DON’T get upset if the local school, hospital or your favourite café becomes an exposure site and there’s no public notification.

The authorities aren’t going to publicly list Tier 2 sites anymore at all, because they’ve found no positive cases as a result.

And they’ll only notify Tier 1 sites if they think they haven’t been able to contact everyone who may have attended the venue when the positive COVID-19 case was in attendance.

The Gippsland Region Public Health Unit moved to clarify that situation this week, during a media briefing on Thursday, October 14, when Gippsland journalists raised questions about hospitals, schools and other venues were known to be exposure sites but where there had been no notification.

“Not all sites will be publicly listed. They’ll only be notified when there may have been people there that we haven’t been able to get into contact with,” said a spokesperson for GRPHU.

The GRPHU spokesperson said in the case of the hospital and school sites raised by the journalists, all those in attendance had been contacted and all appropriate actions had been taken without the need to notify the public.

But they will continue to notify of positive wastewater samples, including at Wonthaggi, Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota at the moment, encouraging those in these areas to redouble their COVID-safe practices and to get tested at the slightest symptoms.

Local venues may still advise clients, on social media, that the will be closed for cleaning etc, but GRPHU  nor DHS will only follow up with notification if there is a public health risk.

The change could be a precursor to an increase in COVID numbers in regional Victoria over the next few months, as the State opens up from November 5 onwards

In the daily COVID update on Thursday, October 14, COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar said there had been a 33% increase in the number of new case, up 170 in regional areas including 17 in Latrobe City and 17 in Baw Baw.

Other regional areas where they were significant increases included Geelong 33, Shepparton 30 (and sadly one death), and 23 in the Mildura/Swan Hill cluster.

There are now 1289 active cases in regional Victoria.

Deputy Chief Health Officer, Ben Cowie, also noted on Thursday that 1245 of the record 2297 cases reported in Victoria had impacted completely different households, and a significant jump in numbers was expected.

He said there had been a disproportionate increase in regional case numbers.

The media representatives asked why the State Government hadn’t opted for a snap lockdown in Baw Baw with 139 active cases at present.

GRPHU, in consultation with the Deputy CHO, and local health authorities, believe they have a good handle on the Baw Baw outbreak with most cases arising from “social connections” including family and friends visiting at home.

She said it underscored the importance of not meeting and socialising with people at home.

GRPHU reported that there was a total of 3030 active cases in Gippsland on Wednesday, October 13 including Bass Coast 7, Baw Baw 139, East Gippsland 2, Latrobe 139, South Gippsland 10 and Wellington 6.

Exposure site venues contact the COVID Hotline for information on 1800 675 398 or go to the State Government COVID website at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/

Primary Close Contacts contact 1300 651 160 for further advice and information.

Health authority explains

The Gippsland Region Public Health Unit explains:

Not all Tier 1 exposure sites will be publicly listed….Why?

Tier 1 exposure sites may not be listed if all contacts are tracked down – if everyone there was
identified and contacted quickly. In any situation when we are confident that we’ve reached
everyone through our partners, then we won’t need to publish it.

Listing dozens of exposure sites with very low risk of transmission can cause confusion, panic and
unnecessary alarm. We are focusing the public’s attention on those where we believe there’s a true
risk.

Tier 1 sites of concern, where not everyone has been accounted for quickly, will be listed. This is a
form of public health announcement where the community is asked to act – isolate, get tested,
follow advice from the Department of Health.

As COVID-19 is becoming more entrenched in the community, we understand it may become more
common to see people finding out information from their employers, their friends or families and for
themselves to share this information on various social platforms. We acknowledge the proactive
approach of some businesses who have had a positive case attend their site to make their
community aware as a precautionary measure.

This is exactly what it is, it provides an awareness that the community needs to remain vigilant – monitor for symptoms and continue practicing COVID-Safe behaviours more diligently. This is not an automatic direction to get tested and isolate.

People who are identified as a Primary Close Contact linked to a potential exposure site will be
contacted by the Department of Health and given the necessary advice and information.
Of course, testing is also recommended for those experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, however
minor.

