Covid breaking point

Friday January 07, 2022

AT what point does a system break down?

That is the question I ask myself in relation to the State Government’s handling of the Covid response.

Testing stations overworked and understaffed, where residents are waiting up to eight hours to get tested.

Mixed messages on testing, initially being told to get tested no matter what, then when the system was overloaded, the Premier blaming people for overwhelming the testing stations because they had no symptoms and that they should instead be using a Rapid Antigen Test that they can buy from the local chemist.

The only problem is up until three weeks ago these home-based kits, were illegal in South Australia.

Even though there were calls back in March 2021 to change the regulations, it took until the system was completely overwhelmed for this to occur.

These kits are now rarer than an Adelaide Crows Grand final – yes, I am a Port supporter.

The cost of the kits, if you can find one, is borne by the individual, yet in other states, the state government is buying them up in the millions to supply their residents, which is causing supply issues for our State.

The hospital system which was already stretched are now deferring elective surgery until an unknown date and face a workforce crisis due to close contact isolation for numerous nursing and medical staff – their work is the very definition of close contact.

The definition of close contact has waxed and waned between a State Government definition of 15 minutes and a Federal Government benchmark of four hours. It seems in South Australia we are adopting both definitions, just depending on the circumstance – work that one out.

Whilst some public servants can work from home every time they are deemed a close contact, numerous seven-day isolations become unviable for small business owners and the self-employed?

It is difficult to fix someone’s roof, install someone’s kitchen or tile someone’s bathroom from home. For many tradespeople self-isolation equals no income.

If we follow the health advice, which is don’t go out for a meal or a drink in your favourite restaurant or local pub, many businesses simply will not survive.

If the Government had a plan to allow the Virus into South Australia, they must also ensure that those in our community that are self-employed gets the same support as those whose jobs haven’t been affected by Covid or are able to work from home.


Troy Bell,

Member for Mount Gambier