VICTORIA'S Indigenous communities are coronavirus free, a remarkable result according to Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative's chief.
Karen Heap thanked Ballarat's Indigenous people for a focus on doing the right things throughout pandemic restrictions and said there was still a while to go.
The state's peak Aboriginal health body this week declared zero active COVID-19 cases among Victorian communities. The latest data shows all of the 74 known Indigenous cases in Victoria had fully recovered and been cleared of the virus.
This comes after two infections were detected in Ballarat's Indigenous community in late July.
"It's great, I'm really pleased," Ms Heap said. "When the virus first happened, I was fearful it was going to affect us in a big way. It's remarkable really, that we've been able to keep out community relatively safe with 74 cases out of about 47,000 Aboriginal people in the Victorian population.
"For us, we need to be mindful in keeping the community informed in what needs doing and how we can be supportive."
BADAC is already preparing for what is almost certain to be a different NAIDOC Week in November with restrictions likely to remain.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at greater risk of hospitalisation with coronavirus if they: are aged 50-plus with chronic medical conditions; have a weakened immune system; or are aged 70-plus.
The graph belows shows how close active cases still are to Ballarat
BADAC was quick to send out care packs among its community in a bid to help limit the need for people to leave home. The last of these was sent out last week.
Ms Heap reiterated BADAC's medical clinic remained open, and conducted COVID-19 tests. BADAC's support services are working remotely.
Anyone with a cough, runny nose or other cold and flu-like symptoms is urged to call BADAC on 5331 5344 (option 2) for a COVID-19 test.
Meanwhile, City of Ballarat has maintained zero active COVID-19 cases for two weeks on Wednesday.
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