Bendigo doctors have sent a stern message to the city's residents - stay home Bendigo.
Their message comes after data from the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a second case of coronavirus in Bendigo. Mount Alexander has five confirmed cases and the Macedon Ranges has four.
Bendigo's first COVID-19 case in was recorded in the city last Thursday.
Intensive care and respiratory medicine specialist Emma Broadfield said while there was only a small number of COVID-19 cases in Bendigo, more would come and that practising new rules like social distancing and staying home would slow the spread of the virus.
"The battle against COVID-19 is not one that can be won by doctors and nurses. We need (the Bendigo community's) help," Dr Broadfield said. "Otherwise our best efforts are useless and will be undermined.
"If we don't flatten the curve and COVID-19 cases increase exponentially, no amount of preparation, no amount of staff will be enough to help those affected. The only thing to do is to stay at home to reduce the number of people who get the disease."
Dr Broadfield said the intensive care community across the world had been sharing a lot of information about fighting coronavirus.
"There as been a huge amount of information from Italy, the US and China about their experiences," she said. "This gives us an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and successes.
"At times it feels overwhelming trying to be prepared as we can be. Bendigo is behind Melbourne (in terms of cases) and Australia is behind Europe and the States which give us time to put more things in place to be prepared, which is to our advantage.
"But it does feel like we're waiting for a tsunami to hit and its scary."
Dr Broadfield said a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases in Bendigo would put a strain on the city's healthcare sector.
"Going between home and work, I have seen a number of people standing too close and attending places they shouldn't have been," she said. "The big concern with that is we are going to see a big rise in attendances to hospitals.
"We know about 10 per cent of people who get COVID-19 end up in hospital and five per cent become critically ill. If that happens in a short period of time because people haven't isolated, our systems will be overwhelmed.
"We won't be able to stop COVID-19 but if we slow it down, it gives us time to be as prepared as we can and we can look after people to the standard we want to."
Slowing the spread comes down to people changing their habits.
"As we have seen elsewhere in Australia, the irresponsible actions of even one person can lead to outbreaks and death. So please follow Department of Health guidelines without exception," Dr Broadfield said.
"The best way to stay safe and well is to stay at home. If you must leave your house respect the 1.5m rule and wash your hands.
"We need to actively think about it all the time. It's so different to what we're used to and we need to be pulled up when we make those mistakes."
The group of Bendigo doctors also warned against unnecessary travel and urged people not to host visitors from outside the Great Bendigo area.
"Do not travel outside Greater Bendigo and do not accept visitors from outside Greater Bendigo unless absolutely necessary. Travel for medical reasons is still permitted," Dr Broadfield said.
"If you or family develop symptoms seek medical advice as soon as possible. Isolate yourself until you can arrange to be seen by a doctor or hospital screening clinic. Do not attend work or other activities if you're unwell. Do not panic buy."
While staying at home was isolating and lonely for some people, Dr Broadfield said it was still possible to stay connected with friends and family.
"Social distancing does not mean an end to social connectedness," she said. "We all need support now more than ever. Use the phone net and social media to communicate support your family and community.
"Our rural and regional communities are defined by the way we support each other through difficult times and make sacrifices for the greater good.
"There has never been a more important time to galvinise these values."
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