THE Victorian government is working to be more transparent with plans to release COVID-19 data by postcodes with the state's chief health officer Brett Sutton flagging he was open to the change.
Throughout the pandemic, cases data has been released by local government areas.
In data seen by The Courier on Friday night, a breakdown for postcodes within the City of Ballarat shows: nine active cases in central Ballarat,( 3350) one active case in Sebastopol-Delacombe (3356) and no active cases currently in Wendouree-Lake Gardens-Mitchell Park (postcode 3355) .
BELOW: Compare active cases and total cases for postcodes by LGA for City of Ballarat, Moorabool Shire and Golden Plains Shire.
Note: Suburbs and towns for postcodes overlapping other LGAs, for example City of Greater Geelong or Pyrenees Shire, are not listed below.
POSTCODES BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
CITY OF BALLARAT
3350: Alfredton, Bakery Hill, Ballarat Central, Ballarat East, Ballarat North, Black Hill, Brown Hill, Canadian, Eureka, Golden Point, Invermay Park, Lake Wendouree, Lucas, Mount Clear, Mount Helen, Mount Pleasant, Nerrina, Newington, Redan, Soldiers Hill.
3351: Bo Peep Smythes Creek.
3352: Addington, Blowhard, Bonshaw, Bunkers Hill, Burrumbeet, Cardigan, Cardigan Village, Durham Lead, Ercildoune, Glen Park, Gong Gong, Invermay, Learmonth, Magpie, Miners Rest, Mount Bolton, Mount Rowan, Scotchmans Lead, Scotsburn, Sulky, Warrenheip, Wattle Flat, Waubra, Weatherboard, Windermere.
3355: Lake Gardens, Mitchell Park, Wendouree.
3356: Delacombe, Sebastopol.
3358: Winter Valley
3363: Creswick, Glendaruel, Tourello.
3364: Ascot, Bald Hills, Coghills Creek, Glendonald
3213: Anakie, Batesford.
3218: Murgheboluc, Stonehaven.
3321: Hesse, Inverleigh, Wingeel.
3329: Barunah Park, Shelford.
3331: Bannockburn, Gheringhap, Maude, Russells Bridge, She Oaks, Stiglitz, Sutherlands Creek.
3333: Barnganie, Meredith.
3351: Berringa, Cape Clear, Haddon, Illabarook, Newtown, Nintingbool, Piggoreet, Pitfield, Rokewood Junction, Ross Creek, Scarsdale, Smythes Creek, Smythesdale, Springdallah, Staffordshire Reef, Wallinduc.
3352: Corindhap, Dereel, Durham Lead, Enfield, Garibaldi, Grenville, Mount Mercer, Napoleons, Werneth.
3353: Cambrian Hil.
3360: Happy Valley, Linton, Mannibadar, Pittong, Willowvale.
3334: Bungal, Cargerie, Elaine, Meredith, Morrisons, Mount Doran.
3340: Balliang, Balliang East, Bacchus Marsh, Coimadai, Darley, Glenmore, Hopetoun Park, Long Forest, Maddingley, Merrimu, Parwan, Rowsley.
3341: Dales Creek, Greendale, Korobeit, Myrniong, Pentland Hills.
3342: Ballan, Beremboke, Blakeville, Bunding, Colbrook, Fiskville, Ingliston, Mount Wallace.
3352: Bolwarrah, Bularook, Bungaree, Clarendon, Claretown, Clarkes Hill, Dunnstown, Durham Lead, Glen Park, Grenville, Lal Lal, Leigh Creek, Milbrook, Mollongghip, Mount Egerton, Navigators, Pootilla, Scotsburn, Springbank, Wallace. Warrenheip, Wattle Flat, Yendon.
3458: Barrys Reef, Blackwood, Lerderderg, Trentham.
3461: Bullarto South, Korweinguboora, Spargo Creek.
Pyrenees Shire has had no COVID-19 cases. Hepburn Shire has no active cases and two previous cases.
Mayors of this region's largest shires say case breakdowns by postcodes were not be so straightforward
Moorabool mayor David Edwards said this could help alleviate the fear factor in pockets of the shire's 64 towns and hamlets with borders reaching close to Ballarat, Daylesford, Geelong, Melton and in between Gisborne and Bacchus Marsh.
New restrictions on the Geelong corridor, taking in the entire Moorabool and Golden Plains shires, restrict residents from having visitors in their home from Friday. Residents also cannot visit other people's homes, even if not in a restricted zone.
But, residents are free to travel within their shire.
Cr Edwards said postcode data could help residents in where to shop, for example, if they lived in an area where there might be no cases like Myrniong and could choose between going into Bacchus Marsh or Ballan.
"The other thing to understand, and it's one confusing thing, is this is not purely about the number of COVID cases in the shire," Cr Edwards said. "We had no new cases in Moorabool when the extra restrictions were announced and have less than Macedon Ranges, which is not under restrictions.
"We have transitioning communities and that's how we're affected...We should give ourselves a pat on the back when 60 per cent of our workforce leaves the shire every day and we have not been significantly affected like other regions.
"We can't take our foot off the pedal though and it's important we stick to these additional measures."
The call for more localised data came as the state's second COVID wave started to take shape and Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire went into lockdown. Cases started to emerge in regional shires, like Moorabool and Golden Plains, but it was unclear where within the vast boundaries these could be found.
Professor Sutton on Friday said he was "not one to hold on to information that might be of use to the general community" and was supportive of drilling the data down further to postcodes.
"As long as it doesn't potential identify with an individual with a notifiable disease," Professor Sutton said. "That protection of privacy and knowledge people can come forward for testing, get a positive result and not be afraid their information will become publicly available is a really important measure as well."
Profession Sutton said it was a sign of confidence in the Victorian community to look at those numbers and act accordingly, but this did come with a warning.
"There's some ambivalence with people saying: 'I need to know it's in that postcode and not mine'," Professor Sutton said.
"It is across Victoria. I don't want people to have a false sense of confidence about not following the directions because they're in a big shire and they think all the cases aren't in their postcode."
Golden Plains stretches from Ballarat, taking in Haddon and Smythesdale, to Geelong but about one-quarter of the shire's population lives in Bannockburn.
Active COVID-19 cases in the Geelong corridor have more than doubled from 35 on Tuesday to 73 by Friday. A decision to bar visitors to homes was based on an increased risk of transmission in private homes in the wider Geelong region.
There were eight active cases in Golden Plains on Friday and a total of 13 for the pandemic.
Golden Plains mayor Owen Sharkey said you could assume most cases were in the shire's southern end but the only confirmed details was at least two residents in the north, near Ballarat, who worked in Melbourne and tested positive.
But Cr Sharkey said postcodes might not shed much light as these defined regions within the shire were still huge areas.
"...On paper, postcodes should seem like a good idea but the negatives are in trying to get the communication right," Cr Sharkey said.
"A lot of people have been asking me questions on what they can do and under stage three lockdowns that was very easy messaging - stay home. At the moment it is a bit more challenging and more so if you have different rules in different areas. Unfortunately the lines have to be drawn somewhere."
Some of those lines cut through town, like Cambrian Hill and Smythesdale, but are clearly defined by shire.
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