Victoria Sets More Restrictions, Possible Lockdown, After Virus Spreads At CGM
The state’s two new cases, an adult and a child who sat separately at the MCG during Saturday’s game between Carlton and Geelong, are in addition to 10 new cases officially recorded Thursday but reported throughout the day on Wednesday.
COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said the two new cases were not known to each other and the other two previously confirmed cases at the MCG.
Weimar said they were sitting in “very different parts of the field” and that the MCG was now the focus of the state’s contact trackers.
“Both cases put us in a serious situation. We need to establish if there are other people who were in the CGM; That is fundamental information that we must get to today.
“If you’re getting those Level 1, Level 2 text messages and you haven’t been tested, we need you to come and do it now.
“Whatever you are doing right now, stop doing it. Come and get tested so we can get that information and keep you safe. “
Weimar also noted that one of the new CGM cases was linked to two gyms in West Melbourne that were added to the official list of exhibition sites Wednesday morning.
Despite concerns about increased transmission at the MCG, Weimar praised the speed of the state health team.
“[In] the last 72 hours we’ve burned through seven rings [of contract tracing] exceptionally fast.
“This is probably the quickest response we have seen to a faster moving outbreak than we have seen here in Victoria, or I suspect anywhere else in Australia.”
Meanwhile, it emerged that a 30-year-old man who contracted the virus at Coles in Craigieburn was actually an acquaintance of a positive case who had recently returned from Sydney.
Authorities revealed on Wednesday that the man tested positive after visiting the supermarket in North Melbourne at the same time as a man living in the town of Hume and that he was contagious.
“We trust that particular exhibition site that … they have spent a little time together to achieve that broadcast,” Weimar said.
Victoria’s latest coronavirus outbreaks, now encompassing a total of 16 cases, including at least two children, are both offshoots of the Sydney Delta groups: three Sydney removalists who violated their permit conditions, and one family who returned. from Sydney and they were supposed to isolate themselves at home. .
Parents and caregivers at St Patrick’s Primary in Murrumbeena were asked to pick up their children Thursday morning after a student tested positive for the virus.
All fourth-grade students from the Catholic school in south-east Melbourne were ordered to go directly to a testing station before returning home and isolating themselves until further notice. Students at other levels have been encouraged to take tests.
An elementary school in the border town of Wodonga also closed its doors Monday and sent all children and staff home after two students attended a premier exhibition site over the weekend.
The two St Monica’s students have not tested positive for the virus, however the school has been closed as a precaution.
Principal Jacqui Partington wrote to the school community earlier today, notifying them of an immediate closure and directing all students and anyone who has been on the site to “isolate themselves immediately until further notice.”
“We will remain closed until we know for sure that it is safe to return to the site,” Ms Partington wrote.
St Monica’s is the fourth Victorian school to close in the last 24 hours, following the closure of St Patrick’s Primary in Murrumbeena, Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Barwon Heads Primary.
Many schools also told their students to take their things home when the school bell rang Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the return to remote learning.
Tina King, Acting President of the Australian Federation of Principals, said schools were preparing for an imminent announcement.
“I’ve talked to some high school principals, they are telling their kids to take their things home tonight just in case,” he said.
Ms. King said schools had a lot of practice making a quick transition to remote learning and could potentially do it tomorrow.
“We have learned how quickly we can make that transition,” he said.
The list of high-risk exposure sites now includes 80 exposure sites, including public transport routes, a CBD pub, the MCG, the Highpoint Mall, and DFO University Hill in Bundoora. The men’s room at the Oakleigh Mall was added as a Level 1 location Thursday afternoon.
Western Australia on Wednesday imposed new border restrictions on visitors to Victoria, who must isolate themselves for 14 days upon entering the state, while South Australia also tightened restrictions on Victorians, requiring them to take a COVID-19 test within the 24 hours after your arrival and do not enter. high-risk settings such as elderly care for 14 days after arrival.
Four of the cases announced on Wednesday were residents of the Ariele Apartments complex in Maribyrnong, northwest of Melbourne. The parents of one of those residents, a man in his 60s, also tested positive, doing cases five and six.
The seventh reported case was that of a man in his 30s who visited the Coles in Craigieburn Central.
Case eight was a Bacchus Marsh Grammar teacher who watched the Carlton versus Geelong AFL game at MCG on Saturday with a friend who lives at Ariele Apartments.
Two of his relatives also tested positive, becoming cases nine and ten.
Both Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Barwon Heads Primary School remain closed today after a positive case visited each school.
Weimar said 315 Bacchus Marsh Grammar staff members were isolated as primary close contacts, and 3,000 students at the school were isolated as secondary close contacts.
He said 49 staff members and 527 students from Barwon Heads Primary had been identified as primary or secondary close contacts.
“We have set up the local tests … the school community has been fantastic,” Weimar said.
“I know it is such a harrowing and complex time to deal with these outbreaks.
“Of course, we are working to have the primary close contacts tested and since we have that information the next day or so, [that’s] It will allow us to gain a more informed position on how we deal with schools in the future. “
Victorian restrictions expected to tighten
The Victoria Health Department announced late Wednesday night that the rules for wearing masks would be reintroduced starting at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
Masks must now be worn in all indoor areas, including all workplaces and high schools.
Additional restrictions for Victoria are expected to be announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Some experts have called for a return to work-from-home rules, while other restrictions announced Thursday could include indoor crowd limits and restrictions on the number of visitors allowed into homes.
Monash University Adjunct Professor James Trauer told Seven’s dawn on Thursday morning a lockdown for Victoria “seems likely”.
“We have seen an increase in cases in the last few days, more exposure sites every day and we know that if we go early with the closures, the sooner, the shorter they should be,” he said.
“We need to get over this and we still don’t really understand the scale of the number of cases that have been created right now. I would really support an early closure. “
Experts Watch Maribyrnong Apartment Complex Infections Closely
Dr Finn Romanes, who heads the Western Public Health Unit responsible for contact tracing in Melbourne’s western suburbs, said there were 153 close contacts in quarantine at the Ariele Apartments – 121 residents and 32 visitors.
While public health teams were still analyzing the data, Dr. Romanes told ABC Radio Melbourne that it appeared that the period between infections was decreasing.
“Clearly, things are moving very fast … so what we saw earlier about three days between each circle of developing cases: one group of people could infect another and about three days later, you would see these cycles or generations of cases, ”he said.
“Here, within this outbreak, since the exposures of the eighth and then the cases came to light for the first time on Sunday, we have, it was reduced to about two days, so it is moving every other day, we are seeing another case ring developed.
“So it’s absolutely crucial that people take a series of steps now … but even duplicate those steps to move forward and move forward as quickly as we can.”
The priority at any exposure site was to account for all residents on the day or days of concern, but also to ensure that everyone they dealt with received “COVID first aid,” Dr. Romanes said.
“It’s about reaching out to them, making sure they’re isolated and getting tested and uncovering their social circumstances.”
27,061 COVID-19 test results were processed in the 24 hours to midnight Wednesday, and more than 15,161 people received their vaccine doses.
With Adam Carey, Kate Rose, Broede Carmody, Michael Fowler, Annika Smethurst and Sumeyya Ilanbey
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