Frequently asked questions

We have complied a list of the top questions that we are being asked about COVID-19 and will continually add more questions as they come in.

If you would like a question added, please email us at:

Virtual emergency relief centre FAQs

  • I think I have coronavirus – what should I do?

    If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance.

    If you suspect you have coronavirus (Symptoms include: a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or tiredness) or need advice you should contact:

    DHHS Coronavirus Hotline
    Call: 1800 675 398 – 24 hours (7 days a week)
    Online self-assessment tool:

    Local GP clinics within Mount Alexander Shire are also testing registered patients:

    Lyttleton Street Clinic
    Call: (03) 5472 3233

    Mostyn Street Clinic
    Call: (03) 5472 1255

    Botanical Gardens Clinic
    Call: (03) 5472 1844

    If you aren’t registered with a local GP clinic, your nearest COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinic is:

    Bendigo Respiratory Clinic
    Call: 1800 573 196
    Visit: 126 Spring Gully Road, Spring Gully VIC 3550
    Online booking:

  • Where can I pick up a COVID-19 Community health and wellbeing Resource Pack?

    Mount Alexander residents can request an information pack by calling council's COVID support line on 1800 512 446 or email You can also pick up a copy from some local post offices, supermarkets or health organisations.

  • Where can I find information on what shops are still open?

    The State Government ‘Restricted activity directions (No 5)’ has placed restrictions on businesses and other organisations, and limited recreational, cultural and entertainment activities.

    This has created the need for some businesses to adapt and deliver services differently.

    For an updated list of all local food businesses available for takeaway and delivery as well as online shopping options:

  • Can I still get my medications?

    Yes. You can still get your medications through your local GP or pharmacy. The following pharmacies are also providing a delivery service:

    To find out more visit:

  • Where can I get some assistance with food and other essential items?

    If you are in urgent need of food and don’t have a support network who can help you, call the DHHS Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

    If you cannot afford food and are unable to get it yourself or with the help of family and friends, contact:

    • Mount Alexander Community Pantry
      This is a locally run volunteer service which provides pre-prepared frozen meals or food packages, made with community spirit. To access this service:
      Call: 0472 537 866 between 9am-3pm (Monday to Friday)
      Visit: Castlemaine Community House

    If you can afford food but are unable to get it yourself or with the help of family and friends, the below delivery services are available from these local supermarkets:

    • Castlemaine Maxi IGA
      ­ Delivery service available Monday, Wednesday and Friday
      ­ Orders to be made by calling: (03) 5472 2477
      ­ Orders can be made either the day before delivery or on the day by 12.00pm
      ­ Set delivery fee of $5.00 and do and food can be ordered on these days or the day before. Payment method: Cash or cheque (on request)
    • Castlemaine IGA
      ­ Delivery service available Monday, Wednesday and Friday around town (Approx 5km radius)
      ­ Orders to be made by calling: (03) 5472 1140
      ­ Orders can be made either the day before delivery or on the day by 12.00pm
      ­ Set delivery fee of $5.00 if within 5km radius. Outside 5km may be possible but may incur $10.00 fee
      ­ Payment method: Cash (cheque on request)
    • Newstead IGA
      ­ Delivery service only to those in need (Elderly or isolated people) upon request in local area.
      ­ Orders to be made by calling: (03) 5476 2400 or a note can be dropped off at the store by a family member
      ­ No delivery fee charged
      ­ Payment method: cash on delivery or credit card over the phone (receipt then provided on delivery)
    • Maldon IGA
      ­Delivery service available Monday to Friday in the local area
      Orders to be made by calling: (03) 5475 2458 between 9.00-10.30am on the day. Anything later may be picked up the same day or will be done the following day.No delivery fee charged
      Payment method: Credit card over the phone and also accept cheques (not accepting cash).
  • Can I travel interstate?

    Yes. You are still able to travel interstate, however the current message is ‘Stay Home’ so it is advisable to not travel unless absolutely necessary. Several Australian states and territories are also currently prohibiting cross-border entry, so you may not be able to enter them.

    For more information on traveling interstate you should contact:

    DHHS Coronavirus Hotline
    Call: 1800 675 398

  • Why is the Farmers Market still operating?
    The Castlemaine Farmers Market continues to operate on a Wednesday (weekly) and Sunday (monthly) as an option for ‘food shopping’ under the Federal Government’s COVID–19 essential service delivery policy and State Government restrictions. The market organisers have made numerous adaptations to comply with these requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 including the social distancing and good hygiene practices as well as relocating to Western Reserve.
  • How can I report a breach of the current restrictions?

    If you are concerned about a person or a business not complying with the current COVID-19 restrictions you should contact:

    Police Assistance Line
    Call: 131 444

    DHHS Coronavirus Hotline
    Call: 1800 675 398

  • I’m not coping very well with COVID-19 – who can help me?

    If you are feeling stressed or anxious and feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and support.

    In an emergency or crisis situation you must call 000.

    In a non-emergency situation, your family GP is a good place to start. You can also contact the following organisations:

    CHIRP Community Health
    Staff can provide information about local services and resources, offer emotional support and practical advice, help you explore ways to cope with whatever challenges you are facing or refer you to an appropriate service
    Call: 5479 1000 – 9am to 5pm (Monday – Friday)

    Victorian Mental Health Triage – Loddon Mallee
    Staffed by senior mental health clinicians, this service involves an initial assessment over the phone to determine the type and urgency of the response required from mental health or other services.
    Call: 1300 363 788 – 24 hours (7 days a week)
    Visit: Bendigo Health

    Beyond Blue
    Trained counsellors are available to support you if you are feeling worried or struggling to cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
    Call: 1800 512 348 – 24 hours (7 days a week)
    Visit: Beyond Blue
    Online Forum:

    Kids Helpline
    Private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25, parents and carers.
    Call or Text: 1800 551 800 – 24 hours (7 days a week)
    Visit: Kids Help Line

  • I’m feeling lonely – is there someone I can talk to for a friendly chat?
    If you need support, information, advice on who to contact or what to do, or simply need to talk to someone who will listen, call the friendly staff at CHIRP Community Health on (03) 5479 1000 – 9am to 5pm (Monday – Friday).
    Australian Red Cross – COVID Connect also have volunteers that are happy to call you – once or regularly – for a friendly chat to help maintain or improve social connection.
    COVID Connect is a free service from Australian Red Cross, for adults of all ages, to provide support and community connection to people who are feeling socially isolated as a result of COVID-19.
    It is available to anyone who is not in regular social contact with is experiencing isolation or loneliness.
    Register online at:
    (Note: It is not a service for people wanting assistance with their mental health or those who require assistance in a crisis).
  • Can I still volunteer?

    Yes. Volunteering is still permitted under some restrictions as the needs of volunteer organisations are rapidly changing as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. Some volunteering opportunities may be on hold or adapted and it is encouraged that you to reach out to the organisation you volunteer with to understand if there have been changes.

    Your personal health and safety is most important and your decision to engage in volunteering should be done in consideration to your personal circumstances. Some of the things you may wish to consider are if:

    • You are healthy and not in a High Risk category
    •  A risk assessment for your role has been conducted
    • The organisation is following DHHS health and safety guidelines
    • Background checks and safety protocols have been conducted
    • The organization has current Volunteer Personal Accident and Public Liability insurance

    For more information on volunteering contact:

  • Can I leave my home to seek refuge from family violence or abuse?

    Yes. You are allowed to leave home if you are escaping harm or are at risk of harm from family violence or abuse.
    In an emergency or crisis situation you must call 000.

    For confidential support, referral and assistance you should contact: