Eyre Peninsula and Far West towns along Eyre Highway wait to see what comes next after visit from COVID-infected truck driver

EXPOSURE: The Wudinna community is waiting to see what happens next after the Golden Wattle Roadhouse was one of the exposure sites identified by SA Health on Wednesday. Photo: Luca Cetta
EXPOSURE: The Wudinna community is waiting to see what happens next after the Golden Wattle Roadhouse was one of the exposure sites identified by SA Health on Wednesday. Photo: Luca Cetta

West Coast towns are waiting to see what happens next after an infectious truck driver from New South Wales travelled through South Australia last week.

The truck driver was in the state last week on a return trip to Perth, stopping at service stations and roadhouses at Port Augusta, Wudinna, Penong and Border Village, as well as Direk in northern Adelaide.

The news of COVID-9 exposure sites has given community members some cause for concern, especially in Wudinna as the man stopped in town on the morning of the Wudinna Show.

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He stopped at the Golden Wattle Road House on Saturday, September 18 between 7.20am and 8.30am.

About 1500 people were present at the Wudinna Showgrounds that day.

Wudinna mayor Eleanor Scholz said the community was waiting to hear about results.

"It was a busy Saturday morning at the roadhouse, considering it was also Show day," she said.

"The Show committee really worked on their COVID management plan, so people are waiting to see what will happen - this will show us how effective our plans were.

"I think everybody has been contacted and Tania at the roadhouse was a great advocate for people to check-in and wear their mask."

Ms Scholz urged the community to keep following guidelines during this time.

"People are following the advice and are waiting to hear what happens," she said.

"If you are uncertain, check with the SA Health website, keep in contact with family and check with each other.

"Take it calmly until we get results, and if people are uncertain who to check with, feel free to put in a call to council and they can guide them."

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Golden Wattle Roadhouse said it was still open and asked for patience.

"Please understand we are currently very short on staff and are all feeling the pressures of the current situation," the statement read.

"Our wonderful staff are going above and beyond and are doing their very best to continue offering the service our business provides.

"Please be considerate and be patient as we get through this uncertain time together."

Penong had the only Tier 1 exposure sites, meaning people must get tested, and quarantine along with members of their household.

The truck driver stopped in Penong both to and from Western Australia, taking a shower in the men's toilet block and visiting the Caltex service station itself.

INEVITABLE: Penong Progress Association president Tony Shipard said it was only a matter of time before a situation like this occurred. Photo: Luca Cetta

INEVITABLE: Penong Progress Association president Tony Shipard said it was only a matter of time before a situation like this occurred. Photo: Luca Cetta

Penong Progress Association president Tony Shipard said it was "inevitable" a situation like this would arise in the town.

"It had to happen, the way the country is run - if they allow the trucks to move it was going to happen and it was inevitable that it came to us," he said.

"Quite a few people in town have had two [vaccine] shots and a huge percentage had one and are having another this week.

"There doesn't seem to be as much worry as last time [there were exposure sites in the region]."

He said the concern came from having vulnerable people in the town and Aboriginal communities close by.

Mr Shipard noted the roadhouse was used frequently by locals and people passing through town, or workers during the day.

"It is the case that they go to the roadhouse, but we are lucky that one of the times was early in the morning and there wouldn't have been that many people there," he said.

"There would have been two staff present at those times, if not one."

He said his message to the community was to be aware of the situation and to not take it lightly.

"Don't be complacent to the situation - just because you've had your shot, don't disregard the situation."

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said on Wednesday that South Australia had to continue to be "mindful of the high risk in New South Wales and Victoria".