Regional Victoria’s roadmap could go faster

September 10, 2020 BY

Coronavirus fragments were recently found in the sewer network of Apollo Bay.

PREMIER Daniel Andrews said the Surf Coast and the rest of regional Victoria could move through the coronavirus roadmap’s steps more quickly based on the declining number of cases.
Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, Mr Andrews said “the trend was very good” and thanked regional Victorians for following the restrictions, but he would be guided by the data.
“There’s been a bit of commentary about ‘Why can’t communities that have no cases jump well and truly ahead and jump right now?’
“The key point is that’s cases we know of. The sewerage testing result of the wastewater in Apollo Bay shows this can be in a local community and no-one knows it. It often presents mildly and not everybody who has symptoms comes forward and gets tested.”
On Saturday, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced viral fragments of coronavirus had been detected in wastewater taken from the Apollo Bay sewer network.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said while positive samples were expected at sewage testing sites because of the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, the Apollo Bay result was of interest because there had been no known cases in that community in recent weeks.
While the result may not signify any existing cases and could represent virus shed from people who had travelled through the town from neighbouring areas, the DHHS says it has used the detection of the fragments (which are not infectious and have not affected Apollo Bay’s water supply) as an opportunity to increase local testing and minimise potential transmission.
Mr Andrews said if the state government had asked regional Victorians to wait six or eight weeks before they could take any steps on the roadmap, regional Victoria would likely have been divided into different zones based on risk.
“We will ease in regional Victoria based on the data and science and take as big a step as we can, provided it is safe.
“We didn’t put a timeline on some of that. We said it would need to be when we got to that 14-day average because we knew, and we expect that we may get to that quite soon.”
To see all the steps in the regional Victoria roadmap, head to vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps