Shocking, dark, grim, deadly. These terms were among many which described the past week as coronavirus cases spread like wildfire across Victoria.
The virus claimed the lives of 52 Victorians between Sunday and Friday, the state's health department said, as the death toll hit 112. Sadly, a Portland man in his 50s was among those, the region's first fatality. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this awful time.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced new restrictions for regional Victorians. After midnight on Sunday it will be compulsory for all south-west residents to wear masks or face coverings when out in public. There are of course some exceptions for people who cannot because of medical conditions, those aged under 12 and during some activities but from Monday our world will be a different place.
Many have already heeded the health advice and are wearing masks. But there will be a few who wrongly protest. This week's events, especially the tragic death at Portland, is a grim reality check for us all.
If anyone doubted the virus' lethal consequences, they cannot anymore. The speed and ease COVID-19 spreads is alarming. So too its deadly nature. This is not fear mongering - the week's events speak volumes.
Good management and good fortune spared the south-west from the realities of COVID-19 for almost four months. But that changed this week for the worse. While Warrnambool has one active case, nearby neighbours in Glenelg and Colac Otway shires are far worse off. Colac Otway's mayor this week called for the municipality to be locked down. Portland District Health chief executive officer Chris Giles urged people to take precautions and get tested.
"COVID-19 has no vaccine and no cure, anyone who gets this virus is at risk of life long complications, or even death, I want to stop this virus moving insidiously through our community, but if I can't find the people infected I can't slow and ultimately stop the spread," she said.
It's up to us all. Please wear masks, practice good hygiene and get tested if you have symptoms. Our lives depend on it.