Today, the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Sonya Bennett has extended the hotspot for the purposes of Commonwealth support for the Municipality of Katherine, and Robinson River and surrounding homelands, until 11:59 pm on 24 November 2021.
This timeframe aligns with the targeted health response implemented by the Northern Territory Government in Katherine.
Over thirty cases have been associated with the emerging cluster, with cases infectious whilst in the community. Genomic testing has now confirmed the current cluster in Katherine and Robinson River is linked to a cluster in Katherine earlier this month. This suggests the possibility of undetected chains of transmission of COVID-19 in the community. These cases pose an exposure risk to the people within the areas, including Aboriginal and/or 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 2 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.