Victorians are bracing themselves after four new cases in Melbourne, one likely to be “quite infectious”, surprised a community and ended the state’s 87-day Covid-free streak.
Testing sites were open late on Monday night as officials race to identify the origin of the new cases, warning there could be a “missing link”.
7 News reporter Melina Sarris said it took 45-minutes at her local testing site while on Google, searches for Covid tests sky rocketed.
Two “likely” cases detected on Monday morning have now been confirmed as positive results.
A further two family members have since tested positive, it was revealed in the afternoon.
The four cases includes a male in his 30s, another man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s and a preschool-aged child from the Whittlesea area.
The source of the infection remains a mystery but it is hoped genomic sequencing may provide some answers.
In the meantime, chief health officer Brett Sutton warned the state could see more cases.
The first case was “likely quite infectious”, he said Monday, adding residents “have to ready ourselves”.
“The viral load was high and with close contacts becoming positive, he is likely to be quite infectious,” Professor Sutton said.
“There (was) not a huge number of close contacts but we have to go through the interview process to identify anyone else.
“We have to ready ourselves for any other positives and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well.”
He pleaded with Victorians to “never be complacent” and warned “we will always be at risk until we have high vaccination coverage”.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, says the state will have to brace for “further exposure sites” and potentially more positive cases.
He says one of the cases had a high viral load and was “likely to be quite infectious”.
— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) May 24, 2021
No new restrictions have been enforced but more exposure sites are expected to be added to the list.
Currently the Jump! Swim School in Bundoora and the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyong remain Tier 1 exposure sites. Officials warn to “get tested immediately and stay isolated until further notice”. A Woolworths and 7-Eleven are included in the Tier 2 sites.
Anyone in Queensland who has been to one of the declared COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria during the risk period specified is automatically required to quarantine, Queensland Health announced Monday night.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the Interstate Exposure Venues Direction would apply to people in Queensland who had been to any of these locations.
“In light of these new cases, I urge everyone to reconsider their need to travel to Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Dr Young said.
“From 1am Wednesday, if you are entering Queensland and have been to any of the Victorian exposure sites at the time specified, you will need to quarantine for 14 days in government-arranged accommodation.
“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.
“This direction is in place to protect the health and safety of Queenslanders and visitors.”
Everyone is encouraged to monitor the Queensland Health interstate exposure venue lists for 14 days after they arrive to ensure no new venues have been added.
Meanwhile the Northern Territory is only requiring those who have visited Tier 1 sites to quarantine.
In New South Wales, people arriving in Sydney from the Greater Melbourne area are reminded that they must complete a declaration which confirms they have not attended one of the venues of concern.
The declaration form is available on the Service NSW website, and can be completed in the 24-hour period before entering NSW or on arrival.
NSW Health will be contacting people who have completed declarations to ask them to check the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services website and immediately follow the outlined public health advice.
If you have been in Victoria since 10 May and attended any of the venues identified at the times listed, please contact NSW Health immediately on 1800 943 553.
— With NewsWire
Originally published as ‘Ready ourselves’: Sutton’s grim warning