Victoria adds close to 100 new venues to their list of COVID-19 exposure sites

Victoria has added close to 100 venues to its list of COVID-19 exposure sites as the state continues its next round of lockdown.

A “mystery case” from Arcare Maidstone has forced Victorian officials to increase the number of potential exposure sites for the virus.

The new locations cover “major supermarkets and department stores”, along with other public areas such as aged care homes, “bus routes and a kindergarten”.

Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images via heraldsun.com

For the shopping outlets, these include: “Aldi at Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre, Big W in Craigieburn and Coles at Point Cook Shopping Centre”.

Furthermore, “[t]he Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre and Northland Shopping Centre were also” labelled as potential exposure sites.

The mystery case is one of five cases that has Victorian health officials worried.

Unlike the other four cases, which have already been linked to coronavirus clusters, the mystery case is still, understandably, a mystery.

While all new cases have been deemed reasons enough for the state to throw out their pre-Christmas rules and go back into lockdown, the mystery case, and the fact that it involves an aged care worker, has people scrambling to find how the worker became infected in the first place.

The Deputy Secretary of Victoria’s Department for Health and Human Services, and one of the leading voices of Victorian COVID-19 safety, Jeroen Weimar, had this to say when asked about the mystery case: “This aged care positive case is of extreme concern to us.”

“For two reasons: One, it’s our most vulnerable and sensitive setting … [and] I am concerned that we don’t have at this point in time an acquisition source.”

For Weimar, the mystery case has been classified as “the biggest priority” for health officials. While the mystery case did receive a COVID-19 vaccine, they only received their first dose.

According to Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, “53 of the 76 residents” at Arcare Maidstone are vaccinated against coronavirus.

However, for the staff, only a third have been confirmed to have received their first vaccination.

“We are encouraging all the residents and families, for those who have not provided consent, to reconsider and bring themselves forward [to be vaccinated],” Hunt said.

The increasing number of exposure sites has forced Victorians to enter their fourth lockdown. Currently, the rules stand similar to before, with residents only being allowed to leave their homes for: “[essential] shopping; authorised work or education; exercise; caregiving, compassionate and medical reasons; and to get vaccinated.”

Travel and exercise have been restricted to “within a 5km radius” of homes, along with a two-hour time limit for exercise. Face masks have regained their mandatory status for indoor and outdoor public areas. Crowds have been banned in most cases.

However, they are permitted for “weddings, funerals and religious services” under strict numbers. Schools (excluding childcare centres and kindergartens) have returned to remote learning, while aged care and hospital visits have been banned except for exceptional circumstances.

As of the writing of this, Victoria has 54 active cases of COVID-19.