Shepparton East 3631
The Victorian Health Department has apologised for confirming a number of COVID-19 cases in regional areas of the state that later proved to be incorrect.
- As of Wednesday’s update, the total number of cases in Victoria is 466, including 47 in regional areas
- Incorrect reports have created confusion in some communities, with people airing their frustration on social media
- The Opposition says it is crucial that the Government passes on accurate information to the public
The department initially reported cases for Greater Shepparton and East Gippsland but retracted the data “after further investigation”.
The incorrect information had been sent to media outlets and posted on the department’s website as part of a daily update detailing the number of new coronavirus cases.
On Monday, the department reported one case for East Gippsland but made a retraction today.
Also on Monday, it said two earlier cases had been removed after further investigation.
And in an alert issued yesterday, the department confirmed a third coronavirus case for Greater Shepparton, however a spokesperson this morning told the ABC a correction would be issued.
Miscommunication around case messaging
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp told his hundreds of followers in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening that incorrect reports were circulating of a third case in Shepparton.
“I can advise at this time, the third reported case appears to be an error,” he wrote.
“I can confirm there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time, as detailed in my previous posts.”
The post sparked confusion within the community, with some taking to Facebook to air their frustration.
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A spokesperson for the department said the error for Greater Shepparton was due to one case being counted twice, while testing of a suspected case in East Gippsland proved negative.
They apologised for the confusion and said information was constantly being reviewed and followed up as part of contact tracing.
According to today’s update, the total number of cases in Victoria is 466, including 47 in regional areas.
The department’s data confirmed a fresh case for East Gippsland.
There are eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.
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‘It’s truly testing all of us’
Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said it was crucial the Government passed on accurate information to the public.
“I think everyone understands that this is a very difficult time for everybody, it’s truly testing all of us,” Ms Crozier said.
“We need to all be saying the same thing so that people don’t get confused, that they understand what’s going on and have trust in the authorities that are dealing with this very serious issue.
“Our doctors and nurses, our paramedics, all of those people who work in our hospitals, all of those people who are trying to assist the general community during this really difficult time, are doing a tremendous job and they need to be supported too.”
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Following this morning’s updated figures, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton reinforced the need for people to take social distancing seriously.
“Social distancing will save lives,” Professor Sutton said.
“Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.
“We urge everyone to stay 1.5 metres away from everyone else, wash your hands often with soap and water, and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.”
A spokesperson for the department said it was “working around the clock to get accurate and timely information on reporting of cases to the public on a daily basis”.
“The data coming into the department is dynamic and subject to change, as it is collected from a range of sources and is reviewed hour by hour.”