THE number of active COVID-19 cases in central Victoria has dropped down to six.
Data released from the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday showed three active cases in Greater Bendigo and another three cases in the Macedon Ranges.
But the latest breakdown showed there were no longer any active cases in the Campaspe Shire. There was one active coronavirus case listed in that region on Wednesday.
Case numbers are subject to change, as DHHS contact tracers follow up cases and analyse data.
The department said the residential location was the residential address provided when the case was notified.
It was not where they were infected and may not be where the case currently resides.
Bendigo Health is now operating a drive-thru COVID-19 screening clinic on its grounds.
The clinic is the first drive-thru clinic in Greater Bendigo since the pandemic began, with entry via Mercy Street.
The entry point to the drive-thru screening will be traffic controlled and there is capacity for about 30 cars to be held within the screening area at any one time.
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said the drive-thru clinic gives the community more testing options.
"This clinic is for symptomatic testing and we encourage people to get tested even with the most mild symptoms," Mr Faulkner said.
"Drive-thru is a great option for people with a disability or the elderly."
Bendigo Health is conducting more than 200 COVID-19 tests per day and expects that number to increase.
"We have tested about 11,500 people in the community so far and remain concerned about the prevalence of COVID-19," Mr Faulkner said.
Bendigo Health's chief nursing and midwifery officer David Rosaia said if the drive-thru clinic becomes congested with traffic, patients will be told to attend the Stewart Street clinic.
"There are plenty of car parks near the walk-in clinic and waiting times should decrease," Mr Rosaia said.
On street parking is available on Stewart Street, in addition to a dedicated car park opposite the walk-in clinic entry.
The drive-thru clinic is not available to patients under the age of five, due to state government regulations.
"Those patients under five years of age need to present to the walk-in clinic," Mr Faulkner said.
Bendigo Health's drive-thru clinic will operate seven days a week, from 10am until 5.30pm, with entry from Mercy Street.
BENDIGO'S new testing facility is available for people showing symptoms similar to COVID-19, and those with close contact.
The drive through clinic opened today with entry from Mercy Street. Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced the new facility on Thursday morning.
It comes after Victoria reported 317 new COVID-19 cases, and two deaths, on Thursday.
Bendigo Health said on its social media the second site was for symptomatic people, and those with close contact to a confirmed case.
It warned children under five could not be tested in cars.
CHIEF health officer Brett Sutton has hit back at claims Victoria's actions to combat COVID-19 are excessive given the virus has caused only 29 deaths.
It comes as Victoria recorded 317 new cases - a total increase of 302 from yesterday with data adjustment - and two deaths.
Dr Sutton said it was absurd to compare the number of COVID-19 deaths with those caused by an average flu season.
He warned Victoria could have seen thousands of deaths per day if restrictions were not put in place.
"These are the deaths you have when you have your controls in place. When you do not have your controls in place ... you get 1000 cases a day, you get up to 10,000 or more cases a day ... and you get up to 1000 deaths per day," he said.
"The idea that 29 deaths is nothing, and we can lift all restrictions, and we can let it run, is absurd.
"It's an exponential growth in cases when there aren't restrictions in place. If we can drive numbers right down, and we can follow them through a test and trace procedure, then we can avoid all of the worst outcomes of this virus."
BENDIGO has a new drive-through COVID-19 testing station at LaTrobe University's School of Rural Health.
It comes as Victoria records 317 new cases of COVID-19, and two new deaths.
It raises total case numbers by 302, in light of changes to yesterday's data.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced the new Bendigo testing station via Twitter on Thursday morning.
It marks the highest number of new cases in Victoria since the pandemic began.
Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to play their part and follow the rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He said he knew there was discussion of a possible stage four restrictions, but said it was too early for Victoria to move to a whole new stage.
Bendigo's new testing clinic will be open 10am to 5pm, seven days a week. It will be a drive through testing facility.
Open from Thursday, entry to the site is from Mercy Street.
The announcement brings Victoria's total number of cases to 4750.
AAP reports health authorities have warned they are "gravely concerned" about the number of residential aged care facilities with COVID-19 cases.
Eight Victorian aged care facilities have residents with coronavirus. Twenty-four more than this have staff who have been infected.
Victoria authorities have also not ruled out a move to further restrictions.
But Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has said avoiding such restrictions should be a fundamental goal in Victoria and the rest of the state, saying it would mean even greater hardship.
- with AAP
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