Bass Coast and South Gippsland residents are doing the right thing in response to the COVID-19 restrictions

THE Office of the Minister for Health, The Hon Jenny Mikakos MLC, has sought to clarify today, Sunday, April 5, an apparent disparity between the official COVID-19 count for Bass Coast on the DHHS website and the number of people who have actually tested positive locally.

The answer might well feed into the controversy over the number of people from outside the area holidaying in Bass Coast or staying here in their “second home”.

Yesterday the ‘Sentinel-Times’ quoted Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child, who said that while she was aware of the official number published by the Department of Health and Human Services, at two, she was aware that four people had tested positive at the local testing clinics.

Ms Child was among the first officials to come out and call for non-residents to “go home”. Many people have respected that call and left the area.

In response to the query from the Minister’s office, Bass Coast Health provided the following statement by way of clarification.

“Bass Coast CEO Jan Child has received a number of enquires and has clarified with the Sentinel today that of the four (4) positive coronavirus test results from the assessment clinics at Phillip island and Wonthaggi, two (2) are permanent residents of Bass Coast Shire and the other two reside outside Bass Coast.

“DHHS data reflects the postcode of residency of the case and not the location of the test”.

What the statement does not clarify is where the four people who tested positive to COVID-19 are living now, surely a crucial point for local residents.

Also of key interest is what those people did after being tested here. Did they go straight home to their residence outside Bass Coast or are they still here?

Presumably, local police have an up-to-date list of where people who have tested positive are living, regardless of the official figures, but it is still important that local residents are kept up to date with the level of risk that exists.

The ‘Sentinel’ has asked the Minister to respond.

In the meantime, Bass Coast Health has expanded the scope of its testing to anyone with respiratory illness or fever.

“Community transmission is what we are most concerned about because you don’t know where that is coming from and that is continuing to edge up (nationally). That’s the one we are watching,” Ms Child said yesterday.

“Which is why we are expanding our testing again. The department wants to know what is happening with community transition.”

By Sunday, April 5 there were 1135 confirmed cases in Victoria, eight deaths, 573 recovered and 56,000 tests.

Locally the official regional figures from DHHS are Bass Coast 2, South Gippsland 3, Wellington 6, Latrobe 5 and Baw Baw 5. Nearby Casey has 37 cases and Cardinia 9.