Cowra’s Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) has shown just how important it is, after pumping resources into Cowra’s COVID response in recent weeks. The LEMC is chaired by Cowra Shire Council General Manager Paul Devery and includes representatives from the Police, Ambulance, Rural Fire Service, NSW Fire & Rescue, Health NSW, SES, Essential Energy, Council and Local Land Services. Inspector Adam Beard is the Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCON) and Council employee Harvey Nicholson is the Local Emergency Management Officer (LEMO).
The committee meets all year round with much of the focus being on planning for emergency situations be they fire, flood or in this instance a health pandemic. When an emergency situation is declared Inspector Beard as the LEOCON controls the response. With the emergence of COVID in Cowra over the past month Inspector Beard has stood up the LEMC in an emer-gency capacity.
The Western NSW Local Health District gave less than 24hours notice of the intention to establish a COVID surveillance, drive through testing clinic in Cowra, following the first positive sewage detection, and the plans that had been developed by the LEMC were put in place.
This was initially planned for three days, but after Cowra recorded its first positive case of COVID-19, the testing continued.
“The planning had been undertaken by key personnel Pauline Rowston Manager of Cowra and Grenfell Health Service, LEOCON Inspector Beard and LEMO Harvey Nicholson so we were ready to go,” Mr Devery said.
With much appreciated co-operation of the Cowra Show Society and Showground Trust the clinic was up and operating smoothly the next morning.
Council, the SES and local police played key roles in the testing clinic and last weekend’s ADF clinic, blocking off roads and controlling traffic to ensure hundreds of vehicles at any one time could safely enter and exit the Showground when driving through to get tested, whilst pedestrians attending the vaccination clinic were able to cross the busy roads in a safe manner.
To Monday September 27, 4,955 tests had been processed at the drive through clinic, a much envied local response across the western region.
As of Monday September 27, 27 cases had been recorded in Cowra. The seven day lockdown imposed on the shire was ex-tended for another seven days to midnight Monday October 4.
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