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New data shows Benalla might only have one COVID-19 case

By Simon Ruppert

The latest data released by the Department of Health and Human Services shows Benalla Rural City having only one confirmed COVID-19 case, in contradiction to yesterday's figures which showed two.

The Ensign has contacted the Department for clarification and will confirm the correct figure as soon as we have it.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Victoria is now 821 ­– an increase of 56 from yesterday. Four people have already died, many more are in hospital or self-isolating at home.

The total number of cases includes 447 men and 370 women, with people aged from three to 88.

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There are 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. More than 42,000 Victorians have been tested to date.

Currently 29 people are in hospital, including four patients in intensive care. Two hundred and forty-eight people have recovered.

Of the total 821 cases, there have been 653 in metropolitan Melbourne and 146 in regional Victoria. A number of cases remain under investigation.

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support. All close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.

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Under new restrictions agreed by National Cabinet, gatherings of more than two people will be banned from midnight tonight, except for members of your immediate household and for work or education purposes.

There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.

All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction. All travelers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for the self-isolation period of 14 days.

Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9913 for businesses.

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Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20 000. Companies face fines of up to $100 000.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said these are unprecedented times. The threat of coronavirus to public health is real and everyone must take social distancing seriously.

“Everyone who’s unwell must isolate themselves and everyone who’s been told they’re in quarantine either as a returned traveller or close contact must do so,” Professor Sutton said.

“Social distancing will save lives. Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.

“Our message is clear: if you can stay home, you must stay home.”

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398.

Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and DHHS ask Victorians for their patience as it works to manage the volume.

Further information is also available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus