The city's mayor has called for rumour-mongering about members of the community potentially having coronavirus to stop and urged people to listen to health authorities.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi has urged the community to "not make assumptions and allegations" and follow the directives and orders put in place by the state and federal governments as the city works to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
"These are difficult times," Councillor Dal Broi said.
"People need to calm down and not jump to conclusions about people having the virus.
"Take a step back, respect each other ... listen to the health authorities, federal and state.
"It is very difficult to accept, but accept we must - the last thing we want is to end up in a situation like Italy and the spread over there."
Cr Dal Broi also appealed to various leaders of community groups to help spread the message among their communities as the entire city needs to take action to reduce the impact of the virus.
"This is not a joke," Cr Dal Broi said.
"We need to make sure all measures are taken and I appeal to community leaders to help get the message out to their respective populations."
Cr Dal Broi said council has started to look at ways of providing relief where possible to the city's ratepayers, with a potential rate relief one possible path for council to take and encouraged anyone who was unsure of what service to touch base with to contact council.
Police to enforce new measures
The call comes as the region's police prepare to enforce new measures granted by emergency laws allowing them to fine those not following public health orders.
Murrumbidgee Police District Commander Superintendent Craig Ireland said officers have already been called out to several reports of self-isolation breaches.
"The majority of these reports have proven to be unfounded," Superintendent Ireland said.
"This health crisis is nothing like anything we've ever experienced, and I can understand members of the community are anxious.
"I am encouraged to see most members of the community are taking this situation seriously and heeding the social distancing advice of the government."
I want to say to those who think they can continue to go about their daily lives as normal - these are not normal times.Murrumbidgee Police District Commander Superintendent Craig Ireland
Under the new laws, police can issue an on-the-spot fine for those not complying with ministerial directions or public health orders.
Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and told to self-isolate or those who have returned from overseas and told to self-isolate will be fined if they are not complying with those orders, while those not following mass gathering or proper social distancing rules will also be fined.
Places of social gatherings - such as pubs, clubs and restaurants - which are found not to be following restrictions put in place will be fined, with fines for individuals totaling $1000 and businesses $5000.
"I want to assure the community we will be using this power," Superintendent Ireland said.
"I want to say to those who think they can continue to go about their daily lives as normal - these are not normal times.
"Please stay safe and continue to follow the official government advice so police do not need to intervene."
Health workers call for respect
The state's nursing and midwife association has called for respect to be shown to those who are working on the frontlines to combat the disease.
NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association general secretary Brett Holmes said health workers need to be treated with respect as they move throughout the community.
"Please do not treat nurses, midwives and other health workers like they are infectious," Mr Holmes said.
"These trained professionals should be respected and must not be abused, spat on or assaulted as they move through our communities, to and from their workplaces.
"The reality is nurses, midwives and other health workers are extremely aware of their own personal risks as they endeavour to care for others in our hospitals and communities. They deserve respect as they go about their work, and for the work they are doing."
Mr Holmes said "we can all make an difference in limiting the spread of COVID-19" and urged community members to follow the national advice and directives.
"The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in regional NSW is increasing and nurses and midwives are doing everything they can to look after those who have been hospitalised," Mr Holmes said.
"We've heard of many instances where community members have been stealing bottles of hand sanitiser, face masks and other vital resources from hospital wards, leaving nurses and other hospital staff exposed.
"This is not acceptable behaviour.
"Please do your part and stay at home where possible, practice social distancing and proper hygiene at all times, and heed the national advice and directives."
Patient privacy reduces risk
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District said in a statement on Friday privacy laws do not allow for personal details and health information to be released to the public, a move which has been backed nationally by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee - which is chaired by the federal governments Chief Medical Officer and all Chief Health Officers of the nation's state and territories.
"The release of personal details could increase the likelihood of people not cooperating with contact tracing and laboratory testing to identify and isolate cases of COVID-19," the statement read.
"This would increase the risk to the community and individuals with the disease with the potential to cause unnecessary community anxiety and bring stigma and harm to affected individuals and their families.
"Contact tracing and laboratory testing to identify and isolate cases of COVID-19 are done using standard public health protocols which have proven to be effective here and internationally."
Griffith Base Hospital general manager Greg Brylski said a COVID-19 testing clinic is operational at the hospital, but the clinic is appointment-only.
"If you are concerned about COVID-19 and would like to speak to someone about your symptoms, please call 1800 831 099 to speak to a nurse and book an appointment," Mr Brylski said.
"Only people who have an appointment should attend the clinic. We can all play a part in slowing the spread of the virus by minimising contact between people unless absolutely necessary.
"MLHD recommends community members follow NSW Health advice around social distancing and self-isolation to slow the spread of the virus [and] reducing contact between people unless absolutely necessary, especially those in our population who may be more vulnerable or susceptible to the illness because of age or weakened immunity, is critical to slowing the spread and impact of COVID-19."
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