Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mildura COVID-19 case: Leaders call for vigilance, not panic

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MILDURA community leaders have urged people to remain calm, but vigilant, after the region's first confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Community Services (DHHS) said 51 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Victoria on Saturday including one from the Mildura local government area.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said people would "understandably be feeling uncertain" about the COVID-19 case but urged people to "look after each other".

"We're no more immune than anyone else and I guess now that we have our confirmed case, if there's a positive out of the confirmation, there can be no excuses for anyone to be complacent at this point in time," she said.

"We know it's here and we know that for a whole lot of people symptoms are mild and they will recover well.

"But we also know for particularly vulnerable cohorts symptoms can go from being very mild to being potentially fatal fairly quickly.

"That's why we need to pull together and follow the advice and we need to look after each other."

Mildura Mayor Simon Clemence said Sunraysia residents needed to start taking COVID-19 seriously and it was as important as ever to follow government guidelines.

"It had to happen at some stage, and what we have to do now is make sure we listen to guidelines around social distancing and self containment," he said.

Cr Clemence said he was discouraged residents "did not seem to be concerned" in a brief visit to Mildura's CBD on Saturday.

"I was in town today and there were people who clearly weren't concerned," he said.

"We now have an even greater reasoning more so than ever to keep informed with government advice and information."

The total confirmed cases in Victoria was 229 on Saturday.

The new cases include 30 men and 19 women, with two further cases under investigation.

Ages range from early-teens to late seventies.

The sex and age of the Mildura case was not disclosed.

Ms Cupper said she had not been briefed by DHHS or the government about the Mildura case.

"We're going to be in touch with the department (DHHS) and likely with the (Health) Minister's office on Monday just to find out what protocols we should be following as an electorate office and what we can provide by way of reassurance and support to our community at a time when people will understandably be feeling uncertain," she said.

Ms Cupper again urged people not to engage in the type of panic buying that has led to Sunraysia supermarket shelves being stripped bare of items such as toilet paper and pasta, and purchase limits places on many other items.

"Panic never, ever helps any sort of situation," she said.

"Everyone needs to remain calm, provided you've got enough supplies to get through the next week.

"As the Premier has said, buy a few extras -- a few staples that the family relies on -- but don't go overboard."

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support.

A comprehensive guide, including what to do if you feel unwell, is available on the Victorian Department of Health and Human services website and is regularly updated.

You should refer to this for the latest information on coronavirus in Victoria.

Victoria has a dedicated hotline for information, which can be reached by calling 1800 675 398.

The Australian Government's Coronavirus Health Information Line is 1800 020 080.