Mildura Base Hospital backs regional mask policy

MILDURA Base Hospital director of intensive care Alison Walker says wearing a mask is a "minor inconvenience" that will help protect Sunraysia's elderly population.

From next week, all Victorians -- including those in regional areas -- will be required by law to wear a mask or other face covering when leaving home

"I am supportive," Dr Walker said of the new laws, which take effect at 11.59pm on Sunday.

"There are still people travelling to and from hot spots to our community, essential workers, deliveries for health care.

"Wearing masks decreases the risk of transmitting the virus and catching it -- the best chance to remain COVID-free is for everyone to wear one.

"Looking at the devastating effect on aged-care homes in Melbourne -- we owe it to our elderly population to do everything we can to keep them safe.

"It's a minor inconvenience and I would encourage everyone to take this small step to protect the people you care for and our community."

Mildura has not had a new case of coronavirus since March but Dr Walker said this was no reason to become complacent.

"It (wearing masks) protects the COVID-free status we are lucky to enjoy -- for now," she said.

"We have all worked hard to keep this virus out of our community and we are fortunate that, as far as we know, that is the case.

"We know there are no active cases currently recorded in our community, but, really, we don't know where COVID-19 is active and this is not over.

"We all need to do the things that are in our control and that we know do make a difference."

Dr Walker said it was also crucial to continue social distancing, practising good hygiene and staying at home whenever you can.

"Masking up is one, but also getting tested if you have symptoms – even very mild symptoms," Dr Walker said.