The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has called on the state government to make critical changes to COVID-19 case reporting to help allay community angst and confusion.
Ms Bath said the current reporting format, which provides case numbers based on local government area, was not serving regional Victoria.
“The current system of reporting a confirmed coronavirus case by local government area (LGA) alone, based on a person’s primary residential address, rather than their current location is misleading,” Ms Bath said.
“This reporting may be suitable for metropolitan Melbourne where the geographical area of an LGA is small, population density is high and suburbs are located close together, but it does not apply well to regional Victoria.
“Across Gippsland we are fortunate to be experiencing very low incidents of coronavirus, but residents want and need accurate and sensible reporting that reflects their physical location.”
Ms Bath said Gippsland’s comparatively low population density meant postcode-specific numbers were critical in guiding community behaviours.
“Unlike metropolitan Melbourne our LGA’s are comprised of urban centres and small rural towns separated by large tracts of farmland,” she said.
“Many community members
are concerned the reporting methodology does not accurately reflect if individuals testing positive reside inside or outside the area at the time of testing.”
Ms Bath has written to Premier Daniel Andrews requesting changes to data reporting in Gippsland.
“The current case data is far from comprehensive and does not paint a true and accurate picture of COVID-19 hotspots regionally or the risk of exposure,” she said.
“Reporting blanket numbers across a regional local government area feeds a sense of uncertainty that the unknown active case could be a person at the local supermarket or pharmacy.
“It would be far more beneficial for the government to report positive cases by postcode of the address the person resided at for the two weeks prior to testing positive, rather than the council area of their listed primary residential address.
“Postcode reporting is readily available in other states.”