COVID-19 will spread as restrictions ease, here's the advice from our health chief

READY TO OPEN: On Monday October 11 restrictions ease for the fully vaccinated in the first step toward living without the constant threat of lockdowns triggered by a single COVID case. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM
READY TO OPEN: On Monday October 11 restrictions ease for the fully vaccinated in the first step toward living without the constant threat of lockdowns triggered by a single COVID case. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM

On Monday, NSW takes the first steps on the roadmap out of the restrictions that have so disrupted our lives since COVID-19 arrived in Australia.

Our health district chief Scott McLachlan says it's time, but he's also urged people to proceed with caution as the pandemic virus will spread.

"We know it will spread at greater numbers with the restrictions easing," he said on Friday.

"We've got a good level of vaccination, we've got good plans in place for caring for people with COVID in our communities and helping to identify that.

"I think the changes that are coming are necessary for us as a society and it's going to be crucial that we all play our role in that."

Keeping your distance, practicing good hand hygiene and wearing a mask are all measures we need to continue, Mr McLachlan said.

Getting tested - and getting kids tested - at the first sign of symptoms is also crucial.

"We know there will be more COVID spread around our community as people circulate and gather more," Mr McLachlan said.

"Getting tested will be the way that we know where COVID is around our community."

For those who are vaccinated, the symptoms might just seem like hayfever and there's certainly plenty of that at the moment with this incredible season for grasses and crops.

"What we now know is that when people have been double-dose vaccinated the signs are symptoms you get are very similar to hayfever," Mr McLachlan said.

If you're in the 10 per cent of the population that hasn't had a first dose of vaccine yet, please look at your options for booking that appointment.

"We know that not everyone has had a vaccination, some people don't want to have a vaccination and we understand and respect that but vaccination will stop the spread of COVID," Mr McLachlan said.

"It will stop you picking up COVID, it will stop you spreading COVID, it will definitely stop you getting as crook as you might have done without vaccination."

Mr McLachlan also reminded people they don't have full protection until two weeks after their second dose of the vaccine.

"If we got back two weeks from today we were about 57 per cent of our eligible population getting vaccinated with two doses, that's a long way from 70 and 80 per cent of people with full protection," he said.

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Mr McLachlan urged businesses to review their COVID plans, and ensure they are taking the steps they need to to keep staff and customers safe.

"All those places have got their COVID action plan, things that they know they've got to have in place to minimise the spread and the risk to both staff and customers," Mr Mr Lachlan said.

"I'd encourage everyone to make sure they dust those off, make sure they've got a good plan for what happens when you have someone with COVID coming into your business or whatever it might be.

"We will need to get used to some changes but a lot of the rigour around notifications will continue."

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