While the quickness of Ballarat's rapidly evolving COVID situation caught many off guard, council has been preparing for the virus to enter the city as if it was an 'inevitability'.
Ballarat suddenly had two cases in a matter of hours on Tuesday, with the first in a construction worker and the second in a school student, and multiple exposure sites across the city.
Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said while he was surprised to learn of these particular cases, council had been planning for and expecting cases to eventually rise.
"I think it's now how we manage it that's going to be the most important thing," he said.
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"We are a big city with big dependencies on Melbourne and it was probably inevitable at some point that we would have a case."
Cr Moloney said it was an excellent result for a city of about 100,000 people to go more than a year without a confirmed case.
"We should take that as work well done, but we should also now be extra vigilant," he said.
"If masks were slipping down the face, make sure that they're properly fitted again, back to making sure that everyone's being really vigilant with the hand sanitizer and QR code check-ins, in particular, at places that they visit because these are things that over time, people can get complacent with.
"This case isn't cause for alarm yet, but it is definitely cause to shake off the complacency."
In preparing for a rise in cases in Ballarat, Cr Moloney said council learnt from previous outbreaks in Shepparton and had spread its workforce throughout its depots.
As part of its response to the pandemic, council has created 'workforce bubbles' for its essential service teams. The bubbles ensure the same teams work together so if one team is impacted by COVID, another is able to continue to deliver council services.
Essential services utilising the bubble system include kerbside waste and recycling collection and street cleaning.
Council's Meals on Wheels service is also operating across two sites, at Mair Street and the Eureka Centre, under a similar system.
Meanwhile, council's family and children's services will operate in line with state government requirements and child care, kindergarten, maternal and child health nurses and the Aging Well team will also continue.
In a statement to the community, chief executive Evan King said there was no need for panic following the confirmed cases.
"The City of Ballarat will continue to support our community through any challenges that the pandemic presents. It's imperative that we all remain calm, look after one another and follow the latest health advice," he said.
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"Please rest assured that Ballarat is well prepared. We have a robust healthcare system and we've taken learnings from other outbreaks. We have responded well to cases in the past and we will do so again."
South ward councillor Mark Harris, who also works as an emergency doctor at St John of God Ballarat Hospital, said there was an inevitability cases would enter the regions.
"All we can do is mitigate by having the best possible defences that we can and by far the best is that good local contact tracing," he said.
"For the city, where they've got larger amounts, contact tracing has a certain utility until it gets pretty much swamped. We've got a good chance with one case or a few cases that it might end up being to chase it down and give us a little bit more time to get our vaccination rates up, so we're hopeful that'll be the case.
"You can't beat the numbers. It's going to happen if you get 500 a day in Victoria, we'll get proportionally what's due to us, unfortunately. The ring of steel is not going to protect us that well, not from something like Delta."
Cr Harris said Ballarat's health system was better placed to deal with an outbreak than smaller regional towns.
"We're a regional centre, we're well-resourced, smaller places aren't. You can get one hospital lunchroom and one supermarket and you're in dire straits. For us, that's not the case," he said.
"We've got some redundancy because of the fact that we've got bigger health resources so you can get micro outbreaks or furlough issues and the like and it doesn't incapacitate us as a whole."
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