THERE has been no increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in five of Gippsland’s six municipalities for several weeks now despite a dramatic increase in the number of people being tested.

And the most recent positive was for the Wellington Shire, on April 28, almost a week ago.

In its COVID-19 update today, Sunday, May 3, the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports the total number of coronavirus cases in Victoria is 1384 – an increase of 13 since yesterday.

There were no new deaths reported yesterday.

To date, 18 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria. The total number of cases is made up of 720 men and 664 women, with people aged from babies to their early nineties.

There are 142 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. Currently 12 people are in hospital, including seven patients in intensive care. In all, 1300 people have recovered.

More than 138,000 tests have been undertaken. Of the total 1384 cases, there have been 1129 in metropolitan Melbourne and 217 in regional Victoria.

Several cases remain under investigation. Six of the new cases of COVID-19 were in workers at a Melbourne meat processing facility, taking the total number of cases in this cluster to 15. The department is working closely with the company, which agreed to close their facility as a precaution to ensure all required steps are taken, including a thorough cleaning process. All staff have been tested or are in the process of being tested. All staff are being provided with further information on potential exposure to coronavirus in the workplace, symptoms and quarantine requirements.

“Today’s increase in cases illustrates once again that while we have been flattening the curve, our battle against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

“Victorians have done a remarkable job so far sticking to the coronavirus restrictions and staying at home has saved lives. But now is not the time for complacency.”

Three of today’s new cases stem from testing in the community as part of a Victorian Government blitz that will help inform decisions about potentially slowly lifting restrictions ahead of the State of Emergency being reviewed on 11 May. These cases are under further investigation.

“Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for coronavirus during these two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the state,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said.

“We’ve more than doubled the number of daily tests we’re conducting since the introduction of this blitz and these results will be reflected in coming days.

“The main aim of this increase in testing is to improve access and actively search for cases, allowing us to gain a better picture of this virus and make informed decisions for Victoria.

“We are asking Victorians to again play their part and get tested if they have symptoms, because the more tests we do, the more data we have about the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

“People with common symptoms of coronavirus including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell – however mild – are encouraged to get tested.”

In Gippsland, the following positive tests have been recorded: Bass Coast 4, Baw Baw 4, East Gippsland 1, Latrobe City 7 and South Gippsland 5 with near neighbours Cardinia 14 and Casey 55.

There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.

For details on how testing is being increased locally see also https://sgst.com.au/2020/05/our-health-services-respond-to-testing-blitz/