Australia

Youth mental health worker among 30 new cases of coronavirus in Victoria

Victoria has recorded another 30 new coronavirus cases, including a healthcare worker at a youth mental health facility. 

Deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen said the Orygen Youth Health facility was now in lockdown. 

“A number of staff have been put into quarantine who have been close contacts and obviously a number of patients are possibly close contacts so they are in quarantine in their rooms,” Dr van Diemen told reporters on Friday. 

The number of new cases is slightly down from the 33 new cases recorded on Thursday. 

The new cases were announced after Victoria scaled down its request for assistance from defence personnel. 

About 1,000 Australian Defence Force troops were to have been deployed to help with monitoring hotel quarantine, and provide logistical and medical support for the state’s COVID-19 testing blitz announced on Thursday.

But plans to have 850 ADF members involved in hotel quarantine are being revised, and the government will only request about 150 members of the military to assist in its coronavirus efforts.

“Our top priority is on planning and logistics assistance, and medical personnel to support our suburban testing blitz,” a state government spokeswoman said.

“We are finalising our plans for hotel quarantine, including any additional roles the ADF might be able to play.”

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Victoria recorded another 33 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, giving new impetus to the testing blitz, which aims to reach 50 per cent of residents in 10 virus hotspots.

Among those to reportedly test positive was a cleaner at Melbourne’s Flinders St Station.

The cleaner had only spent 30 minutes at the station in the past two weeks, their employer said in an email quoted by the Herald Sun.

Paramedics perform COVID19 tests in Broadmeadows, Melbourne.

AAP

Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham all have high rates of community transmission.

“The first three days are solely focused on Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, but we will move to the balance of those suburbs over the course of a 10-day period,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.

About 10,000 residents will be tested each day in the 10 suburbs by 800 staff in a fleet of mobile testing vans, with more staff door-knocking to check if people have symptoms of COVID-19 and offer them a test.

The premier said the government did not want to impose local lockdowns, but it was important to get an idea of how the virus is spreading.

Victoria has been processing 18,000 tests a day, but that will ramp up to 25,000, with NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland helping to process the virus tests.

“This is a public health bushfire and when it comes to the bushfires, we always work together,” Mr Andrews said.

Of the 33 new cases, seven are returned travellers, nine are linked to known and contained outbreaks, six emerged after routine testing and the origin of another 11 cases are under investigation.

Thursday’s figure was the highest daily number of new cases in Victoria since the surge started last week.

Community engagement in the local government areas of Brimbank, Casey, Cardinia, Darebin, Hume and Moreland has also been ramped up after they were identified as coronavirus hotspots.

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