The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index ranks every postcode where people are at risk of suffering severe symptoms if they become infected.
The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index ranks every postcode where people are at risk of suffering severe symptoms if they become infected.

Granite Belt towns in ‘red zone’ in event of COVID-19 outbreak

A NEW study has revealed some Granite Belt towns have a high potential for severe illness if there was a COVID-19 outbreak.

UNSW Business School has partnered with Australian actuarial and strategic analytics consulting firm Finity to map vulnerable populations in Australia who are at severe risk if they contract coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index ranks every postcode to identify where people are at risk of suffering severe symptoms if they become infected.

With a score of 100 representing the postcodes at highest risk of susceptibility, Stanthorpe received a score of 91 and is in the red zone which means the town has higher potential for severe illness in case of an outbreak.

Other Granite Belt towns including Ballandean with a score of 91 and Cottonvale with a score of 97 are considered to be in the red clusters, meaning they have clusters of comorbidity risk factors that may have greater potential for severe illness in the case of an outbreak.

Dalveen received a risk score percentile of 83, The Summit 83, Wallangarra 91, Thulimbah 61, Applethorpe 65 and Glen Aplin was the only town in the ‘green zone’ with 45.

The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index.
The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index.

The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index maps comorbidities factors like age, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and lung disease as well as known multidimensional characteristics of individuals in households.

Researchers said the results would help make decisions about selectively lifting lockdown or social distancing measures which would enable a balanced approach to reinvigorating the economy while keeping the population safe.

Finity principal and lead researcher Aaron Cutter said initial results indicated regional areas were more susceptible to severe symptoms if COVID-19 was contracted.

“The results are preliminary, but show that while the initial wave of COVID-19 cases was concentrated around capital cities due to population density plus proximity to cruise ships and international airports, these areas have lower proportions of highly susceptible individuals compared to the rest of Australia.

“The Index reveals that regional areas actually have greater susceptibility – not only because of age, but due to a number of other key characteristics,” Mr Cutter said.

Find out more about the COVID-19 Susceptibility Index here: https://www.finity.com.au/consulting/covid-19-susceptibility-index

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