Today, the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Sonya Bennett has extended the Hotspot for the purposes of Commonwealth support for Robinson River and surrounding homelands, until 11:59pm on 22 November 2021.
This timeframe aligns with the timeframes for targeted health response in place from the Northern Territory Government.
Aligning with the announcement from the Northern Territory Government, the “Robinson River and surrounding homelands” is defined as the area bounded by the straight lines connecting in succession the following Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94) geographic co-ordinates:
- S17 59 38.17 and E136 50 46.34
- S17 58 46.16 and E138 0 0.00
- S16 23 36.22 and E138 0 0.00
- S16 24 23.39 and E136 49 49.90
A map of the area included in the Hotspot declaration can be found on the Northern Territory Government website.
Nineteen cases have been associated with the emerging cluster, with cases infectious whilst in the community. The source of acquisition is currently unknown, however there are concerns that these new cases may be linked to cases detected in the Katherine region earlier in the month. These cases pose an exposure risk to the people within these areas, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dr Bennett asks people in these regions to continue to follow their local Health Department directions and to book their vaccinations.
About hotspots for Commonwealth support
Declaring a hotspot for Commonwealth support enables the Commonwealth to:
- provide personal protective equipment (PPE) from the National Medical Stockpile
- support aged care facilities, including by providing PPE and the single site workforce supplement, and integrating an aged care response centre into the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre
- provide help with contact tracing
- offer testing to those with no symptoms via GP-led respiratory clinics
- reprioritise vaccine supplies, if required
- offer the COVID-19 Disaster Payment* to eligible workers
- offer access to two telehealth consultation items through the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
- provide support for childcare services, including additional allowable absences, gap fee waivers and support payments, if other eligibility criteria are met.