UPDATED with comment from Ballarat Health Services, 5pm Thursday
Ballarat Health Services confirmed a patient remains in a stable condition in an isolated room at the Ballarat Base Hospital.
The full media statement is below.
"We can confirm that a member of the Ballarat community has tested positive to COVID-19 and remains in a stable condition in an isolated room at Ballarat Base Hospital.
"During this time, we are very confident of our capacity to ensure the highest standard of infection prevention and our staff are implementing processes we have had in place for many weeks for all suspected cases.
"We also maintain the strictest patient privacy during this time and will not be releasing details of this patient, the Department of Health and Human Services will manage the process to trace any community contact this patient has had whilst symptomatic, which we believe to be minimal.
"We are implementing stricter access measures to further reduce the number of people at our facilities: including Residential Aged Care, the Queen Elizabeth Centre and the Base Hospital Site. Please read signage and follow directions from staff as access points and visiting will be altered.
"It is crucial that you only present to a screening clinic if you meet the criteria for testing which includes fever or acute respiratory infection with shortness of breath or cough; and that you have had international travel in the 14 days before the onset of illness or close or casual contact in that period with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
"Now that COVID-19 is in our community, we need to remain calm and follow the advice to reduce the spread. Follow the Council's Be Kind Ballarat campaign to see how you can support each other during this time.
BHS acute operations executive director Ben Kelly said in a statement the community should be reassured staff are prepared and able to support an increase in cases in Ballarat.
Please watch:— Ballarat Health (@BallaratHealth) March 19, 2020
More than 17,180 Victorians have been tested for COVID-19🔹150 cases have tested positive in Victoria🔹5 are in regional Victoria 🔹1 case has tested positive in Ballarat and is recovering in the Base Hospital 🔸We are well prepared to respond to COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/nagKiMygNk
"Please consider how necessary your visit to our site is during this time," he said.
"Everyone has a role to play in protecting themselves.
"Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water.
"Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
"If you are ill, stay at home.
"Look after each other in the community to prevent the impact on our most vulnerable."
The City of Ballarat is also urging calm.
In a statement, residents were reminded to continue social distancing and follow hygiene rules.
"We understand a local COVID-19 case will cause community concern. Residents can be assured Ballarat has excellent health facilities and medical professionals, and there are well-developed protocols for treating people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19," the statement reads.
A St John of God Hospital spokesperson said there are no confirmed cases, as of Thursday afternoon.
Ballarat has recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19.
The state government confirmed the new case on Thursday afternoon.
It is one of 29 new cases in Victoria and is one of five in regional Victoria.
It is understood the Ballarat patient had recently returned from overseas.
Elsewhere outside of Melbourne, there have been three cases in Greater Geelong and one in the Latrobe Valley.
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- Coronavirus in Victoria: confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19
There are now 150 cases confirmed in Victoria, with people aged from their early twenties to their early seventies.
Nobody has died in Victoria as a result of the virus.
The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to investigate all new cases.
At the present time, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.
Currently seven people are recovering in hospital. More than 17,180 Victorians have been tested to date.
Twenty-eight people have recovered.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said we will continue to see more cases of COVID-19 in Victoria.
"We are reviewing this rapidly evolving situation daily and continue to provide up-to-date information to the community. We are all focused on doing whatever is necessary to minimise the spread of infection and keep Victorians safe," Professor Sutton said.
"For the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is most likely required. Close personal contact is at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than two hours in the same room.
"At the moment, we urge the public to be mindful and take steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in protecting yourself and your family. Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water.
"Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you are ill, stay at home.
"Extensive testing has shown that people who have passed through places where there was a confirmed case have an extremely low risk of transmission and are not currently recommended for testing.
"This will help to ensure our hospitals, assessment centres and general practitioners can prioritise testing for those most at risk."
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398.
Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume.
Further information is also available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
MORE TO COME
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