Victorian Outbreak Now at 35 Cases Amid Lockdown

Victorian Outbreak Now at 35 Cases Amid Lockdown
A man crosses the normally busy intersection of Flinders street and Swanston streets in Melbourne, Australia on May 28, 2021. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Victoria has recorded five new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 as residents go into the second day of the state’s fourth lockdown.

The cases were recorded by Victoria’s Department of Health on Friday from more than 56,000 tests—a testing record for the state.

With 45 active cases in the state, Victorians have been told not to leave home except to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, for exercise, work or study, or to get vaccinated.

Victorian residents must observe a five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping, and wear masks both indoors and outdoors.

These rules will remain in place in Victoria until at least next Friday.

Most infections are linked to the City of Whittlesea cluster in Melbourne, with cases testing positive for the B1617 strain first identified in India.

“We absolutely have to recognise that there are thousands and thousands of close contacts that are still to go through the incubation period who could become symptomatic,” chief health officer Brett Sutton said on Friday.

Aged Care Worker

A female aged care worker at a facility in Melbourne’s northwest is among the locally-acquired COVID-19 cases. Her case is currently unlinked to other COVID-19 cases. She has been commended for seeking virus testing as soon as she experienced respiratory symptoms.

The woman worked at Arcare Maidstone and may have worked on two days—May 26 and 27—while infectious, according to authorities. The facility has been placed into lockdown and residents are self-isolating.

“We know of course that anybody who has family in aged care will be particularly concerned—we will be working closely with them,” Victorian Department of Health’s Jeroen Weimar told reporters on Sunday. “I’m concerned at this point we don’t have an original acquisition source.

“My understanding is at this particular site half the residents were vaccinated and around a third of the staff were vaccinated,” he added.

Of the other four local COVID-19 cases diagnosed on Saturday, two were close virus contacts in quarantine and one is linked to a previously-announced exposure site. The final case is also under investigation.

Contact Tracing

More than 15,000 primary and secondary contacts to date have been told to self-isolate after coming into contact with a COVID case.

The state government has also asked for 160 defence force personnel to help check on the thousands of people who have been told to isolate at home.

The list of COVID-19 exposure sites had grown by Saturday to more than 150, including a flu vaccination centre in the suburb of Preston.

Authorities are also urgently trying to track down people who attended five exposure sites: The Sporting Globe in Mordialloc, Three Monkeys and Somewhere Bar in Prahran, The Local in Port Melbourne, and The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne.

Some 21,626 Victorians on Friday received a COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The state’s coronavirus hotline was flooded with more than 77,000 calls in 15 minutes when it was announced on Thursday that eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would be expanded to people aged 40-49.

It’s estimated the lockdown will cost the state’s economy about $2.5 billion.

Related Topics