Errors plague state’s exposure site warning system
Victorian authorities will now post any mistakes or amendments to the top of its exposure site page after a number of glaring errors created confusion in the state.
Victoria recorded one new cases of coronavirus today – a Melbourne man who attended the cricket at the MCG and the Boxing Day sales at Chadstone Shopping Centre.
Victoria’s coronavirus testing commander Jeroen Weimar said yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had altered its website to make things clearer.
“In an operation of this scale, moving at this velocity, where we’re making changes and adjustments not even hour by hour but minute by minute … I think if you look at the website today, we’re highlighting much more now, a clearer way of saying here is emerging breaking news,” he said.
Mr Weimar said health authorities would make it clear if they had “directed a whole bunch of people down the wrong rabbit hole”.
“If we’ve got some things massively wrong, where we have directed a whole bunch of people down the wrong rabbit hole, I think we’ll be upfront about them,” he said.
“I’m upfront about where we’re not always getting it right. There’s exposure sites on the website for this outbreak that have been unchanged since the very beginning, and there’s exposure sites we have changed six times over, as more information has come to light.”
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Mr Weimar asked Victorians to check the DHHS website “at least once or twice a day”.
Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville also admitted mistakes had been made – but reminded the state that health authorities had learnt big lessons since its devastating second wave of coronavirus.
“We put it up as quickly as possible. That‘s the decision that’s been taken and I think that’s one that we’ve learnt from the last time – as quickly as you can, get it up,” Ms Neville said.
“We’ve got the website and we now put out any corrections on social media, in relation to any errors that have occurred in relation to exposure sites.”
Victoria’s health officials were forced to explain themselves earlier this week after a number of confusing errors.
In one example, The Guilty Moose Cafe in Albert Park saw its exposure warning change by nine days.
The cafe went on to lash DHHS for the confusion.
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On January 2, the DHHS advised all contacts that attended the cafe on December 30 between 1 and 1.30pm must isolate until a negative result.
On January 4, the DHHS changed the advice to nine days earlier, reporting the case ate at the cafe on December 21 between 1 and 1.30pm.
A day later, the warning was completely removed, due to it being more than two weeks after the time of exposure.
In another example, the DHHS issued a warning for Coles at Chirnside Park but incorrectly named it as Woolworths, in the same shopping centre.
On January 4, the DHHS advised customers who attended the supermarket on December 31 from 10 to 10.15am to monitor for symptoms.
Three hours later, the DHHS updated the advice, naming the supermarket as Coles, not Woolworths.