SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

EVERYONE makes a mistake, right?
Not when you are dealing with people’s lives you don’t!
And there can be no excuses for the mistakes that were made at the weekend with the contact tracing information put out by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the case of Leongatha, it might seem like a relatively minor mistake to misprint the hours between which customers of a local fish and chip shop should consider their whereabouts and consider getting tested for exposure to coronavirus.
But it’s not.
That’s what happened last Saturday, and it took a reader of the Sentinel-Times Facebook page to point it out, and for the matter to be raised with DHHS in the first instance, and when a reply wasn’t forthcoming, the office of the Health Minister Martin Foley, who it must be said made things happen.
But these were not isolated mistakes.
Information was published on the DHHS website impacting the wrong businesses, in the wrong parts of the state, even venues that don’t exist.
It’s not good enough on a number of levels.
A lot of people get very anxious when they are potentially exposed to COVID-19, and put through the worry of getting tested, potentially based on wrong information.
There is also the equally serious matter that the public might lose confidence with the accuracy of the information being put out by DHHS that they are being asked to respond to.
In the case of the Leongatha fish and chip shop it was relatively obvious that the shop wasn’t going to be open to serve chips in the morning at 7.30am, as listed on the DHHS site.
But that’s not the point. Certainly, DHHS staff might have been hard pressed on a holiday long weekend to keep up with the work but if more staff are needed to get these details right, they should be rostered on or recruited.
There can be no mistakes with Victoria’s tracing and testing response this time around after the debacle of the state’s second wave.