In just nine days Tasmania's North West Hospitals became the epi-centre of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the state quarantines up to 5,000 people as part of a shutdown of two hospitals we explain how the area went from two cases on April 3 to 60 nine days later.
On Sunday Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein announced that Burnie's North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital would be closed at 7am on Monday. Currently Tasmania has 78 cases confirmed including staff from Huon Maternity Ward in North West Private Hospital.
Official announcements on January 25, show all cases in Tasmania at the time were related to people who had been overseas.
Among them were those who had returned from various countries known to have a more vigorous outbreak than Australia - such as China, Italy and South Korea.
The COVID-19 focus was still firmly on the southern part of the state.
Between late January and early March, no cases were confirmed in Tasmania, and up to 50 tests were done during that time.
From March 2, however, cases started to be confirmed. From just one on March 2, the numbers began to creep up, at first every few days, then towards the end of the month, many cases were being reported daily.
During April, the infections spread fast.
That's when the first cases in the North West Regional Hospital were reported, with two staff returning positive tests on April 3.
On Monday April 12, confirmed infections in the state stood at 144, with the North-West Coast having exactly half of them.
Of the total of five deaths in the state to date, four have been at the North West Regional Hospital.
As the infection spread, Premier Peter Gutwein pleaded with the community to take the pandemic seriously and follow the guidelines and restrictions to curb its spread.
He warned that more deaths were likely:
"Unfortunately, I think that there will be more deaths to come in coming days and we need to ready ourselves for that," he said.
"One death is too many, five is distressing and unfortunately, there will be more."
The closure of the two hospitals on Sunday night may knock the virus out there. But now the public must realise that although it is invisible, the virus is both vigorous and dangerous, and it's close.
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