December 6th, 2020Just sayin’…
Mostly I was surprised because it didn’t come from an official channel, just from a mate who was in the know.
But I didn’t want to be the one popping something up on social media like “The Local believes…” or “Rumours are rife…” It would be a hard one to pull down if it was all wrong and, anyway, surely facts are the most important thing right now?
(Oh, sorry, just saw this in the Ballarat Courier’s reporting from last Thursday: “The Courier understands that due to Hepburn Shire’s almost near-absence of the virus – there were two cases attributed to residents from the shire in early August – the traces were more likely to be from a visitor to Daylesford.” That’s helpful. Just exactly who understands? Do visitors do different poo to locals? What the?)
Anyway, I started my calls. Hepburn Shire first, but as the very nice receptionist explained, as all three people I asked for were unavailable, “it is lunchtime”. Next was newly-annointed mayor Lesley Hewitt. Voicemail. Then Central Highlands Water but the recording told me there could be a wait for a staff member to answer. I tried the mobile of a contact but nothing. Then Daylesford Macedon Tourism CEO Steve Wroe, voicemail. Then Birch Ward Cr Jen Bray, who did answer but said she could not confirm or deny, but would look into it for me.
I then tried the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus media hotline. That worked. Someone picked up the phone and mumbled at me. “Are you media liaison?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “Sorry, I just took a bite of my lunch.”
Anyway, Lachlan could not confirm or deny either but said if anything was happening it would be on that mid-afternoon’s media release. “Email and I’ll make sure you get the release,” he promised.
Then I got an email from the council’s PR who said to talk to Central Highlands Rural Health and I did. Communications manager Helen Edwards finally confirmed what I knew was true, and just simply said people should stick to the health guidelines and get tested if they had any symptoms. Easy. No stress, no fake news, just “yes, true” and good advice.
I still don’t know why the run-around. COVID-19 is pretty much here until the vaccine kicks in and we have to be aware but not alarmed. I would have thought that starts with communication. (Why did it take three days for the announcement?)
To those who got back to me, many thanks. Hepburn Shire Mayor Lesley Hewitt, Cr Jen Bray and communications manager Maria Abate and Central Highland Water’s Peter Blackburn. Oh, and I did get that DHHS release – after I emailed again when I saw it on other papers’ social media and complained. Just sayin’…