Department of Health coronavirus hotline

Constituents have contacted my office regarding a lack of updated information on the department’s website about the increasing spread of the COVID-19 cases on the Mornington Peninsula.

A person confirmed as being positive for COVID-19 visited the Somerville Woolworths store over a 3-hour period. Several of my constituents were in the store during that time and had scanned in via the Service Victoria app QR code. None of these people were notified by the department and the store was never registered as a tier 1 site.

Another recent example saw a number of my constituents desperately seeking information and guidance following a confirmed visit of a COVID-positive person to their children’s school, while the children were present. While the school was contacted, none of the families were, despite reported interactions having occurred between school staff members and the COVID-positive person.

There is also a situation where families whose children attend a local childcare centre are still waiting to receive information and guidance from DH following five confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to the centre.

In another situation, one of my constituents had a blood test taken by a person who was later confirmed as being COVID positive at that time. My constituent was notified by the pathology company and therefore isolated at home for two weeks. However, as DH was too busy and didn’t get to the site, it was not declared as a tier 1 and my constituent has now been refused disaster payments because it was not a tier 1 site.

My constituent is now left with a financial burden for doing the right thing.

Last week the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said on Melbourne radio that he would be contacting the Victorian government to ask for clarification about COVID-19 spread on the Mornington Peninsula after a local doctor said that positive cases in the region are growing but the community isn’t being told about potential exposure.

Mr Hunt said that he would be writing to the Victorian government to ask them to ensure there is full public reporting so people are given all the details, are able to take all the precautions and are able to protect themselves.

These cases highlight that this situation has not yet been rectified, and I ask the minister for his urgent assistance in addressing this situation.