‘Vast majority’ of 21 new COVID-19 cases in Dubbo are Aboriginal children


A schoolgirl in regional NSW has described fearing she may have put others in danger after testing positive to COVID-19.

Latoya Smith, 11, who lives in Dubbo, first got tested along with family members last Sunday. She didn’t receive her result until Friday.

“I felt pretty scared because I didn’t know when I got the COVID,” she told 9News.

“So, I might have put people in danger from it.”

Latoya Smith with her mother, Nane, at their home in Dubbo, regional NSW.
Latoya Smith with her mother, Nane, at their home in Dubbo, regional NSW. (Nine)

There are now 63 people across western NSW who are infected with the Delta strain of the virus — 59 in Dubbo and four in Walgett. Most of these are Indigenous people or children.

Dubbo Zoo’s accommodation was today converted into the region’s first medi-hotels.

The city of Dubbo in the central west of NSW. There are growning concerns about coronavirus cases in the region. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Western NSW Local Health District CEO Scott McLachlan said a child had been admitted to hospital.

Two additional cases were detected in Mudgee overnight and will be included in tomorrow’s figures.

Brendon Cutmore, Western NSW Local Health District Director of Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, said there are a number of support systems are in place.

He explained Cultural Cases Support Teams are helping homes with food and medical resources, and Social and Emotional Wellbeing Aboriginal Mental Health Clinicians have been enlisted.

Brendon Cutmore, Western NSW Local Health District Director of Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing. Dubbo coronavirus outbreak
Brendon Cutmore, Western NSW Local Health District Director of Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing. (9News)

“Please don’t be too proud in terms of reaching out and asking for help at the moment,” Mr Cutmore said.

For people who can’t reach testing clinics, there is an Aboriginal mobile clinic, but he said the most important thing is for people to stay in their own homes.

“Right now, through any crisis, normally our community response and our family response is that we gather together, and we normally share our resources, and we normally take care of each other in the way of pulling everybody together you know at nan and pops’ house, or at aunty and uncles’ home, but right now we’ve got to do this in a very different way,” Mr Cutmore said.

“I really need to encourage everybody to stay in their home.

“Don’t go down to nan and pops’ house or to aunty and uncles’ house to drop anything off to people or to check in. Use the phone, send a text, and if you’re really worried contact us and we’ll ensure the support services reach out to help your family.

“Right now the way that we stop this spread is that we stay in our own houses.”

Mr Cutmore said the community needs to protect young children as well as the elderly.

Western NSW Local Health District CEO, Scott McLachlan, said the situation is likely to worsen in the coming days. Dubbo coronavirus outbreak
Western NSW Local Health District CEO, Scott McLachlan, said the situation is likely to worsen in the coming days. (9News)

“This is a situation that will continue to grow,” Western NSW Local Health District CEO, Scott McLachlan warned.

“Those numbers will continue to increase in the next 24 hours again.

“Please stay at home, protect yourself, wear maks wherever possible outside of the house, socially distance, use your hand hygiene, and if you do need to go out make sure you check in to the facilities with your QR code.

“And please, take care of each other, this is time for us to all come together, show some love and appreciation for our communities.”

There are 36 venues of concern across the Dubbo region – 15 of those are close contact exposure sites. You can see them here, on the NSW Health website



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