Crisis spike as new case confirmed in Swan Hill LGA


SWAN Hill is not immune from a new spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria, with a new active case confirmed in the local government area on June 23. 

It is the fourth case for the municipality and the first in months.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed the case, but declined to say whether it was acquired through community transmission and whether the person was currently located in the Swan Hill region.

It comes as Victoria recorded 33 new cases yesterday, the highest daily tally of new cases in weeks and the ninth consecutive day of cases increasing by double digits.

It prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a testing blitz on 10 suburbs of Melbourne with high levels of community transmission.

Victoria set a new testing record on Wednesday, with 20,304 people tested.

Mr Andrews said there were several incidents where people had returned a positive test but not properly self-isolated.

He also urged Victorians who were experiencing symptoms to stay home and not go on holiday.

"Everybody across Victoria cannot go on holidays if they are sick, or if someone in their household is sick," he said.

Swan Hill District Health (SHDH) chief executive officer Peter Abraham said the person was not tested at the Swan Hill fever clinic.

"The DHHS has advised SHDH that the listed residential location of the case allocated the result to Swan Hill, regardless of where the test was conducted," Mr Abraham said.

"SHDH is unable to confirm if this person was infected in the Swan Hill region, nor where this person currently resides."

The state's chief health officer urged Victorians to make good decisions, and warned that those living outside the identified hot spots were not immune to contracting the virus.

"If you don't have to see people, please don't," Professor Brett Sutton said.

"If you don't have to go gatherings, please don't.

"If you can shop online, do that."

It comes as regional MPs urged the state government to ease restrictions in country areas where there had been no new cases in weeks.

"Many regional towns have never recorded a single positive coronavirus case, but Daniel Andrews has dragged us back into lockdown because of outbreaks in Melbourne," Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said.

A DHHS spokesman told The Guardian strict procedures were put in place to protect the public wherever someone tested positive to COVID-19.

The spokesman said all close contacts were identified and notified if they were required to self-isolate or get tested.

"As part of our contact tracing, any public exposure sites are contacted and provided with advice about the transmission risks and any cleaning that may be required," the spokesman said.

"Victorians can be reassured that our actions are aimed at containing the spread of this virus."

He said to protect the privacy of patients, details about individual cases were not routinely provided.

The spokesman said the residential location was the address provided when the case was notified, but was not necessarily where the infected person resided.

Dr Sutton said it also remained critical to practice good hygiene in and outside the home, by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and trying to avoid touching your face.

"Stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don't live with and avoid crowds, especially indoors," he said.

"If you can keep working from home — you must keep working from home.

"By practicing these common-sense behaviours, we can help keep ourselves, our families and communities safe."

As of yesterday afternoon, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria was 1917.