EFFECTIVE contact tracing has ensured there have been no mystery cases of the killer coronavirus in the Ballarat region.
This comes as overall cases in the City of Ballarat rose by seven on Friday, with 25 active infections, in the biggest daily increase for the city in the pandemic.
Ballarat Health Services chief Dale Fraser remains confident the virus was relatively contained with all active infections connected to known cases are all "well within control".
Mr Fraser said Ballarat's COVID-19 cases had been comparatively low compared to Geelong (167 active cases) and Bendigo (56), which had clusters. But Ballarat has chalked up the fastest COVID-19 growth rate in regional Victoria in the past week.
"Most of the cases are working through the cycle of being cleared. They are now approximately seven days into a 10-day monitoring cycle and, assuming no further positives out of that group are seen, we should start seeing numbers reduce," Mr Fraser said.
"There's been a slowing down quite substantially of the number of positives the last few days and so we are quite hopeful the various measures of masks and social isolation and stage four (in Melbourne) are making a difference."
Mr Fraser said the bulk of Ballarat's active cases were linked to outbreaks at Ballarat Bakery and Sinclair Meats.
Cases also include one student nurse on BHS' inpatient rehabilitation ward who tested positive to COVID-19 last week. About 60 BHS staff were impacted were gradually returning to work from Friday.
Mr Fraser said juggling the BHS workforce was not without challenges but data showed the biggest risk with healthcare workers was from the general public, rather than healthcare workers to the general public.
IN OTHER NEWS
BHS has been forced to daily review its workers from Melbourne.
All medical students were this week barred from completing placements in Ballarat if they lived in Melbourne, unless choosing to relocate to a stage three region.
Mr Fraser said there was a small number, mostly senior staff, moving from Melbourne to Ballarat and this was reviewed daily to determine risks.
"With our reduction in surgery some of that work has ceased but we are cognisant of the fact we have to provide clinical care and we have adequate controls in place once staff get here to minimise risk to the general public and to their work colleagues," Mr Fraser said.
In line with state directives, BHS can only offer category one and the most urgent category two elective surgeries.
Mr Fraser said all BHS staff at all sites must undertake a series of screenings each day. This includes a series of questions on physical health, a temperature check and fresh mask. Staff in high-risk areas had full personal protective equipment, including gowns and goggles, which were routinely changed through shifts.
He said such full protection was particularly harrowing but necessary for emergency department staff.
Mr Fraser reiterated the best thing everyone in Ballarat could do to best help healthcare workers was to stay home, wear masks, socially distance, wash hands and get tested for even the slightest of symptoms.
Testing has re-opened at the BHS public dental site in Sebastopol, phone 5320 8889. This is as well as extra hours and staffing for testing at the Lucas ( call 4311 1571) and Little Bridge Street (1800 054 172) fever clinics.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.