REGION AT HIGH RISK
New report reveals Balonne Shire towns are in the ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 infections
SOME towns in the Balonne shire have a high potential for severe illness of there was a COVID-19 outbreak, a new study has revealed.
A NEW study has revealed a Balonne Shire town has a high potential for severe illness if there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
UNSW Business School has partnered with Australian actuarial and strategic analytics consulting firm Finity to map vulnerable populations in Australia at severe risk if they contract coronavirus.
The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index ranks every postcode to identify where people are at risk of suffering severe symptoms if they become infected.
With a score of 100 representing the postcodes at highest risk of susceptibility, St George received a score of 76 and is in the yellow zone, which means the town has moderate potential for severe illness in case of an outbreak.
Bollon received a score of 88, which is considered to be in the red zone, meaning it has clusters of co-morbidity risk factors that may have greater potential for severe illness in the case of an outbreak.
Mungindi received a risk score percentile of 79 (yellow), Thallon 75 (yellow) and Dirranbandi 51 (green).
The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index maps co-morbidities factors such as age, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and lung disease, as well as known multidimensional characteristics of individuals in households.
Researchers said the results would help make decisions about selectively lifting lockdown or social distancing measures, which would enable a balanced approach to reinvigorating the economy while keeping the population safe.
Finity principal Aaron Cutter said initial results indicated regional areas were more susceptible to severe symptoms if COVID-19 was contracted.
“The results are preliminary, but show that while the initial wave of COVID-19 cases was concentrated around capital cities due to population density plus proximity to cruise ships and international airports, these areas have lower proportions of highly susceptible individuals compared to the rest of Australia,” he said.
“The index reveals that regional areas actually have greater susceptibility — not only because of age but due to a number of other key characteristics.”
While no cases have yet been confirmed in the southwest, the South West Hospital and Health Service has revealed its comprehensive plans to manage a potential coronavirus outbreak, including ensuring each facility has adequate supplies, equipment and other contingencies.
They encourage southwest residents to not be alarmed about novel coronavirus, but remain aware and informed.
A person is eligible for testing if they have a fever, respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case or travelled overseas in the past 14 days.
These symptoms include fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Find out more about the COVID-19 Susceptibility Index at www.finity.com.au.
RED ZONE: The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index ranks every postcode potential of suffering severe symptoms.