Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has succeeded in his demand for more local information from Hunter New England Health on COVID-19 cases in our local district.

From now on, confirmed cases in local government areas will be notified, however, with the information administered by NSW Health, not by HNEH. The move was confirmed by the state’s Chief Medical officer.

Yesterday Mr Marshall blasted Hunter New England Health District ‘for refusing to tell the public if there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their local government area’.

There has been a strong demand from the community for local information.

The Courier had sought local COVID-19 details without success.

Hunter New England Health cited ‘privacy issues’ regarding local cases.

However detailed information was not sought – merely figures down to local council districts, in themselves vast areas.

Mr Marshall said it was ‘disgraceful’ communities were being ‘kept in the dark’ and argued the lack of official information was heightening tensions in the electorate and creating a sense of hysteria and panic in the community.

“Detailed, accurate and regularly updated information is crucial to avoiding what’s been happening right with people wildly speculating on social media, which causes further anxiety,” said Mr Marshall.

“It will help some people who aren’t taking it seriously to take it seriously when they know that there are actual cases of the virus in their local government area.

“If people are informed, they’re going to listen to the health warnings.”

Mr Marshall said lack of information had been eroding the public’s confidence in the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

“How can the community trust the authorities are doing the right thing by them and managing this situation well when the health district doesn’t trust the community with the facts?” he asked.

“Hunter New England Health is saying it’s a policy that they are only going to provide information on a health district basis.

Mr Marshall said the policy adopted by Hunter New England Health was not consistent with other health districts in the state and had asked Health Minister Brad Hazzard to intervene.

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