Saturday, April 13, 2024

Dubbo cattle sales cancelled after staff test positive to COVID-19

Dubbo Regional Council has announced the cancellation of two weeks of upcoming livestock sales following the detection of two positive COVID-19 cases in staff at the Dubbo Regional Livestock markets (DRLM).

The news came as the city recorded 31 of the region’s 53 new COVID-19 cases – more than double the previous day’s figure.

Dubbo remains at the centre of the western NSW outbreak, with one aged care facility now locked down after three residents and a staff member tested positive following an initial infection of a staff member earlier this week.

More than 100 Dubbo residents have now tested positive to coronavirus. Of the 53 who tested positive in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, NSW Health says around half were infectious in the community for some period of time.

Pleasingly, around 50% of residents in the western Local Health District have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to date. The Australian Defence Force has played a role in boosting vaccination rates after setting up pop-up vaccination hubs in the LGA.

“In order to prioritise public health and safety, and to ensure the livestock industry remains viable as an essential operation, Dubbo Regional Council (DRC), the Dubbo Stock and Station Agents (DSSA) and key industry stakeholders have been consulting with NSW Health about the upcoming sales at the Dubbo Regional Livestock markets (DRLM), and have made the decision to cancel two weeks of upcoming sales scheduled from Monday 6 September,” Council said in a statement today.

This means that the scheduled sheep sale for 6 and 13 September, and the prime cattle sale on 9 and 16 September will not proceed.

“In the best interest of animal welfare, this week’s rescheduled prime cattle sale set for new time of 9am on Saturday 4 September will still proceed; however, there will be very strict conditions placed on people who are attending this sale. This includes very limited access, limited staffing and rapid onsite COVID-19 testing upon entry. These measures being undertaken are in the best interest the broader livestock industry, the safety of anyone who attends the DRLM and the broader community,” Council said.

“On the advice of NSW Health and the need for industry certainty, this decision has been made after a further two people who had been at the facility in the past week tested positive for COVID-19. We are working closely with NSW Health to identify close and casual contacts. However, as a precaution, anyone who attended the cattle sale on Thursday 26 August or sheep sale on Monday 30 August should isolate and get tested.

“The DLRM has already undergone a deep clean in line with the standards identified by public health and Safe Work NSW, and is prepared for the limited operations of the Prime Cattle Sale on Saturday 4 September at 9am, adhering to strict COVIDSafe protocols in place at the sale yards.”

Council said it was doing all it could to ensures its premises were safe for customers and staff.

“We know this is a part of running an essential business during a pandemic, and Dubbo Regional Council wants to assure the agricultural industry that our operations are COVIDSafe and there are strict conditions of entry for anyone attending sales,” Council said.

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