Victoria records no new virus cases

Victoria has recorded no new virus cases as health authorities race to contain a fresh outbreak in Melbourne.

The four cases mentioned in the health department’s daily tweet on Tuesday morning were confirmation of the infections that Health Minister Martin Foley outlined on Monday afternoon. 

Victoria has 13 active cases, with the rest in hotel quarantine, and 14,892 tests in the 24 hours to Tuesday.

Acting Premier James Merlino, Mr Foley and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton will hold a media conference in Melbourne at 9.30am.

Health authorities have now identified 10 exposure sites as they race to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Testing sites serving the city’s north were straining to cope with demand as people heeded public health advice.

Officials hope genomic sequencing will establish the source of four new cases among a family in the city’s north.

Nando’s Epping and Woolworths Epping North joined Jump! Swim Schools Bundoora and Highpoint Shopping Centre as tier one exposure sites in the new outbreak, meaning anyone who attended those places at specified times must be tested and isolate for 14 days.

Futsal Brunswick, Epping North Shopping Centre, House and Party at Epping, Urban Diner Food Court at Pacific Epping Shopping Centre, Shells Coles Express Reservoir and B.T. Connor Reserve are tier two sites – meaning affected people must get tested and isolate until they have a negative result.

Also on Tuesday morning, there were lengthy delays at test sites.

Channel Nine reported a test site at Epping had closed because of demand, while there was a two-hour wait at the Royal Showgrounds.

The family cluster – involving a man in his 30s, a man in 70s, a woman in 70s and a pre-school aged child from three households in the Whittlesea area – emerged on Monday.

Victorian health authorities hope genomic sequencing will establish the source of the four new cases.

They are located within the same local government area as a man who tested positive earlier this month. The man contracted the virus while in South Australian hotel quarantine.

The health department last week admitted it had listed the wrong supermarket as an exposure site when the man tested positive earlier this month.

With the first Whittlesea man’s infectious period potentially starting on May 18, Mr Foley noted the COVID-infected returned traveller had already re-entered hotel quarantine well before then.

“We do not rule out the prospect that there is a link,” he said.

“The dates do not line up immediately so we cannot rule out if there is a missing link out there.”

More household contacts of the cases have been put into isolation despite testing negative so far.

Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the first Whittlesea man is carrying a high viral load and warned the community to brace for more possible cases.

Mr Foley flagged no immediate changes to COVID-19 restrictions, and all domestic borders remain open despite most states and territories issuing updated travel advice for recent Victorian arrivals.

The latest outbreak snapped Victoria’s 86-day streak without a locally acquired case.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the public was nervous after the government blundered on the supermarket exposure site and “seems to be making some pretty basic errors” on contact tracing.

“The last thing Victoria can afford is going back into lockdown,” he said.

“Victorians are just sick and tired of seeing mistakes being made that put their recovery in risk.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.