Bendigo Health has established a public health unit that will conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 cases in the Loddon Mallee region.
The Public Health Unit Bendigo (phuB) commenced operations this week and has begun contact tracing for Hazeldene’s after a worker tested positive on Monday.
The phuB is currently a team of 18, with 12 contact tracers and a management team of six.
Bendigo Health Chief Medical Officer, Diana Badcock is the clinical lead of the phuB.
“The role of the unit is to help the community contain COVID-19 and its transmission,” she said.
The phuB comprises of a contact tracing arm and a clinical monitoring arm, whereby clinicians can follow up and assess COVID-19 positive persons in the community.
“The medical response to COVID-19 has been boosted with this unit, we now have a wider group of clinical consultants assisting the infectious disease team,” she said.
Bendigo Health chief executive officer Peter Faulkner said the phuB will take over broader contact tracing responsibilities from the state government’s public health unit.
“Information on how the positive case acquired the illness and where it may have been passed on was work that was previously done by the state – now we will do this work for the Loddon Mallee region,” he said.
Mr Faulkner said information collected by the unit will be used for a health purposes, nothing else.
“Contact tracing depends on people being open, having great memories about where they have been and who they have been in touch with,” he said.
Mr Faulkner appreciated there was community concern regarding a delay in contact tracing for certain cases in the past.
“There won’t be a little bit of a delay between information coming from the state and ourselves. It helps us identify those cases and intervene very quickly to try and reduce transmission,” he said.
More information on the phuB can be found here.