IF you must have visitors these school holidays, do not hug them.
That's the firm message from the region's hospitals bracing for the possibility of metropolitan visitors breaking the south-west's 13 COVID-free weeks.
Warrnambool infection prevention coordinator Jenny Lukeis said with most of the city's accommodation providers highly booked, the school holidays presented a challenge.
"For play dates or visitors please check if they're well before they come, clean any high touch points like light switches and toilets before and after they come, keep your distance and wash your hands," she said.
"From an infection point of view if people can refrain from having out-of-town visitors, then please do so.
"We're still in a state of emergency and the biggest concerns are family and friends because that's where people drop their guard. You're not going to hug or be close to a stranger, but with loved ones that is the risk factor."
Coronavirus infections in Victoria continue to rise with 30 new cases identified on Friday.
Ambulance Victoria Barwon South West Regional Director Terry Marshall said many regional areas were expecting an influx of visitors during the school holidays and it's more important than ever that people continue to help flatten the curve.
"The recent spike in coronavirus cases has prompted fears of a second wave, but our message remains the same," he said.
"If you go out, please continue to practice physical distancing. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and don't touch your face because the primary path of infection is through your mouth, nose and eyes. For the same reason, and for the safety of others, sneeze or cough into your elbow."
Changes to testing criteria
Ms Lukeis said if people were tested for coronavirus, they had to stay home while waiting for results.
She said the hospital had encountered a number of instances of people not waiting for their results before returning to work.
"We've called people to tell them their result and they're already back at work, that's not acceptable you must isolate until your results come back," she said.
In Warrnambool coronavirus testing criteria has changed so that only symptomatic people can currently be tested.
South West Healthcare's respiratory assessment clinic, located off the Warrnambool Base Hospital, is open six days a week by appointment only.
The clinic is seeing around 70 people a day through the clinic.
Only people without symptoms in the six coronavirus hotspot areas are being tested at this time.
South West Healthcare has now screened 4574 people for coronavirus to date.
533 of those were in the last week alone.
There was a significant uptake in COVID-19 testing at Western District Health Service this week, with 136 people presenting at the drive-thru clinic and emergency department since Monday.
Since early March, WDHS has tested 1775 people for the virus, with seven of those testing positive. The last positive test result in the Southern Grampians Shire was identified on April 10.
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