UPDATE Wednesday 5pm: More detail is beginning to emerge on the Ballarat outbreak that has sparked a seven-day lockdown across the city.
The state government has confirmed there are four active cases:
- One was reported previously.
- Two reported today are their household contacts.
- A further case was notified to the Department after midnight who is a social contact, not a household contact. It will be in tomorrow's numbers.
All the cases are in postcode 3350 - the state government only releases postcode information for active cases, not suburbs, for privacy reasons.
The City of Ballarat local government area stretches from east of Waubra across Lake Burrumbeet, ending on the western edge of Creswick and Warrenheip, and including Scotsburn to the south.
Anyone who lives just outside of this area - in Creswick or Smythesdale, for example - must continue following existing levels of restrictions.
If they have to go into the City of Ballarat, they can only do so for one of the five reasons - care and caregiving, exercise within five kilometres, work and education if it can't be done at home, essential shopping, and testing and vaccination.
"People from outside the lockdown area can enter the lockdown area to access necessary goods and services, provided they are from the facility closest to where they live," according to the state government.
"This means if there is a shop selling something they need that is only located in Ballarat, they can go to Ballarat to get it.
"If they are just getting something that's available in Creswick, they should shop for it in Creswick."
There have been repeated wastewater detections since August 30, some expected.
Of particular interest are strong and unexpected detections in the suburbs of Delacombe, Sebastapol South and Bonshaw.
The period of interest is September 12 to 14.
There is no set benchmark for when the lockdown could ease, and while it is due to end at 11.59pm next Wednesday, the state government said any shortening or lengthening would depend on the epidemiological situation.
Schools will close for all students except the children of essential workers, however school holidays will begin as normal next week for most schools.
A rapid response testing site has also opened at Victoria Park, which has closed to the public.
With active cases confirmed in Ballarat, it's important anyone with mild symptoms gets tested immediately, and anyone contacted by the health department follow the instructions provided.
Anyone who has been at any of the locations listed on the state government's official exposure sites list should immediately get tested.
It is updated repeatedly through the day as contact tracing continues.
Some sites are Tier 1 - this is a more serious risk of exposure, and usually means the affected person may have spent more time the venue.
Anyone who has visited a Tier 1 exposure site during the times listed must immediately isolate, get a COVID-19 test, and quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure, according to the state government website.
Anyone who has visited a Tier 2 exposure site during times listed should urgently get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result. Continue to monitor for symptoms, get tested again if symptoms appear.
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If you have symptoms and you are unsure of what to do, do not visit your GP or the Emergency Department to get tested.
According to Ballarat Health Services, instead, return home, stay at home, and isolate from others in your household if possible.
Arrange to get a test as soon as possible - testing is free, and there are multiple sites across the city. An appointment is required at the UFS respiratory clinic - book online or phone 03 4311 1571.
4Cyte Pathology Ballarat offers drive-through testing with no appointment required, at 630 Skipton Street, Redan. BHS has also opened a drive-through testing site at Sebastopol's Marty Busch recreation reserve, on Charlotte Street.
Testing is also available in Daylesford - phone Daylesford Health, on Hospital Street, on 5321 6654.
There have been several COVID-19 detections in Ballarat's wastewater since the end of August - more detail is available online.
Positive tests were recorded three days in a row, from September 8 to September 10, and another positive test from September 13 is expected.
According to the website, the detections can mean many things, as COVID fragments can be released for weeks after an infection.
However, if viral fragments are detected in the wastewater of an area where there have not been recent COVID-19 cases, local communities can be more vigilant, promptly seek clinical testing if symptomatic, and practise COVID-safe behaviours with increased vigilance.
If you can get vaccinated, book in as soon as you can.
Remember to use good hand hygiene, wear a mask outside the house, keep social distancing, and always check-in with QR codes to help contact tracing.
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