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EDITORIAL: COVID-19 vigilance is critical...

West Wimmera Health Service chief executive Ritchie Dodds’ response to a confirmed COVID-19 case in Nhill yesterday hit the nail on the head in assessing where we stood as a region at this stage of the pandemic.

Mr Dodds said ‘it was inevitable that COVID-19 would reach our communities so we must continue to be vigilant about implementing prevention strategies’.

Alongside the statement ‘vaccination is the best form of defence’, it was a simple endorsement of a consistent direction.

With the easing of Victorian restrictions in response to high vaccination rates and people travelling again, cases of this virus will and are surfacing in regional areas. 

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We’ve seen this reflected in wastewater testing results as well as confirmed cases in our region in the past couple of weeks.

With much of the adult population of the country now having a high level of protection through vaccination, it would be easy to start being flippant about the dangers of this disease.

But while many of us might be feeling a bit more relaxed about circumstances, families of young children who have spent two years trying to cope with fears and anxiety about everything from health and education to financial pressure, might feel short of having escaped the woods just yet.

Remember – you can still get the disease and pass it on, albeit at a reduced rate – regardless of vaccination. 

Vaccination is all about preventing serious illness and saving lives.

Families and their myriad of connections have presented a massive management challenge for authorities since the pandemic struck. 

While a lot of evidence suggests the virus has, overall, less impact on children’s health than adults, our youngest citizens remain vulnerable in many ways.

Apart from many still being unable to gain the protection from vaccination and knowing they can readily spread infection to other perhaps more vulnerable people, we’ve learnt the virus can still make some terribly sick. We also know it can also hurt them in other ways.

We can only guess what the fall-out will be from so much social isolation and the lack of opportunity for mental and physical opportunities, critical in stimulating growth, our children have already experienced. 

Perhaps the best incentive for communities maintaining strong preventative measures as we push forward is to further zero in on ensuring, to our best ability, to keep our schools free of this disease and open.

We want children to be able to mix, mingle, compete and learn and that is always going to be easier if we can ultimately declare a win over this ‘bug’.

The entire November 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!