Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child chats with those waiting in the testing queue at Cowes over the weekend.


THEY’VE gone above and beyond the call of duty, and at times been abused for their efforts, but the Bass Coast Health team, with the assistance of those from surrounding health services, have done a great job.

And it’s official.

At Sunday morning’s state-wide briefing they got a “big shout out” from the Victoria’s COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar.

“As we continue to expand and extend our testing operations, and it was a big day yesterday, the showgrounds site at Ascot Vale opened this morning at six o’clock, and we’ll run through to 10 o’clock. And most of the sites yesterday were running pretty busy until the middle of the afternoon, much quieter in the end of the afternoon and early evening,” Mr Weimar said.

“So, I would please ask, with many of our sites open to 7pm, 8pm and 10pm in the case of the showground, please check later during the day, and we do have live updates on our website about how the queues are running at the various testing sites.

“Also, a big shout out to the Bass Coast Health team, I know we’re very busy yesterday at Wonthaggi, at Leongatha, at San Remo and Cowes. We have expanded further, or they’ve stepped up and expanded further the testing at Cowes especially today. And my thanks go to them for the stirring efforts of that team across a big, a big piece of our state.”

Bass Coast Health Board Chairman, Don Paproth, echoed those comments but made special mention of BCH CEO Jan Child, who he said had been onsite at Cowes and also at the Wonthaggi testing centre drive-throughs helping to keep those in the queue informed and supporting very busy staff.

Making it more difficult for Bass Coast Health is that they have lost 28 staff as a result of attending exposure sites, including the Coles, Woolworths and Aldi supermarkets in Cowes last week.

Also, this morning, Premier Daniel Andrews virtually ruled out any early release for regional Victoria, especially as a result of the case in Mildura on Sunday, July 18, a 30-year-old man who attended the MCC Reserve on Saturday, July 10 with two house members to see the Carlton versus Geelong game.

It has been reported that the man is a teacher at a private college in Mildura, where a major tracing operation is underway, and also reportedly, another person in the group has also tested positive.

“Now, in terms of where we find ourselves vis-a-vis Tuesday evening, Tuesday midnight, it is too early for us to determine whether we’ll be able to come out of this lockdown at midnight on Tuesday night,” Mr Andrews said.

“It is I’m afraid, not the day for us to be announcing parts of regional Victoria being let out of this lockdown, if you like, and operating under different rules. And whilst we take no joy from the fact that there is a case in Mildura today, and that’ll require a lot of work from our public health team, there is a case in as far away as Mildura, that just confirms I think, for all of us if we needed any, that this moves quick and a problem anywhere, becomes a problem everywhere.

“Unless you’ve got rules on that are hard and fast and you have taken this as seriously as possible from the earliest moment that is the approach that we have taken. And it is working.

“I just can’t yet, make announcements for what will be relevant and what will be able to be done safely, what will be possible if you like. So, midnight on Tuesday, the next 24 hours, obviously the next 48 hours are critical in terms of that, as soon as we can we’ll advise the community what comes next,” he said.