QUESTIONS remain on what more Ballarat can do in staying safe from the deadly coronavirus as Victoria marks 100 days since entering a state of emergency.
While Ballarat's COVID-19 case rate has flatlined, with no new cases for more than five weeks, the virus spread in metropolitan Melbourne has been exponential with new infections in double-figure growth every day for the past week alone.
Ballarat's top police officer has made clear police will be targeting the region's tourist spots, like Daylesford and Hepburn, in an ongoing operation to enforce government restrictions.
Testing numbers for the virus continue to rise for people showing mild respiratory symptoms across the region. The UFS-led fever clinic in Lucas has been sourcing extra nurses to help meet test demand.
This all comes leading into the start of Victorian school holidays on Friday afternoon and concerns from state and community leaders more people will be on the move.
New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday called on tourism and business operators in her state to shun visitors from Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots but she had not closed the state border. NSW had one new confirmed COVID-19 case on Tuesday, a returned traveller, compared to Victoria's 17.
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton while people should consider travelling to and from known hotspots - namely Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Darebin and Cardinia local government areas - but also to be particular about following social hygiene about the rest of the state.
Ballarat's surrounding shires have also remained steady in case numbers since the initial spike: Moorabool, three cases; Hepburn, two; Golden Plains, one.
And it has been a similar scenario across western Victoria, suggesting low rates in community transmission.
In neighbouring regional centres, Geelong has flattened at 66 cases with a further nine on the Surf Coast; Ararat and Warrnambool have five; Horsham and Northern Grampians (Stawell) three. None have active cases.
Greater Bendigo has eight cases with neighbouring shires including Mount Alexander (six) and Campaspe (five) with only the latter chalking up one active case as of Tuesday.
Hepburn mayor Licia Kokocinski told The Courier earlier this week residents were concerned about the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak with an influx of out-of-towners visiting the region.
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor has urged people to think local, to stay home and support the Ballarat economy.
Ballarat's major tourist site Sovereign Hill will re-open its gates on Saturday to limited patrons and up to 50 per cent off online ticket bookings as a welcome back to all visitors.
People presenting to the Ballarat COVID-19 screening clinic is fast rising amid cold and flu season. The Lucas Community Hub-based clinic had been averaging 140 tests daily and patients screened jumped to 165 on Monday in the wake of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' restrictions tightening at the weekend.
UFS primary care operations manager Danielle Trezise said people were absolutely doing the right thing in getting tested, even if only for slight symptoms like a runny nose or sore throat.
The clinic had tested 2346 people this month to Monday with one week remaining in June, following 2980 people for May.
Ms Trezise said the clinic had extended hours to 8pm on weeknights and 3pm on weekends to keep up with demand. Test results are back to patients within three business days but can be expedited for high-priority frontline workers.
Ballarat Health Services acute operations director Ben Kelly has told The Courier it might seem tedious, but it was vital Ballarat keeps doing the right thing in abiding by restrictions.
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