Unlinked case in Victorian testing site worker
Victorian authorities are racing to find the source of an additional local coronavirus case in a testing site traffic controller, on the state’s first day out of lockdown.
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the traffic controller at the Moonee Valley racecourse drive-through testing centre worked at least two days while infectious.
The man, who was wearing a mask during his shifts, developed symptoms on Monday and was tested the next day before the result emerged on Wednesday morning.
The testing site has been closed and dozens of staff who worked the same shifts were sent home to isolate as a precaution.
“We do believe there will be minimal risk to those at the site,” Mr Foley told reporters on Wednesday.
The traffic controller is not a primary close contact of a previous case and hasn’t been linked to Victoria’s current outbreaks.
“It’s obviously a concern,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
“But we are in early minutes, if not hours, of understanding exactly what’s happened, where it might have been acquired at a testing site.
“Obviously that’s a point we’ll look at, in terms of how he might have acquired it.”
Contact tracers are interviewing the man to determine his movements, identify close contacts and pathologists are looking into whether any positive cases went through that testing centre.
Professor Sutton said it was more likely the man caught the virus from an infected person in a car than the other way around, but urged anyone with symptoms to get tested and isolate.
“The risk to individuals coming through in their cars is extremely low,” he said.
“But if you’ve wound down window to speak to a traffic controller at that site that might put you at a slightly greater risk.”
The new case, detected after the midnight deadline, was announced on top of eight new locally acquired infections reported earlier on Wednesday.
The eight other cases are linked to Victoria’s current outbreaks and were in isolation for their entire infectious period.
Prof Sutton said that result was “terrific news”, though reinforced the message that the outbreak was not over.
It comes as Victorians tasted freedom on Wednesday after a 12-day statewide lockdown was lifted.
Victorians can now travel any distance and leave their homes for any reason, but masks will remain compulsory indoors and outdoors.
A ban on home gatherings remains, however people are able to meet outside in groups of 10.
Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service only, with a maximum cap of 100 per venue and density quotas of one person per four square metres, while smaller venues are limited to 25 people.
Retail, live music venues and gyms can also throw open their doors with strict density limits, workers may return to offices at 25 per cent capacity and students can return to school.
More than 35,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday, while 19,349 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites during the same period.
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