BENDIGO Health has revealed that over 80 per cent of patients currently battling COVID-19 in the city's hospital are not fully vaccinated.
Currently, there are 12 people in the hospital's COVID-19 ward, four are in intensive care and of those, two are on a ventilator.
About 90 per cent of those in intensive care are not fully vaccinated.
Bendigo Health chief medical officer Diana Badcock hoped by sharing those numbers that it would prompt unvaccinated community members to book in for their jab.
"We want to make a plea to the community to get vaccinated because, in the end, we want all of our loved ones around at Christmas and not unwell in the hospital," she said.
As the state continues to open up, Dr Badcock warned the community to be prepared to live with the virus.
"Our message is to be prepared, we have over 400 cases in our region and around 140 in Greater Bendigo," she said.
"These people are mostly well and they are vaccinated and are isolating at home and that's how we want that to continue.
"We need people to be prepared so they have the capacity in their homes to isolate themselves as much as possible and they have support from other people and things in place to minimise spread in their own home."
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said the hospital was well equipped for case numbers to rise in the region.
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He said the hospital's current COVID ward has the capacity to hold 28 patients but said, there was also capacity to open up another ward if needed.
"There is nothing to tell us that while case numbers are likely to increase, there is nothing to say that there will be a steep jump in admissions to hospital," he said.
"But let's be clear, we have never been in this position before so it's difficult to know what's around the corner."
Mr Faulkner said the region's high vaccination rate would continue to play a factor in how the hospital copes with COVID-19.
"Most of those people are from outside of Greater Bendigo, only two are from Bendigo. Half of those people are here with reasons other than COVID, they happen to have COVID but they are unwell in other ways," he said.
Mr Faulkner asked the community to think before going out and getting a COVID-19 test.
He said community members should only be getting tested if they had been to exposure site, been identified as a close contact or have symptoms.
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"While we may be exposed and while we may be COVID positive, the likelihood of serious illness is signficantly lower than it was prior to vaccination," he said.
"We do need to get on with life and the Bendigo community should be congratulated for their high vaccination rates and they should enjoy the freedoms that have been earned."
Where can I get tested?
The Showgrounds testing site (drive-through with walk-in capacity) will be open from 8.30am to 5.30pm for priority testing for close contacts who have been asked to be tested by the Public Health Unit or the Department of Health.
Testing for healthcare workers, truck drives and pre-operations will also be conducted.
McLaren St (walk-in and drive-through) will be open from 8.30am to 5.30pm for symptomatic people, people who have visited tier one or tier two exposure sites or those who have been contacted by businesses or a positive case.
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