VICTORIA recorded its first two deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) yesterday, with two men aged in their 70s dying in Melbourne hospitals.
The deaths came as the state’s total number of cases increased to 520, with the majroity (300) being men.
Most cases have been in metropolitan Melbourne, with more than 50 cases in regional Victoria including three in Moira Shire and Shepparton Greater Shire.
As of yesterday no cases had been confirmed in the Rural City of Wangaratta (go to DHHS website https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/media-hub-coronavirus-disease-covid-19).
More than 26,900 Victorians have been tested to date.
This includes more than 100 at Northeast Health Wangaratta’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) screening clinic in Norton Street, which is operating daily, able to test up to 20 people a day (by appointment only).
The clinic is accessible by calling the NHW COVID-19 hotline on 1800 324 942.
Callers are being screened and those that meet the criteria based on the latest advice around symptoms and possible exposure are being swabbed for COVID-19.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Professor Brett Sutton, said the threat of coronavirus to public health is real and everyone must take social distancing seriously.
“We’re doing everything we can to save lives and slow the spread of this deadly virus, but we all have a role to play to protect those who are most vulnerable.
“I can’t be clearer; if you can stay at home, you must stay at home.”
The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support.
All close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.
All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction.
While most Victorians are voluntarily complying with requests to isolate, police have strong powers to enforce the direction if it’s required. Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply with a directive could receive a fine of up to $20,000.
Companies face fines of up to $100,000.
“Everyone who’s unwell must isolate themselves and everyone who’s been told they’re in quarantine either as a returned traveller or close contact must do so,” Professor Sutton said.
“Social distancing will save lives.
“Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.
“We urge everyone to stay 1.5 metres away from everyone else, wash your hands often with soap and water and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.”
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398.
Further information is also available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.