Two additional cases of coronavirus have emerged in Victoria, both linked to an AFL game.
Overnight testing confirmed the cases in two people who were on Level Two of the MCC Members’ Reserve at the MCG for the Geelong-Carlton game on Saturday afternoon.
“I can advise in the last couple of hours we have identified a further two cases, two positive cases, both from the extensive testing done around the Members’ Reserve at the MCG,” Victoria’s COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said.
Mr Weimar said the state was onto its seventh ring of contact tracing across the two outbreaks.
The first ring was the Sydney removalists, the second ring was the families who moved house.
The third ring was the residents in the Maribyrnong apartment building.
The fourth ring was the friends of those apartment residents and neighbours, at least one of whom has turned positive.
The fifth ring was the families of the friends of the people in the area. There are at least two positive cases in the family ring.
The sixth ring was the primary close contacts of those cases and the seventh ring was their secondary close contacts, who are all locked down in isolation.
“In the last 72 hours we’ve burned through seven rings, exceptionally quickly,” Mr Weimar said.
“This is probably the fastest response we have ever seen to an outbreak that’s moving more quickly than we have ever seen in Victoria, or I suspect anywhere else in Australia.”
A total of five cases have been linked to the City of Hume outbreak, connected to the family of four who broke quarantine requirements to go to Coles Craigieburn and a petrol station.
There are 195 primary close contacts linked to the cluster.
Mr Weimar said “initial signs are encouraging” for getting the outbreak under control.
Six positive cases have been linked to the Ariele apartment complex in Maribyrnong.
A total of 680 primary close contacts have been identified, including 131 residents, who remain in lockdown.
Of the residents, 104 have returned negative results, while four residents on level three of the complex have tested positive and have been relocated to hotel quarantine.
“There’s no known positive cases in the Ariele apartment building,” Mr Weimar said.
“We closed down the Ariele apartment building, there’s no more risk of leakage from the apartments, and my thanks to the residents in the building.”
The parents of the man in his 60s who tested positive to COVID-19 continue to reside in Craigieburn.
Overnight, a mask mandate returned as cases increase and restrictions could tighten due to growing outbreaks.
The Department of Health today initially reported 10 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the past 24 hours, including the seven infections that were announced yesterday morning.
A further three infections later emerged last night.
The cases are linked to a family who breached quarantine rules and infected Sydney removalists who failed to wear masks while on the job.
Mask rules came back into effect at midnight for the Greater Melbourne area, meaning face coverings musty be worn in all indoor settings, other than at home and anywhere outdoors where social distancing is not possible.
“There are steps we can take right now to protect ourselves and each other,” Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Clare Looker said in a statement.
Senior Victorian Government cabinet ministers, including Premier Daniel Andrews, met last night with high-level discussions on reimposing restrictions to continue today.
CSIRO Health Director Dr Robert Grenfell said more restrictions were highly likely to be announced today.
“I don’t think Victoria will take any chances with this one. The virus only respects tough, hard lockdowns and obviously vaccinations,” Dr Grenfell told Today.
Dr Grenfell said authorities would be keeping an eye on any local infections which don’t have a discernible community link and a decision would be based from that.
He said the Delta strain is what forced Victoria’s last lockdown and quick, swift action was needed to get on top of the state’s new outbreak.
“At the moment the cases they have announced all fit into a chain of infections, coming mainly out of the housing complex. If there are other cases that appear, that don’t necessarily have direct links to those, that’s a concern that the virus is now spreading through the community,” he said.
Dr Grenfell said areas of concern were high-density housing and workplaces where people need to go in to ensure they are paid.
“We see it time and time again. (The virus) picks it out. It goes and finds those groups that it’s easy to spread through and away it goes,” he said.
There are two clusters authorities are battling, one linked to the family of four and another linked to the three removalists.
The three additional cases recorded last night include a teacher at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, who has since spread the virus to two of his family members, bringing the total number of local cases announced on Wednesday to 11.
“We have been informed that a member of the teaching staff has tested positive for COVID-19. The teacher was at the School’s Staff Day on Monday 12 July but has not been in contact with students on either Tuesday 13 July or Wednesday 14 July 2021,” Principal Andrew A. Neal said in a statement.
“As a result of this result all staff who were at the Staff Day on Monday 12 July have been directed by the COVID-19 Public Health Division Department of Health to isolate and be tested.”
The school has closed for the remainder of the week, with Barwon Heads Primary School, south-east of Geelong, also shutting temporarily after an infected case visited the school this week.
Meanwhile, a third school has also shut after exposure to the virus.
A grade four student at St Patrick’s Primary School in Murrumbeena has tested positive to COVID-19.
The Department of Health has ordered the school to close immediately, with parents instructed to pick up their kids.
Students in Grade Four have been told to get tested at Clayton before going home to isolate until further notice.
Exposure sites climb
There are 16 COVID-19 cases in total connected to two chains of transmission in the state.
Mr Weimar said there are 75 exposure sites, some of which are “large and complex locations”.
There are more than 1500 primary close contacts and over 5000 secondary close contacts isolating.
The locations include the Ariele apartment building in Maribyrnong currently in lockdown, several shopping malls, schools and the MCG.
Testing centres across the state were inundated yesterday and massive lines are expected again today.
Western Australia has also closed its border with Victoria, forcing dozens of passengers into 14-day isolation upon landing on the west coast last night and this morning.
South Australia last night also issued an order requiring all Victorians entering the state to get a coronavirus test.