Victoria’s highest increase in daily COVID-19 cases in more than a month has left authorities concerned.
Although 15 of the 21 cases recorded on June 17 were linked to returned travellers in hotel quarantine, the increase in community transmission could delay a further easing of restrictions.
“A day like today can make me nervous, it’s an indication that there’s still community transmission going on,” Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters.
“It’s concerning enough to me that I know that we need to keep a close eye on it. We need to review each and every day to make sure that the next steps we take are appropriate.”
Victoria now has 70 active cases among its total infection tally of 1762.
The last time a bigger increase was recorded was on May 4, when 22 cases were identified amid the Cedar Meats outbreak crisis.
The state will see a relaxation of measures next Monday, when pubs and clubs will be able to serve drinks for up to 50 people seated without a meal.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said Victoria will continue to have large numbers of returning travellers that will impact the state’s numbers.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the number of cases detected in hotel quarantine showed the national cabinet had made the right call introducing the measures.
He also encouraged Victorians to holiday in their own state after South Australia opened the borders for Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
“I don’t want to be offensive to South Australians but why would you want to go there? Holiday here,” Andrews said.
Dismissing the idea that Victoria was being penalised by other states, Sutton said all states were working together to manage risk across the country.
One of the six new community transmission cases recorded in Victoria on Wednesday was a staff worker from Stamford Plaza Hotel, which houses returned travellers.
Another test returned positive from a resident at aged care centre Rosstown Community in Carnegie, prompting its lockdown.
The 53-bed facility run by Glen Eira council will have to undergo deep cleaning and contact tracing.
This same process was followed at Sunbury Animal Hospital, where a staff worker tested positive.
Meanwhile, a childcare centre in Melbourne was shut down after a worker also tested positive.
A health department spokesman on Wednesday confirmed a staff member from Inspira Early Learning Centre in Gladstone Park had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Three schools were closed in Victoria this week after five students became infected.
Four of these students are part of an extended family cluster where 12 people have contracted coronavirus after attending gatherings across homes in Broadmeadows, Coburg and Pakenham.