After Months Of Hell, Wilcannia Has No Active COVID Cases

The regional NSW town has recorded no new cases in more than a fortnight.

Wilcannia COVID

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Wilcannia is celebrating zero active COVID cases after the last two infected residents overcame the virus on Wednesday.

The Far West Local Health District said they were “very impressed” by the regional NSW town’s efforts, after confirming that the 152 people who had the virus had recovered, and recorded no new cases in over a fortnight.

“It was a big surprise to myself, and I suppose, to the community,” Baarkindji man Owen Whyman told the ABC about the good news. “They didn’t realise how quick this would end, but everyone got together, and went to get tested.”

“It feels really great to not have any other cases coming around,” 13-year-old Amelia said to the broadcaster. “We want to be free, not in lockdown anymore.”

“It’s much better to be out at the river … going to the shop, buying a feed, and just going to sit at other family members’ houses having a talk, a little sit-down at the fire,” she said.

In August, Wilcannia experienced a severe wave of the Delta variant, with five percent of their small population contracting COVID in the first week alone. The case has been described as the worst per capita outbreak in the country , and a humanitarian crisis — with one-in-15 people testing positive during the months-long spike in the predominantly Indigenous area.

The community was outraged at the lack of support and resources at the time, despite voicing fears to the state government and requesting precautionary measures throughout the year prior.

Despite the development, experts are still wary that new cases are cropping up in other Aboriginal communities in the state, with community health workers reportedly working around the clock to try and manage cases and the vaccination rollout. In the days leading up to NSW reopening on Monday, Indigenous vaccination rates were an estimated 15 percent lower than the rest of the region’s population in Western NSW.

Photo Credit: Bahnfrend