Latrobe City

There are currently 139 active COVID-19 cases in Latrobe City. Tier 1 Exposure Sites in Latrobe City include;

* Morwell Central Primary School, Morwell Wednesday 6 October, 9.00am – 3.45pm Thursday 7 October, 9.00am – 3.34pm

* Morwell Park Primary School, Morwell Monday 4 October, 9.00am – 3.15pm

* Chemist Discount Centre, Churchill Wednesday 29 September, 10.00am – 5.30pm

* National Australia Bank, Morwell Wednesday 29 September, 9.00am – 11.00am.

Testing opportunities in Latrobe City include;

* Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium, Ashby St, Traralgon drive through: 9.30am – 4pm Thursday 14 October. No appointments required.

* Latrobe Valley Respiratory Clinic, Morwell – By Appointment for bookings go to: https://bit.ly/3Fbd8eH. * LCHS – Senior Citizens Centre, Moe – Walk-in clinic. 9am – 11am Thursday 14 October. No appointments required. * Clinical Labs Traralgon – walk in clinic. 7.30am – 3.30pm Monday – Friday. By appointment on 5174 0285.

Baw Baw

There are currently 139 active COVID-19 cases in Baw Baw.

Tier 1 Exposure Sites in Baw Baw;

* Main Street Cafe, Warragul (STAFF and DINE-IN patrons only) Tuesday 5 October, 6.00am – 3.30pm Wednesday 6 October, 6.15am – 3.00pm

* Neerim South Hotel, Main Neerim Road Sunday 3 October, 6.00pm – 11.15pm

* Earth Market Cafe, Warragul Friday 1 October, 10.30am – 11.45am

* Robin Hood Hotel, Drouin West Thursday 30 September, 4.00pm – 11.59pm Friday 1 October, 12.00am – 1.30am / 3.30pm – 11.59pm Saturday 2 October, 10.00am – 11pm Sunday 3 October, 10.00am – 5.00pm Monday 4 October, 10.00am – 9.45pm

* Club Hotel, Warragul Thursday 30 September, 9.45pm – 10.30pm.

* Drouin Primary Early Learning Centre, Drouin Monday 4 October, 9.00am – 2.15pm Tuesday 5 October, 9.00am – 2.30pm Wednesday 6 October, 9.00am – 2.30pm Thursday 7 October, 9.00am – 11.30am

* The Bean Scene, Warragul Plaza Wednesday 29 September, 10.15am – 11.30am

* Middels Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Drouin Friday 1 October, 3.30pm – 4.00pm

* Pet Stock, Warragul Wednesday 29 September, 7.00am – 4.30pm Thursday 30 September, 7.00am – 12.30pm.

Testing opportunities in Baw Baw include;

  • Warragul Respiratory Clinic. Monday – Friday 9am – 1pm. Appointments required, for bookings go to https://bit.ly/3Fbd8eH or call 5642 6666.
  • West Gippsland Healthcare Group drive through at Lardner Park, Warragul 8am – 3pm Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October. No appointments required. To quicken the process complete your pre-registration form online while you are in the queue at https://testtracker.covid19.dhhs.vic.gov.au/citizen-prefill.

Bass Coast

There are currently seven active COVID-19 cases in Bass Coast with no public exposure sites at this stage. Positive viral fragments are also being detected in wastewater in Wonthaggi.

We urge the community to remain vigilant. Anyone experiencing any flu-like symptoms, however minor, should get tested. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Testing opportunities in Bass Coast include;

  • Cowes drive through at Bass Coast Health 9am – 3pm weekdays.
  • Wonthaggi Hospital drive through at Bass Coast Health – relocated to the former McBride Campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College, Watt Street, Wonthaggi, 9am – 5pm, 7 days.
  • Wonthaggi Respiratory Clinic. Appointments required, for bookings go to https://bit.ly/3Fbd8eH.

South Gippsland

There are currently 10 active COVID-19 cases in South Gippsland with no public exposure sites at this stage.

Testing opportunities in South Gippsland include;

  • Foster Respiratory Clinic. Appointments required, for bookings contact 5682 2088.
  • Gippsland Southern Health Service, Leongatha, drive through. 9am – 2.30pm Thursday 14 October. From Monday 18 October, testing times will change to Monday and Thursday 9am – 3pm. Bookings can be made on 5654 2777 – Korumburra Reception.