DESPITE the rapid rise in positive COVID-19 cases on the Mornington Peninsula the Department of Health will now only publicise sites classified tier 1.
A tier 1 site is where a confirmed case has attended and where there is a high risk of transmission recurring.
The decision means there is no easy access to detailed information on where and when all positive cases were detected, or where they visited and at what times.
Thirteen cases were detected in the five days to Sunday (10 October) by staff at Rosebud Respiratory Clinic.
Last Thursday the clinic detected 13 positive cases. The total number on the peninsula jumped to 300, of which 86 were classified as active.
Nepean MP Chris Brayne said a range of factors was used to determine the classification of a tier 1 exposure site, including its “environment” and length of time a positive case was there.
“The health department continues to conduct contact tracing and publish high risk sites online, but not all exposure sites meet these criteria,” he said.
Mr Brayne said the number of exposure sites was “only going to continue to grow”.
“With 1300 cases daily [now up to 1900], clearly the best defence is by getting vaccinated,” he said. “Fortunately, most of our senior population on the peninsula have been vaccinated … and now we must work to see the younger cohort get vaccinated too.”
Rosebud Respiratory Clinic’s Dr Sally Shaw agreed with Mr Brayne that “overwhelmed contact tracers were simply not able to put up every exposure site” on the peninsula.
“Consequently, there are a lot of exposure sites that have not been alerted,” she said. “It is impossible now and will get even worse for contact tracers to be able to identify every exposure site,” she said.
“With this in mind it is more important than ever that people get tested. If they have spent any time with a friend or family member who is unwell, they should get tested.
“Anyone who has any symptoms should get tested and anyone who believes they may have been in an exposure spot should get tested.
“We had seven positive cases by midday today [Saturday] and tested more than 300 people.
“We have increased our staff and our capacity to be able to anticipate the need in the coming months for patients to have an answer as to how they can protect their loved ones by avoiding them if they are positive, or how they can get a diagnosis for their symptoms.”
Rosebud Respiratory Clinic is at 1079 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud. Testing is available Monday to Friday 8am-7pm and weekends 9am-5pm. Call 0436 033 507.
To book for COVID-19 testing or vaccinations: peninsulavaccinationcentre.com or call 0436 033 507. Other testing sites are Rosebud Hospital in Eleanora House; Frankston Hospital, corner Hastings Road and Yuille Street, Frankston; and Atticus Health Medical Clinic Hastings where testing is done in the clinic car park by appointment only.
Testing is free if done through a public health centre or GP offering bulk billing.