Calls for postcode data on COVID-19 cases in Mitchell Shire

WITH Mitchell Shire included in reintroduced lockdown measures for metropolitan Melbourne, MPs have called on the State Government to release postcode-based data for cases of COVID-19 in regional Victoria.

Mitchell Shire had seven active cases as of yesterday while the neighbouring City of Whittlesea had 32 and Hume had 116.

While the southern portion of Mitchell Shire is less than an hour from the Melbourne CBD, towns in the north are closer to regional centres such as Bendigo and Shepparton than they are to Melbourne.

Whittlesea township has also been included in the metropolitan lockdown along with the rest of the City of Whittlesea.

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan, whose electorate takes in Kilmore, Broadford and Seymour, said while it was clear Mitchell Shire had a much higher rate of cases than the rest of regional Victoria, they were likely to be in the shire’s south which borders hotspot areas like Craigieburn.

“There is no indication from the government as to whether the cases recorded in Mitchell are in the southern or northern end of the shire,” she said.

“I have tried on a number of occasions now to obtain a more detailed breakdown of where these cases are located, however the Andrews Government seems reluctant to provide it.

“Providing case numbers by postcode would ensure residents are informed about the level of risk in their own community, while protecting the privacy of those who are ill.”

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, whose electorate includes Wallan, Beveridge and parts of the City of Whittlesea, said in a Facebook post last night that she was not briefed on why Mitchell Shire was included in the lockdown.

“However, it is my understanding that it is because there’s now a similar proportion of active cases relative to population as in neighbouring Whittlesea City,” she said.

Minister for Regional Development and Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes, who is based in Broadford and has an office in Wallan, said it was a decision the government had to make to protect the welfare of everyone in the community and stop the spread of the virus.

“Regional Victoria is not immune to this virus. It can spread anywhere. Our focus needs to be on the areas where there is a high risk of transmission,” she said.

“We have a number of cases in central parts of the shire as well as some closer to Melbourne and there is a risk these could spread elsewhere in our community very easily.

“My message to the Mitchell Shire communities is very clear: we will be increasing our local testing capacity and we need everyone with even the mildest of symptoms to get tested and follow these restrictions – because the more data we have and the way our community responds will dictate every step we take from here on out.”

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien blasted the State Government, calling the reintroduced lockdown a ‘catastrophic’ consequence.

“This is a really tough day for Victorians. Six weeks of further lockdowns will be a devastating blow for families, workers and small businesses. Many jobs simply won’t survive this,” he said.

“The spread of the virus isn’t down to bad luck – it is bad decisions by government.

“To the Andrews Labor Government: We disagree on many things but this is too important for us not to work together. My team stands ready to work constructively with the government to address this latest crisis.”

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty said he was relieved the State Government listened to regional Victoria.

“At last the city-focused Labor Party is recognising that regional Victoria needs to be treated as a distinct entity,” he said.

“All through this coronavirus crisis, regional Victorians have been paying the price for Melbourne’s problems. I’m delighted that this attitude has changed.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t go anywhere at the moment as I am recovering from surgery, but I have done the right thing from the get-go and I am sick to death of being alone. I feel like I am being punished for those selfish people who continue on as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening and, I have seen plenty of them prior to surgery. Please listen to what you are being told and do the right thing so we can all have our freedom back.

  2. I personally would like to know where these cases are in the Mitchell shire. It would help to know which town(s) not to go near.
    People in Melbourne get to hear what suburb a case has been detected so why can’t we?

  3. If there are actually cases in a suburb say wallan and the community is told hey there have been 3 confirmed cases in wallan everyone will be more likely to follow the rules because they will be scared of contracting the virus but keeping people in the dark and only using their council to say there have been 7 cases in Mitchell Shire then people don’t care because that is a large area to cover so they will continue to do as they please. If the government really wants to stop this virus they will start to give out the names of suburbs that actually have confirmed cases.

  4. People think people drive all over this shire to shop they work in melb. We have to trust each other to do do the right thing. As for who caused this it was one is who did the wrong thing it does not matter who was guarding the hotels hotel’s it could have happened. Just take care of yourself and family

  5. Agree with Gail Wallace completely, what happened to “All in this together ” . Not one positive or encouraging comment has come from the state opposition including Steph Ryan. The opposition and the Neill Mitchells of the state are trying to devide Victoria.

  6. Agree with with Steph Ryan “Providing case numbers by postcode would ensure residents are informed about the level of risk in their own community, while protecting the privacy of those who are ill.” We live in Seymour and the number of out-of-towners is shocking, going to Woolworths, Coles, the main street, etc it’s like your in a different town, just a bit of a worry especially with our elderly, to scared to go shopping. Sorry for the rant.

    • I agree with you & Steph. I actually sent a letter of complaint to the Vic Gov health because of no testing facilities here. I am happy to say we now have them so they did listen.

  7. Well said Gail. Keep politics out of this problem. The majority of us do the right thing. It is not the governments fault if we have idiots in the community

  8. The feeling is mutual over here in Sunbury where we have had 1 case but because we are part of Hume we are listed as the worst hot spot.

  9. If Daniel Andrews had not mismanaged this in the beginning we would not be in this situation. He refuses to be transparent ,and up front with information, carries on as if “nothing to see here” We should be able to look up in exactly which area ,cases are. The inquiry into his handling of this fiasco, should be done by an independent source and done way before September, when he thinks everyone has forgotten about it.

  10. Sadly the restrictions have to be implemented. Let’s be positive though as of course we are going to have high readings of infection initially with record testing & cold weather that the virus is more prevalent. If our numbers drop dramatically over the next 2/4 weeks , which l am & every Victorian hopes to happen we must act quickly & relax the restrictions.Our businesses need to have a chance to survive if at all possible.Fingers crossed.Take care & good luck to every Victorian.Keith

  11. I really wish the opposition leader Michael O’Brien would stop being so negative. This is hard enough living in the Mitchell Shire, going through this and trying to remain positive without listening to his negativity. It’s time for everyone to stand together and work together. Enough with the blame game just to score political points, it is what it is. Let’s learn and get through it together not divide people and blame. Yes, obviously processes have failed but for God sakes I’m under enough stress without hearing all the negativity.

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