Victoria’s lockdown will be extended beyond Tuesday night after the state recorded 13 new local COVID cases, but Premier Daniel Andrews has not put a timeframe on when it lifts.
Four more new cases have been detected this morning among people already in isolation, and will be officially reported tomorrow.
All new cases are linked to the current outbreak and includes one in the regional town of Mildura that was announced yesterday.
A second case has also been confirmed in Mildura.
The results were detected among 54,839 tests received on Sunday, and there were 14,758 vaccine doses administered at state-run sites.
“We will not be ready to lift this lockdown at midnight tomorrow night,” Mr Andrews said.
“Exactly how much more time, that advice is not with me yet, those decisions have not been made yet.
“I hope that will be as early tomorrow as possible.
“We know that if we had been open then we would be just like Sydney, and have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases and we would not be looking at a short lockdown, we would be looking at something entirely different.”
“I know that this is not the news that people want to hear but you’ve got to do the right thing, this thing is moving so fast, it’s so challenging, it’s so dynamic.”
Meetings will be held to determine the rules and timelines for lifting the lockdown.
Mr Andrews said 15,800 primary close contacts had been identified and are in isolation.
More than 3,000 of those are people who were at the MCG on the day a positive case attended, and a further 1,800 attended a rugby match at AAMI Park where an infected person was in attendance.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the number of people considered close contacts at the MCG had been expanded after new information came to light.
“If you were on level two of the Members Reserve at any stage and have already had one test, I am requesting that you obtain a second test when possible following your first test, reflecting that upgraded risk,” Professor Sutton said.
Professor Sutton said a new case had emerged out of the gathering of people who watched the EURO football final between Italy and England at the Crafty Squire pub on May 12.
“It is absolutely an example of how quickly this variant is moving and the short time we’re seeing between exposure and then being infectious,” he said.
“Previously, last year we would not have seen any circumstances where someone who had been exposed was transmitting to someone else a day and a half later.”
Monday, Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett described the
transmissibility of the Delta strain of COVID-19 as “incredible”.
“The rapidity of spread does translate unfortunately to a growth each day in exposure sites. That’s exactly what NSW went through,” she said.
“That’s the only way to beat the speed of the virus, to be really comprehensive in these early days.”
The number of exposure sites across Victoria has grown to nearly 280, after new venues were added late last night.
South Melbourne Market is undergoing a deep clean after a positive case attended several stores within the market on July 11.
Cases, exposure sites for a school, hospital and construction
Western Health has sent a letter to staff and students at South Melbourne Primary School advising them that a positive case attended the school last week.
Western Health said the person was unaware they were infected when they went to the school on July 15.
Anyone who was at the school on July 15 has been deemed a Tier 1 close contact, and is required to be tested and isolate for 14 days.
Master Builders Victoria has confirmed there have been COVID-19 cases detected in the construction sector.
A Multiplex site is under Department of Health outbreak management after a consultant engineer who later tested positive visited three sites in Melbourne’s CBD.
A positive case has also been linked to the West Gate Tunnel project, after a V/Line employee who visited the site last week tested positive.
Construction work at HMAS Cerberus has also been affected after a serving naval member tested positive last week.
Meanwhile, Mildura Base Public Hospital is calling for more staff after 45 hospital staff were furloughed due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
A man aged in his 30s presented to the hospital’s emergency department on Saturday night, and later tested positive to COVID.
The hospital’s CEO, Terry Welch, said some services had been cut back in order to keep the hospital’s emergency department running.
Mr Welch said health services in Mildura were bracing for more cases to emerge.
“I think that’s the reality, there’s no question and we have to be well and truly prepared for a higher number of potential cases or confirmed cases and the key to that is get tested.”
New vaccine ad launched by VCOSS
The Victorian Council of Social service has released a video to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The campaign doesn’t offer medical advice, and uses real people to highlight the benefits of getting vaccinated.
“As a peak body, VCOSS can’t increase vaccine supply or get needles into arms, but we can help get people into vaccination centres,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
VCOSS is waiving copyright for the advertisement, and will make it available to any media organisation who wishes to use it.
Australia’s Pfizer vaccine supply has been increased to one million doses a week from today.
Millions spent on hotel quarantine inquiry
Victoria’s state opposition is attacking the Andrews government over its $15 million bill for legal fees as a result of the hotel quarantine inquiry.
The inquiry was commissioned after private security guards working at Melbourne’s quarantine hotels caught COVID-19, sparking Victoria’s second wave of cases.
Shadow Police Minister David Southwick says despite the government’s large legal bill, Victorians still don’t know who made the decision to use private security.
“$15 million dollars for legal bills and we’re still no close to the truth of who ordered private security guards at hotel quarantine.”