Today marks one year since Albury Wodonga Health (AWH) recorded an active case of COVID-19 within its North East Victoria and Southern New South Wales catchment.

“This milestone has been made possible through the response of our community in abiding by COVID-19 hygiene and social distancing measures, proactively getting tested when displaying symptoms, and getting vaccinated,” said AWH CEO, Michael Kalimnios.

“Whilst this is a fantastic milestone, we must keep up the fight against COVID-19 and not allow complacency to set in.”

Recent COVID-19 cases in Mildura, Barwon Heads and Bacchus Marsh have proven that regional communities are not immune to the virus, and highlighted just how quickly and widely the virus can spread.

Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic in March 2020, the region has seen a total of 19 positive cases of COVID-19, and was fortunate to avoid further cases following the emergence of Jindera and Albury exposure sites last month.

Indeed, Mr Kalimnios was quick to note that this virus-free streak could be broken at any time, and that vaccinations continue to be the most effective way to protect our community against the disease.

“When you get vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself but also helping to protect the entire community.”

Since first opening its COVID-19 Vaccination Hub in March 2021, AWH has delivered over 37,000 vaccines across the five Local Government Areas of Wodonga, Wangaratta, Alpine, Towong and Indigo.

Combined with over 46,000 doses delivered through the Commonwealth program, this has seen nearly half of Hume region residents aged over 15 receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose.

Along with a phenomenal local vaccination effort, since February 2020 AWH has conducted over 41,000 tests through its testing clinics.

These COVID-19 efforts have been further supported by Murrumbidgee Local Health District, who provide public health services to people across the Riverina, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and the South Western Slopes of NSW.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to our local healthcare workers for their hard work and dedication in maintaining these COVID-safe efforts. The past 12-months have been a mammoth team effort from the COVID-19 testing clinics, vaccination centres, contact tracing teams, pathology teams, local Public Health Units – and of course, the community.”

“Together we have come a long way, and it’s only together that we can keep on top of this virus.”

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