical advice.

It is important to remember that people who don't have symptoms and evidence as outlined above WILL NOT be tested.

If you live in the Perth metropolitan area or in Bunbury you will need to attend a COVID-19 Clinic.

  • If you live in a regional area, you should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic.
  • Make sure you have your documented evidence with you (outlined above).
  • If you are very unwell (such as experiencing shortness of breath) and need urgent medical help call 000.
  • If you are attending a general practice or other medical centre, 
  • If you attend an emergency department at a hospital, please let staff know immediately on arrival of your symptoms and your travel history.

For general queries or for further advice on how to seek medical attention, phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. If a non-English speaker needs help, please contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (external site) or phone 131 450.

What is self-isolation and who should self-isolate?

Self-isolation

Self-isolation is required for confirmed AND suspected cases of COVID-19. This means you must stay in your home, hotel room, or other accommodation even if you are perfectly well with no symptoms. The only time you should leave your home/accommodation is to seek medical attention. When you are in self-isolation you cannot attend public places such as work, school, shopping centres or go on a holiday.

Who should self-isolate

  • If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case
  • All people returning from international travel on or after 12.00am 16 March 2020, must self-isolate for 14 days after the date of return to Australia
  • All people arriving from mainland China, Iran, South Korea and Italy who arrived prior to 16 March 2020, must self-isolate for 14 days after leaving mainland China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.

What to do when you are self-isolating

  • Stay in your home, hotel room or other accommodation 
  • Take special care to avoid sensitive settings for 14 days, such as:
    • aged care
    • child care and school facilities
  • Maintain social distancing if you live with other people (e.g. staying in an isolated room preferably with a separate bathroom – if available)
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds
  • Ensure that you do not share household items with other people in your home.

You must stay in your place of isolation and not go out, except to seek medical care, for the length of time as advised by your doctor or public health unit.

Self-isolation is important for protecting your family, friends and the Western Australian community.  

Medical certificates are not required for people who need to self-isolate.

The community should call the Police on 131 444 to report people who should be self-isolating and are not.

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