This community has one of our most at-risk populations when it comes to COVID-19, but campers are fleeing to the area. Residents are urging they be locked down.
This community has one of our most at-risk populations when it comes to COVID-19, but campers are fleeing to the area. Residents are urging they be locked down.

'Nursing home' island’s unique COVID—19 risk

A MACLEAY Island resident is pleading with the Queensland Government to lock down their "nursing home" community, to save lives.

"The (Southern Moreton Bay) islands are basically a nursing home," said Gayle Nemeth, a resident on the island for 30 years and prominent maker of stock whips.

"We know each other and we look after each other here," she said of the island communities - home to one of the state's largest demographic of elderly residents.

"They're calling for a care army, that's what we've already got here... so we don't want to lose anybody."

However Ms Nemeth said vacant land owners and Easter campers were fleeing to the island, potentially bringing with them COVID-19.

"They are starting to arrive," she said.

Macleay Island resident Gayle Nemeth.
Macleay Island resident Gayle Nemeth.

She said people who owned a block of land on the islands but did not live there were arriving and camping on their land in caravans and even in shipping containers, a practice that would usually require council approval.

"So there are people here now displaying NSW number plates who were simply stopped at the border and said they lived here.

 

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"People have reported seeing Victorian plates on cars on Russell Island.

"Our shops are depleted."

"This COVID-19 Easter, it should be out of the question.

"In past years we've put up with it but considering the (islands') demographic... they should be kept away.

"I hope something can be done in the next few days to stop the barges bring on holiday makers over here for Easter."

Ms Nemeth is joined by an chorus of other locals worried about their vulnerable community and comes after Bribie Island residents urged access to their island be restricted.

In Facebook post to a local community group, resident begged other residents to be vigilant.

"This is why we need to take the pandemic extremely seriously, today.

"Our population is far more vulnerable than the average due to the high number of elderly and those with chronic diseases," she said.

Last week, as news broke that Stradbroke Island would be locked down, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams urged people not to travel to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.

"While there is no official ban on travel to our other Redlands Coast islands, the LDMG (Local Disaster Management Group) and Council continue to encourage people to reconsider their need for non-essential travel to Coochiemudlo (Goochie mudlo), Russell (Canaipa), Lamb (Ngudooroo), Macleay (Jencoomercha) and Karragarra islands, all in Southern Moreton Bay," Cr Williams said.

Meanwhile, the council last week also deployed islands and aged working groups to assisting vulnerable residents.

Originally published as "Nursing home" island's unique COVID-19 risk



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