And in The Gong…

While the Covid-19 stats are looking a bit better for the state, and vaccination figures are very encouraging, here in Wollongong things are not so good. Yes, I know the figures look small compared with what has happened elsewhere in the world, but they still are concerning.

I updated the post before last with this graph that appeared on Facebook on Sunday:

You may see that says “Authorised by Paul Scully MP” — he is our representative in the NSW Parliament, and a good one too. There has been, though things are improving, a shortfall in supply of Pfizer vaccines to our area, resulting in the government’s special vaccine hub working below the capacity it was designed for.

There was a rather ominous news item on our local ABC on Sunday.

Wollongong Hospital has a new triage tent installed outside the entrance to the Emergency Department on Darling Street to assist with potential increases in ED demand from COVID.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District says the marquee will allow ED staff to access and triage patients, perform rapid testing and transfer patients based on clinical need.

Chief Executive Margot Mains says the marquee is on stand-by and will be activated if required.

(photo: Nick McLaren, ABC Illawarra)

The stats released on Sunday at 11am were as follows:

Here is the breakdown — and do note the increase in The Gong! There were 75 new COVID-19 cases in our Health District, as follows:

59 cases who are residents of Wollongong Local Government Area — 46 the previous day – 14 are linked to known cases and 45 are under investigation

10 cases who are residents of Shellharbour LGA – six are linked to known cases and four are under investigation

5 cases who are residents of Shoalhaven LGA – three are linked to a known cases and two are under investigation

1 case who is a resident of Kiama LGA – investigations are ongoing.

Update

Figures released today at 11.00 am: 787 new cases in the state, 63 in our Health District — so good news and bad news!

Details are as follows:

  • 43 cases who are residents of Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) – 13 are linked to known cases and 30 are under investigation
  • 11 cases who are residents of Shellharbour LGA – 10 are linked to known cases and one is under investigation
  • 9 cases who are residents of Shoalhaven LGA – four are linked to a known cases and five are under investigation.

Sadly, the District is reporting the death of one person with COVID-19. A man in his 70s from the Wollongong LGA died at Wollongong Hospital. He was not vaccinated. The District extends its sincere condolences to his loved ones.

This is looking encouraging:

Gladys is suggesting 11 October as the day we relax quite a bit.

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 64 — the kids and the bunnies are ok!

Yes, let’s focus today on the good stuff. First, this story is one-up on all those reactionary wankers on places like Sky — Donners for example — who have been wringing their hands and beating their breasts about the parlous state of education today. Let’s look at these kids, 15, 14 and 15 respectively.

Here is the story:

And as reported on our ABC:

The brains behind a popular COVID-19 tracking website have unmasked themselves — and much to everyone’s surprise, it turns out they’re a trio of teenage boys.

The faces behind the data website, CovidBase AU, are Jack, Darcy and Wesley and they chose the day they got their Moderna vaccinations to reveal their identities.

The group said the idea for the website came about after wanting to create a place to simplify the data and present it in an easy-to-understand format.

The website has already become a big favourite of thousands of Australians. 

“Darcy’s really skilled with coding and I’m sort of really into the news …and have been really interested in the data. So we’ve decided to take what we’ve been doing and sort of create something with it,” Jack told ABC News.

And in The Guardian:

Nick Evershed, the data and interactives editor at Guardian Australia, said CovidBaseAU had done impressive work collating hard-to-find information.

“There has been a few occasions, particularly with the numbers around vaccine imports and supply, where I’ve cross-checked my numbers against theirs,” he said.

“They did a really good job at combing through all the disparate media releases and press conferences in the early stages of the rollout to piece together a good picture of how many doses Australia was producing or importing at various points, which was extremely helpful as I was compiling similar data.”

Jack, Wesley and Darcy were praised by fellow Twitter users after revealing their identities, amassing more than 16,000 likes in a 24-hour period, as well as a part-time job offer from the head of public health at the Burnet Institute.

“You three pull off some awesome work!” Ben Krauth wrote. Prof Mark Stoove added: “Nice work boys! Need a part-time job?”

How encouraging to hear and read a story like this! The kids are OK! Check it out!

The Bunnies are headed for the Grand Final!

Yes, that deserves a big heading. They have been almost there several times in recent years — 2019 for example.

Great images of Redfern and my old stomping ground there!

Last night’s game against Manly Sea Eagles:

Check my earlier posts on this topic!
Update

Penrith Panthers beat Melbourne Storm 10-6 this afternoon, so there is the Grand Final: Bunnies vs Panthers.

So how is Covid-19 going in Wollongong?

If you are a virus, you’d say rather well.

103 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD. Dr Chant says Wollongong and Shellharbour most affected.

For the 24 hour period to 8pm Thursday, 23 September there were 103 new COVID-19 cases recorded for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. Details are as follows:

  • 82 cases who are residents of Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) – 18 are linked to known cases and investigations are continuing for 64
  • 14 cases who are residents of Shellharbour LGA – eight are linked to known cases and six are under investigation
  • 5 cases who are resident of Shoalhaven LGA – three are linked to a known cases and two are under investigation
  • 2 cases who are residents of Kiama LGA – both are linked to known cases  
From WIN-TV

Community acquired COVID-19 cases reported since 16 June 2021, when the first case in this outbreak was reported — 1,001.

Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 — 1,168.

From the Illawarra Mercury:

While occupants of the Piccadilly Motor Inn in Wollongong’s Crown Street have been in isolation for days, NSW’s deputy chief health officer has now officially put the building in lockdown.

A declaration that the site is a “high risk COVID-19 premises”, signed by Dr Marianne Gale, came into force at 10.30am.

The document said three rooms accommodated at least one person who had tested positive for COVID, while another 31 had an occupant deemed to be a close contact.

