With the ever evolving health crisis of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), Scotland Islanders are encouraged to be aware of and practice the very best health advice. Currently, NSW is preparing for the shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours. What does this mean and how can you prepare? This advice is valid for today and may be (and is likely to be) superseded soon.

1: Please do not panic. Being prepared is a measured response with information. With sensible measures, all members of our community should be able to feel safe.

2: A shutdown is different to a lockdown. Shops, medical suppliers and transport will all be open. This means Colin and the Waterfront store will be open. The ferry and taxi services remain operational. Busses will still operate from Church Point, and onwards from Mona Vale. Pharmacies, doctors and chemists will all be operational. Schools remain open at this stage, but there is speculation that schools will follow Victoria’s lead and close within a few days. Although this is not confirmed, please be aware of this possibility. There may be provisions for the care taking of children of essential services workers.

3. What to do and not do. Please look out for each other. We are all largely here for the community. If there is ever a time to exemplify this community spirit, it is now. Look out for our vulnerable community members and seek to assist their isolation (maybe a few extra items bought at the shops and dropped off at the door of your older neighbour, means they do not go into a supermarket and interact with 150 people). Touching base communication wise does not need to be in person. Through this difficult time, please all be aware and not offended by social distancing measures. We are used to the catch up, the hugs, the time spent together on decks, couches and along the wharves. Knowing this is a temporary measure, find ways to do the catch-ups from a greater distance. SMS’s, calls, online, calling out over the decks, are all great ways to engage. Self-isolation, by definition, can be isolating. It need not be socially. Please communicate with your neighbours. They may be the ones that can provide the eggs, soap or washing detergent that you may need in a few weeks.

5. Reduce the spread by ensuring your hands and surfaces of frequent contact are cleaned regularly. Covid-19 spreads through water droplets that are on a surface. This is important to know as it is key to note that it is NOT spread by air. This means that wearing a mask does not protect the individual wearing the mask. Wearing masks though do significantly lower the spread from a person with the virus. If you do not have the virus, a mask will not protect you. Wearing a mask in public is a great measure to limit the spread in case you are unknowingly carrying the virus. What will assist protect you, is the thorough cleaning of hands and surfaces with soap or anti-bacterial gels. The virus is spread by touching an infected surface, then touching your face. Please also always sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it properly, or sneeze into your elbow.

6. Seek medical advice if you are feeling ill. Self-isolate immediately and ring your doctor prior to visiting if you are feeling: feverflu-like symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing, difficulty breathing, which may develop into pneumoniasore throatfatigue.

Feel free to use this online guide to check your symptoms. If you feel you may have Coronavirus and want to discuss this, please call the free hotline, at ANY time (24/7) on 1800 020 080.

7. We are unique in that we are an enclave. We can use this natural moat to a limited advantage. Although this may be counter to your tendencies, please limit interactions with others. This includes limiting visitations to the island, where possible. SIRA is not enforcing (and does not have the authority to anyway) any lockdown of the island. We are simply highlighting the beneficial reasons for limiting interactions to slow the spread. If you suspect or are confirmed to have Coronavirus, self-isolate immediately and notify others you have interacted with in the past 14 days.

8. Communicate. Please continue to be a community. A thriving community that cares, looks out for and understands each other. Get online and ask for supplies if you are low. Offer services to others that could help self-isolation. Use the services of others if you are able to. Do not be afraid to use the emergency services if required.

We hope that this information assists you and the community as we pull together (from a safe distance of course) through this testing time.

All information contained in this email is gathered from reputable and Australian governmental sources. For more information, including great explinations and frequent questions, please go to these links: Australian Government Department of Health – Covid19 and Health Direct Australian Government Advice.

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