Let’s work together to stop the spread

The Victorian Government’s current strategy has so far avoided the Victorian hospital system being overwhelmed.

And to date, Bass Coast Health (BCH) has had no COVID inpatients and no staff members have tested positive.

“We are ready to respond to a local outbreak and to COVID inpatients but to date, we have been focused on supporting the positive cases in our community, and the many people that these positive community members have been in contact with,” according to Jan Child, CEO of Bass Coast Health.

“If anyone thinks we do not have significant community transmission locally, they are dreaming!

“The virus is here, it is spreading fast among our community, and if we all don’t take every possible precaution, we will be in serious trouble.”

As the Bass Coast region extends to Stage 3 restrictions this Wednesday night, BCH’s CEO says she is extremely pleased that the Government has imposed these further restrictions.

“I understand completely the impact on the economy and acknowledge the hardship that tightening of restrictions will cause to local businesses. I understand the burden felt by some families with home schooling, and I acknowledge the impacts these restrictions have on the social and emotional wellbeing of many individuals. But actually, nothing matters as much as a human life. At the moment, too many people are dying, and it’s not just people from Residential Care. It’s also not just people who are old who are affected by COVID – this week young doctors were in Intensive Care in Melbourne. This is a virus that can get to anyone. I don’t want local people to die; I don’t want my staff to get COVID. But I am intensely worried about the inevitability.

“I know that most people think they are doing the right thing, but this virus is dangerous, hugely contagious and insidious. People are carrying it and spreading it and they don’t even know it. They are walking the virus into public areas, supermarkets, schools, and shops. They are walking it into the homes of people they love, thinking “I feel fine” but what we know is a couple of days later, they get some symptoms, get tested, and within a day, another 20 people are at risk, and so on.

“Some people in Bass Coast still think we are immune to COVID-19, but, we are not – it is here and unless everybody abides by these restrictions strictly, some of our community members will die.”

When asked to name the postcodes where people could be impacted, the CEO was strong in her response.

“I have seen some of the social media in our catchment focus on counting the numbers, and on naming the townships, as though this should provide a sense of comfort, or an ability to be more alert.

“This focus is totally misplaced and highly dangerous. In my role, I have an awareness of all the positive cases and contacts that have been tested by our service, and I can confidently tell you all, that the safest thing we can all do, is to behave as though every township and every person that you have contact with, has COVID 19.

“There are already active cases in our catchment where we can’t identify their initial contact and there will be more. This is the danger of community transmission; it is a hidden and highly contagious enemy that we should assume is everywhere and the best way for our community to manage this, is to strictly abide by the restrictions, and ask our families, friends and neighbours to do the same.”

Regional Victoria now has only four reasons to be out: shopping for food and essential items; care and caregiving; daily exercise; work and study – if you can’t do it from home.

Otherwise, you must stay home. In addition to staying home, there are some other important safety measures that Bass Coast Health strongly encourages everyone in the community to adopt:

  • Hand Hygiene- wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use sanitiser (at least 2 squirts) in between when you can’t access soap and water. Clean your hands when you are not sure if what you touched is clean.
  • Clean your work and home surfaces wherever and whenever you can. Assume the virus likes to hang around; know that cleaning your phone, doorhandles, benchtops, keyboard will reduce transmission.
  • Keep your distance- physical distancing is the most effective way to stop the spread; stay at least 1.5 metres apart from others; avoid crowds; avoid dinner parties or situations where you can’t distance.
  • Wear a mask or face covering- wearing a mask will help to stop the spread of droplets; don’t touch your mask once it is on your face, except to take it off, and be sure to dispose of it in a bin and wash reusable masks daily.
  • If unwell, stay home and arrange to get tested- you must be tested as soon as you notice symptoms. Please go directly to the closest testing facility and then go straight home and wait for your results. PLEASE, do not visit a friend or the supermarket on your way to or from being tested.

Testing is available at:

  • Wonthaggi Medical Centre Monday to Friday (0492 036 568)
  • Phillip Island Health Hub (24 hours a day)
  • Wonthaggi Hospital – Drive thru testing facility (9am-5pm, 7 days a week).
  • Foster Medical Clinic

For further information call the COVID-19 hotline on: 1800 675 398 Need an interpreter? Call TIS National on 131 450 and then 1800 675 398.