Covid spiking in Victoria

By Simon Ruppert

While Victoria gets to grip with the largest increases in COVID-19 cases since testing began Benalla Rural City still has no active cases - for now.

As of Tuesday the state was sitting on 321 active cases, a jump of 90 active cases from Sunday.

That number of active cases at the start of June was 118.

Since the relaxation of regulations Victoria has seen cases soar, whilst other states and territories have, in some cases, almost completely eradicated the virus.

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Officials are not calling this a second wave, as yet, and the state moved to slow the easing of restrictions last week.

With active cases continuing to rise, the Victorian Government may look to re-introduce restrictions before they are eased; however there has been no confirmation of what will happen at this stage.

Benalla has been able to weather the storm with no new cases since three were identified in April, and no current active cases.

However, with tourism opened up, and school holidays in progress, it is important for local people to adhere to social distancing protocols and to practise good hygiene.

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The total number of coronavirus cases in Victoria is 2159, with 64 new cases reported on Tuesday.

The overall total has increased by 60 in 24 hours, with four cases reclassified.

Within Victoria, 14 new cases are linked to outbreaks, 37 new cases have been identified through routine testing, 23 cases are under investigation and one case was detected in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

There have been no new deaths reported. To date, 20 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

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There have been 281 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that have been acquired through unknown transmission.

Currently, nine people with coronavirus infection are in hospital, including one patient in intensive care; 1816 people have recovered from the virus.

Of the total 2159 cases, there have been 1830 in metropolitan Melbourne and 250 in regional Victoria.

The total number of cases includes 1137 men and 1022 women. More than 809 000 tests have been processed to date.

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Of the new cases linked to outbreaks, one case is linked to the North Melbourne family outbreak, bringing the total in this outbreak to 22.

Three new cases are linked to the Brimbank family outbreak – bringing the total number of cases in this outbreak to nine. A link has also been established between these outbreaks.

Three new case are linked to the Stamford Plaza Hotel, taking that outbreak total to 23, and three new cases are linked to a Truganina family outbreak, taking that total to five.

One new case is a close contact linked to the Wollert outbreak – bringing the total number of cases in that outbreak to 10.

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Three new cases are linked to a new family outbreak in Patterson Lakes and Lysterfield – bringing the total number of cases to four.

Cases are linked to a number of new schools including Queen of Peace Parish Primary School in Altona Meadows, Aitken Hill Primary in Craigieburn, Maribyrnong College, Footscray High School, Port Phillip Specialist School and Al-Taqwa College, Truganina.

All schools will undergo a deep clean of affected classroom and common areas, and close contacts will be required to quarantine.

Guardian Childcare and Education in Abbotsford has closed for cleaning until Wednesday following a positive case in a child. Cleaning and contact tracing are under way.

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Other key cases include a healthcare worker at The Melbourne Clinic in Richmond.

Close contacts among patients and staff were identified and contacted; the facility was to be cleaned and the outbreak squad visited on Monday.

A staff member at the Red Cross processing facility Lifeblood has tested positive. Contact tracing is under way and cleaning has been undertaken.

Monday was the 13th consecutive day of double-digit case growth in Victoria, with a continuing and concerning number of new cases associated with transmission in households and families.

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The Victorian Government has launched a targeted blitz across 10 priority suburbs with a team of 800 testers to zero in on community transmission with a fleet of mobile vans.

In the coming week, residents of these suburbs will receive free testing – with or without symptoms.

On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, priority suburbs include Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham, with Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows identified as the current focus of testing.

“It remains critical to practice good hygiene in and outside the home – wash your hands regularly, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and try to avoid touching your face,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said.

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“Stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with and avoid crowds, especially indoors. If you can keep working from home – you must keep working from home.

“We have made some great progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus, but we are still seeing new cases in the community.

“We have launched a targeted testing blitz across 10 priority suburbs and encourage locals in these areas – especially if you have symptoms – to come forward for testing and help us find and contain the virus.

“The Victorian Government has also announced a tightening of the rules and has reduced the number of visitors you can have in your home to five. Outside of the home, people can now gather in groups of up to 10 only.

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“These moves are important to keeping our community safe and to ensure COVID-19 does not get away from us. We do not want Victoria to suffer like many major cities around the world who have been devastated by the severe impacts of COVID-19.

“Don’t take this disease lightly. If you feel unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay home and get tested.

“If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste, stay home, don’t go in to work and don’t visit friends and family. Get tested and stay at home until you get the result.”

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