Council is mitigating the adverse impacts of the emerging COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring the continuation of critical services and the health and safety of its residents, employees and broader community.
This page will keep you updated with the latest official information from Queensland Health, the Australian Government and other relevant agencies as planning continues.
For up to date information visit:
Australian Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Alert
Australian Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
Queensland Government - Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
Queensland Health - Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention
The safety of the community, customers and staff is our main priority.
Council's Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) will continue to act in the interests of all residents and will remain on high alert regarding this pandemic.
Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction
Council is working with businesses, community groups, local event organisers and tourism operators to assist them following the Australian Government's direction which bans non-essential indoor gatherings and all outdoor gatherings. This information is subject to change so we advise you refer to the links below.
For enquiries about local events, please contact Council directly.
For all further information, please refer to the advice from the relevant state and federal agencies:
Limits on public gathering for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Local business requirements
Council is continuing to assist providing up to date information for its local business community to ensure everyone is aware of the new requirements, as we all adapt to the progressive nature of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Queensland Government - Non-essential Business Closure Direction (No. 4)
For information on COVID-19, please visit the Queensland Health website: www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.
Frequently asked questions
Does the Queensland Government have an up-to-date list of Frequently Asked Questions?
Yes, the Queensland Government maintains and updates their FAQs every day. Their information sheet answers common questions about COVID-19 including what it is, how it spreads, if you should get tested, who is most and risk and if you should attend public gatherings.
What is coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a recently identified strain of coronavirus in humans.
Coronaviruses form a large family of viruses that can cause a range of illnesses. These include the common cold as well as more serious diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and the more recent coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As there is no specific treatment for people who are sick with COVID-19, we all need to remain alert to the common symptoms which include:
- flu-like symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing
- difficulty breathing, which may develop into pneumonia
- sore throat
How can I keep up-to-date with information and access resources such as posters?
Council is putting out regular information relating to local impacts through this page and social media channels.
The Australian Government's Department of Health website also has a comprehensive range of reliable information resources including posters for the home and workplace.
For travel advice: www.smartraveller.gov.au
How do I stay well and prevent cross-infection?
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay at home if you are unwell.
- Practise social distancing, keeping 1.5 m away from others.
- Cover your mouth or nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Use disposable tissues and dispose of them in a bin.
- Regularly wipe down surfaces with disinfectant.
- Avoid contact with anyone showing adverse respiratory symptoms.
- Adhere to the Australian Government's 14-day self-isolation requirement if returning from overseas.
Visit Queensland Health, the lead agency for health advice, for more information on how to stay well and prevent cross-infection.
Will workplaces, schools, shops, supermarkets and airports close down?
The Australian Government has advised that from 16 March 2020, static, non-essential gatherings should be limited.
For all up-to-date information on the limits on public gatherings due to coronavirus (COVID-19) please refer to the Australian Government’s Limits on public gatherings for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Will council services continue as normal?
Council has activated its Business Continuity Plan to ensure the continuation of critical business. Teams are working and planning across Council to ensure continuation of essential services.
Council is receiving regular briefs from Federal and State health authorities to assist with planning; and Pandemic Plans has also been activated.
What resources are available for local businesses?
The Australian Government has announced an economic stimulus package and developed fact sheets for the general public and industry.
The Queensland Government also has released an Immediate Industry Recovery Package to provide relief to Queensland industries, businesses and workers.
Contact 1300 654 687 to find out about business support from Queensland Government.
What information is available for the health and aged care sector?
The Australian Government has developed a range of resources for aged care residents and families. Council has also written to local aged care facilities requesting that they ensure their employees are trained and understand the practices that need to be put in place for the management of disease outbreaks.
The symptoms to monitor are similar to other colds and flus and include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing (Australian Government Department of Health, 2020).
To help prevent transmission during an outbreak, routine cleaning should be increased for all common areas. This includes but is not limited to, frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, bathroom taps, chairs, tables, lift buttons and any shared areas such as common kitchen and dining areas. Surfaces should be cleaned using detergent and warm water and then disinfected.
What happens if I am directed to isolate at home?
The Australian Government has produced a range of facts sheets about home isolation and care.
Resources for people with disability to make a plan for COVID-19
The following resources have been made available by the Queenslanders with Disability Network or the Australia Government Disability Information website or Helpline Ph: 1800 643 787
The Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) Planning for COVID-19 is for people with disability, to assist them and their supporters to be informed and take actions to prepare for their own individual needs and circumstances during this pandemic.
It is important that people with disability can continue to access their essential supports and services and this includes essential disability supports. This tool helps people think about these essential disability supports across eight different functional areas and make a plan related to what they need to do in this COVID-19 time.
PCEP COVID-19 Planning Tool
My COVID-19 Plan
Printable STOP sign
This is a sign that you can put on your front door to let people know you are at higher risk:
Balonne Shire Council is prepared for any potential impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
While no cases have been detected in our health district, Council is taking a precautionary approach and following advice from the lead agency – Queensland Health.
The Balonne Shire Local Disaster Management Group is liaising with core members, advisors and the District Disaster Management Group.
Unfortunately Council has had to close a number of facilities to ensure the safety of the public. Click here for a full list.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 4620 8888 if you have any questions about council services.
Queensland Health provides timely health advice and Council encourages everyone to visit the links above for the most up to information and advice.
What is Novel coronavirus?
There is currently a global novel coronavirus pandemic. This novel coronavirus is still new and the world's medical sector is still learning about it.
Elderly people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
There haven’t yet been comprehensive studies that show the effect of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on pregnant women and their babies. If you are pregnant, you should continue to take good care of your health, and just like everyone else, wash your hands and keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing, or who you know to be sick. Seek medical attention if you experience any signs of illness at any time during your pregnancy. While there have been confirmed cases in children, a majority of the cases globally are in adults.
Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:
- a cough
- sore throat
- shortness of breath.
Anyone who has travelled overseas in the past 14 days, and feels unwell, should call their doctor immediately. Before your appointment, please call ahead and advise of your symptoms and recent travel so they can prepare for your visit. People with suspected novel coronavirus will be tested.
You might catch novel coronavirus (COVID-19) if:
- someone with the virus sneezes or coughs on to you
- someone with the virus coughed or sneezed on to a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, and you get the infected droplets on your hands and then transfer them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat.
There are 5 ways we can all help stop the spread of viruses
- Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth. And avoid shaking hands.
- Stay home if you are unwell.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is unwell – try to stay 1.5m away from anyone coughing or sneezing.
Looking after yourself by eating a healthy balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, sleeping well and reducing stress is important all the time.
If you have any questions or concerns please call Queensland Health on 13 HEALTH. (13 43 25 84).
St George Respiratory Clinic
If you have an upper respiratory tract infection, fever or any of the symptoms listed; sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, cold/flu symptoms, you can be seen in the Federal government St George Respiratory Clinic with no patient cost.