A Woolworths, Nando’s restaurant and popular food court have been added to a growing list of potential exposure sites announced hours after Melbourne recorded its first locally-acquired coronavirus transmission in three months.
Health authorities are on high alert after four new cases were identified in the city’s northern suburbs.
Two more residents had returned positive coronavirus test results on Monday afternoon, adding to the two other cases revealed earlier in the day.
Hundreds of Melburnians have been ordered to immediately get tested and self-isolate as a host of venues across the city were identified as sites visited by infected cases.
Any diners who attended Nando’s Epping on May 19 between 8.30pm and 9.20pm must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
The same order applies to anyone who attended Woolworths Epping North on May 22 between 4.45pm-5:45pm.
Anyone who attended Nando’s Epping (pictured) in Melbourne north on May 19 between 8.30pm and 9.20pm must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result
Earlier in the day, the Department of Health urged visitors to the Jump! Swim School, in Bundoora, Melbourne’s north-east, between 8.55am and 10.15am on May 21 to get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days.
The other potential exposure site is the High Point Shopping Centre in Maryibyrnong, between 5pm and 8pm on May 20. Shoppers who attended the centre at the identified times are required to get tested and isolate until further notice.
The mysterious new cases are all close family members, living in two separate houses.
Health authorities were alerted to the cluster after a Whittlesea man presented for testing on Sunday. He and an asymptomatic male relative from a separate household both tested positive.
A woman and a preschool-aged child of the Whittlesea man have also since been confirmed as Covid positive.
It’s currently not known how the latest cases became infected with genomic testing now underway.
Mr Foley said there was no indication the Covid-positive family members were linked to any exposure sites visited by a Victorian man who contracted the virus in hotel quarantine in South Australia.
‘Given the proximity of the gentleman from early May who returned from hotel quarantine in Adelaide who lives in that city, 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.’
The Victorian Department of Health are now asking visitors to the Jump! Swim School, in Bundoora, Melbourne’s north-east, between 8.55am and 10.15am on May 21 to get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days
Hundreds of Melburnians flocked to testing clinics on Monday after the city recorded four new Covd clinic. Pictured is the drive-through clinic at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds
Genomic sequencing is underway and should be available on Tuesday.
The health minister said they would have more information later on, after further conversations are conducted with the close contacts of the new cases.
‘Based off initial interviews and intelligence and are likely to be subject to further expansion as conversations with the cases and close contacts evolves,’ Mr Foley said.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also expects further exposure sites will be identified.
‘Obviously we are going into a period where people spend more time indoors and are in closer proximity… We are three months, as we just heard, away from local community transmission.
‘Our behaviours and habit have changed over that period of time to so we just need to remind ourselves that the risk is going to be there and ongoing.’
The other potential exposure site is the High Point Shopping Centre in Maryibyrnong (pictured), between 5pm and 8pm on May 20. Shoppers who attended the centre at the identified times are required to get tested and isolate until further notice
Anyone who develops symptoms is urged to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.
MELBOURNE’S POTENTIAL EXPOSURE SITES
JUMP! Swim Schools Bundoora
May 21 between 8.55am and 10.15am
High Point Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong
May 20 between 5pm and 8pm
The department also urged Victorians to observe Covid-safe behaviours, including always wearing a mask on public transport and checking in at venues.
‘I urge all Victorians to be cautious because we are coming into winter, the highest risk period of transmission in our community,’ Mr Foley said on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Melburnians have flocked to testing facilities across the city, with 15 sites experiencing estimated wait times exceeding 30 minutes.
There are currently hour-long delays at drive-through test clinics in Sandringham, Epping, Heidelberg, and Watirna, and 45minute wait times at the Banyule Community Health facility in Greensborough and at Monash University in Clayton.
Eastern Health, at Box Hill Hospital, and Akoonah Park Berwick have 40 minute delays, while cars Western Health, IPC Health, Deer Park, and Monash Health in Cranbourne are expected to be in line for around half-an-hour.
Mr Foley stressed there are currently no plans for Melbourne to go into lockdown at this stage.
Monday’s outbreak ends Victoria’s 87 day streak of zero locally acquired cases.
The latest announcement comes after a coronavirus scare rattled the city earlier this month.
Commuters wear face masks in Melbourne on Monday, after it was revealed the state had identified new local Covid cases
Queensland and New South Wales responded to Melbourne’s outbreak on Monday night.
Anyone in Queensland who has been to one of the declared COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria during the risk period specified will be required to quarantine.
From 1am Wednesday, anyone who enters Queensland and has been to any of the Victorian exposure sites at the time specified will need to quarantine for 14 days in government-arranged accommodation.
‘In light of these new cases, I urge everyone to reconsider their need to travel to Melbourne’s northern suburbs,’ Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said in a statement.
‘If you have been to any of these sites and are already in Queensland, you must immediately travel by private transport directly to your home or accommodation and quarantine.
‘You also need to complete the Queensland Health online contact tracing self-assessment form and get tested immediately.
NSW Health is also closely monitoring the situation in Victoria.
Travellers arriving in Sydney from the Greater Melbourne area must complete a declaration which confirms they have not attended any of the potential exposure sites.
Anyone who has been in Victoria since 10 May 10 and attended any of the venues identified at the times listed is ordered to contact NSW Health on 1800 943 553.
People who have been in the Whittlesea local government area in Melbourne’s north is advised to not visit residential aged care facilities, or hospitals unless seeking medical attention.
The Whittlesea LGA includes the suburbs of Beveridge, Donnybrook, Doreen, Eden Park, Epping, Humevale, Kinglake West, Lalor, Mernda, Mill Park, South Morang, Thomastown, Whittlesea, Wollert, Woodstock and Yan Yean.
A Covid-positive man travelled around a number of sites in Melbourne’s north between May 6-8 whilst potentially infectious, including a Woolworths in Epping North, a 7 Eleven and another supermarket.
The man, aged in his 30s, had spent two weeks in mandatory quarantine in South Australia after returning to the country from India.
He arrived back at his house in Wollert in the city’s north on Tuesday May 4 before developing symptoms over the weekend.
A train service from Craigieburn to Southern Cross and Curry Vault Indian Restaurant and Bar in Melbourne’s CBD were listed as exposure sites.
The man’s three household contacts were tested and returned negative results.
There were hour-long queues at drive-through test clinics across Melbourne on Monday. Pictured are health workers at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds