BENDIGO Health has urged residents to practise social distancing and good hand hygiene to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner and chair Bob Cameron spoke this morning after a hospital worker tested positive to coronarvirus.
Mr Cameron said there had been community transmission in Bendigo.
"It's important for all of us as a community to think about that we have seen community transmission," he said. "As a result of that, we all have to think about our own individual behaviour.
"We want people to think about that - to make sure they are keeping good social distance and avoiding the spread of the virus because we know that people can be asymptomatic.
"People very well may not know that the person standing next to them has the virus. So please this weekend and going forward, work on the basis that the person next to you has coronavirus.
"Act responsibly to protect yourself and everyone else."
Mr Faulkner said anyone who had symptoms should get tested.
"It is one of the tools we have in our toolbox of defence," he said. "We're prepared to increase our testing capability in response to demand.
"We're also aware that the pathology providers, in spite of the increase, have been maintaining quite good turnaround times for tests.
"So people should not hesitate to come forward."
BENDIGO Health will introduce new measures at the hospital in light of the positive case.
Chief executive Peter Faulkner said the hospital would reduce discretionary work, such as non-urgent dental work and elective surgery.
He said it would also tighten visitor numbers at the hospital and at aged care residences within its network.
A new visiting pod at its aged care site in North Bendigo will not be affected.
"We will commence implementation of those matters from today so progressively over the next couple of days and into early next week those changes will come into place," Mr Faulkner said.
"Not all of them can be switched on or off rapidly."
Mr Faulkner said he couldn't say how long it took the staff member to get their COVID-19 test result back.
However, he expected it would have been within 24 hours because healthcare workers received priority.
A BENDIGO Health staff member has tested positive to COVID-19.
The hospital confirmed the worker was one of the three new active cases recorded in Greater Bendigo on Thursday.
It comes after the City of Greater Bendigo confirmed one of its staff members tested positive to coronavirus.
The hospital could not confirm whether the two cases were linked.
The Bendigo Health staff member, a part-time worker in Telehealth, is self-isolating.
They had no face-to-face contact with patients.
Two others at the hospital have also been tested and are self-isolating.
The hospital could not confirm where the staff member contracted the virus.
"We have no knowledge of that," Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said. "The Department of Health and Human Services' public health people do the contact tracing.
"We follow up our own staff and patients immediately and that's what we have done.
"In this instance, there were no patients to follow up. As for other contacts and/or movements of the staff member, that's a matter for the department's public health people."
Bendigo Health's Bob Cameron said the hospital believed there was community transmission in Bendigo.
Mr Faulkner said none of the new cases were returned travellers.
"They have contracted this virus locally," he said. "From that perspective, we suspect there is community transmission taking place.
"We do know they are not returned travellers, and we don't believe they have been in contact with such people."
On Thursday, Greater Bendigo recorded three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the municipality's total to four active cases, and 13 overall.
We have removed our paywall from this story about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.