The motor inn contains 35 rooms in total.

Thursday’s Illawarra Mercury expanded on the story:

Pandemic hits Wollongong homeless hard as Piccadilly placed under police lockdown

Dylan Thomas doesn’t dream of going too far once lockdown ends – just down to Dicey Riley’s on Crown St to sing his usual number – Tracy Chapman’s Give Me One Reason – at Wednesday night karaoke.

But for now, even a humble dream feels a world away.

Lockdown has been an inconvenience for many. For Mr Thomas, who is homeless, beset by medical problems and who has an intellectual disability, it has thrown an already complicated existence into total disarray.

The support services he relied on for help with groceries, cleaning and doctors’ appointments vanished when the workers were no longer able to visit. His arthritis flared due to missed medical appointments, so he couldn’t walk at all and had to be hospitalised.

The 33-year-old can’t return to the emergency accommodation he had at Wollongong’s Piccadilly Motor Inn because that place – with its close confines and communal kitchen – has birthed a COVID-19 cluster and is under day-and-night police guard, with no one allowed in or out.

As a close contact to COVID-positive residents, he now has to stay isolated at Wollongong Hospital for two weeks, alone in his room.

So that’s how it’s going here in The Gong. And with schools preparing to go back:

Update

After this post published I saw this from NSW Health’s list of local Covid contact sites.

Yes, my doctor! I was there the day before…

Today’s figures were posted between 11am and noon:

70 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD. Down from 103 yesterday.

46 cases who are residents of Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) – 11 are linked to known cases and 35 are under investigation

13 cases who are residents of Shellharbour LGA – six are linked to known cases and seven are under investigation

11 cases who are residents of Shoalhaven LGA – two are linked to a known cases and nine are under investigation

Adding this powerful graphic from our local member of the NSW Parliament, Paul Scully. (He’s a good one too!)

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 63 — inspiring or interesting finds

With all that has been said and done lately about China and the weirdly named and maybe ill-begotten AUKUS (in reverse SUKU-A) this story, while featuring, has been less prominent than it deserves to be. Our ABC has been taking notice:

Cyrus Janssen is no fool but is quite admittedly friendly to China and its regime. He is worth listening to.

I just wanted to draw your attention to the story in case you haven’t noted it yet. But now I just want to share some delightful finds. First is one of the most amazing photos you will ever see — though chances are you have already seen it! This explains the context:

Yesterday CNN released a big photo and showed it to the whole world…
… a picture that will remain in history… taken by the lens of photographer Anil Prabhakar in the forest in Indonesia.
The image shows an orangutan currently under threat of extinction while stretching out his hand to help a geologist who fell into a mud pool during his search…
… a touching scene…
A great lesson for people who threaten their habitat and its kind…
When the photographer uploaded the photo, he wrote above:
In a time when the concept of humanity dies, animals lead us to the principles of humanity…
… Let’s think…

Rather different — very different! — is this cartoon, which appeals to me given that COVID in recent weeks has made me an online supermarket shopper!

Well, that will do for today! I am, by the way, expecting my latest Woolworth’s order to be delivered contact-free later today!

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 62 — when patience wears thin

Good one — shared on FB by that wonderful US meteorologist (and blogger) Dan Satterfield.

And in Melbourne in recent days we have had spectacles we could well do without. Yes, there are valid reasons for affected workers to be pissed off — but trashing their own union does not come to mind as a good move. Thanks to numerous analyses — and an excellent photo-set from Al Jazeera — we can have little doubt about the mischief-makers who have hijacked the cause.

On Facebook I noted: Just what we do not need — the malignant American madness on our streets! No need for an expert! I saw on FB with my own eyes an anti-vaxxer inviting people to come join yesterday’s fracas and advising hi-viz to “blend in”! Bastards.

This was posted last night by the South Coast Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris and represents the views of our local Illawarra union movement. Kudos!

Melbourne meanwhile has had other happenings:

Not the first time for Oz of course, though it is not as great an issue here as in many other parts of the world — New Zealand and Indonesia just to name neighbouring countries. But it does happen. See my blog archive: Australia not earthquake free.

I remember this one well, though the effects in Sydney were minor. My father had just died and I was in my mother’s room in her Glebe Point old people’s home, on the phone making funeral arrangements. “Shit! An earthquake!” I recall saying inadvertently to the person on the other end of the line as the room distinctly shook.

My father, mother and I were living in West Wollongong in 1973 when a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning. Not only were we shaken but the noise was amazingly loud. The ceiling was damaged in one room at The Illawarra Grammar School where I was teaching at the time, the local radio station was off the air for several minutes, the lights went out at the Steelworks and in the coal mines – that would have been scary – and a large crack appeared in the front of the Department of Education building in Wollongong. One woman reported being thrown out of bed and afterwards laughed that this was a rather extreme way for her boss to make sure she got up early enough for work. At TIGS we joked that the quake was a “punishment” for the previous night’s rather pleasant wine tasting in the very room that was damaged; the Reverend Gentleman who founded the school was of evangelical persuasion and his portrait had fallen off the wall in presumed disapproval. The epicentre of that quake was out towards Picton/Appin. There is an active fault in that region.

There are several active faults in Australia, but we are far from the edges of tectonic plates so earthquakes such as those in the Pacific rim of fire are unknown here. Nonetheless a 2002 report says “two separate geological studies have concluded that an area from Adelaide to south-east Victoria is seismically active and the next ‘big one’ could endanger lives and infrastructure.”

It just might be of course that Jacinta Ardern is more pissed off about AUKUS than we realised!

The earthquake that hit Victoria on Wednesday morning is probably the result of tectonic plate pressure in New Zealand that built up slowly and then released suddenly in a rupture at a fault east of Melbourne.