As the state COVID-19 tally of cases continues to rise, Surf Coast Shire Council and regional health authorities are reminding residents to come forward for testing in an attempt to trace the virus in the shire, as well as reiterating the “Be Kind” message adopted by municipalities across Victoria.
“This is not the position we wanted to be in as a state, but in the Surf Coast Shire, at least, we still have the chance to lessen the effects in the fight against COVID-19 by going back to the basics of social distancing, limiting the people we come into contact with and practising good hygiene,” said Rowena Clift CEO Western Victoria Primary Health Network, “as well as being tested if symptoms are present.”
Testing sites are currently available in the region at Torquay Community Health Centre (4215 7800), Lorne Community Hospital (5289 4300), Colac Hospital (5232 5100), Geelong Respiratory Clinic (5202 9344), Bellarine Respiratory Clinic (Book online via HotDoc app: hotdoc.com.au) and Barwon Health North (4215 4445). Bookings are essential at all sites.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle soreness, nausea, loss of appetite, distortion of sense of taste, vomiting and diarrhoea should be tested for COVID-19.
If unsure, call the 24-hour coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398), visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/getting-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 or contact your local doctor.
From today, the state government is also urging people in regional Victoria to wear a mask if out in public when social distancing isn’t possible – such as on public transport or shopping.
“This evolving situation is concerning for people, but it can be very frightening for those who have tested positive for the virus,” said Rowena Clift. “Now is the time to show compassion to those who have tested positive and remember that we are all in this together.”
Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Rose Hodge agrees and urges people to “Be Kind” during this stressful time – to permanent neighbours, as well as to visitors and non-permanent residents who may be legitimately relocated in the shire.
“There are police checkpoints from Melbourne and license plate recognition, so don’t presume visitors to the shire are wrongdoers,” said Mayor Hodge. “Give them the same respect you would your regular neighbour and if you do suspect flouting of restrictions, contact the Police Assistance Line on 131 444, rather than taking matters into your own hands.”
She also asks people to be mindful of local businesses, already struggling, as they do their best to keep customers safe and enable contact tracing by asking for residential addresses and ID checks.
Started by the City of Ballarat, the Be Kind campaign has been adopted by other local government agencies from across the state as a way to encourage people to be kind to each other, to local businesses and to yourself.