News Melbourne townhouse complex forced to isolate after virus contracted in ‘shared facilities’

Melbourne townhouse complex forced to isolate after virus contracted in ‘shared facilities’

Genomic testing has established links between two cases, forcing a Southbank building into lockdown. Photo: AAP
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An entire Melbourne townhouse complex will be forced into self-isolation for up to two weeks after a resident contracted the coronavirus from “shared facilities”.

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed a man in his 30s who tested positive on Saturday lives in the same inner-city Southbank townhouse complex as a COVID-positive worker from Arcare Maidstone.

Genomic testing has also established a link between the two cases.

The aged care worker was transferred to hotel quarantine after earlier testing positive, but authorities believe the virus was transmitted through “some aspect of shared facilities” before they were moved.

“As I understand it, it is not laundries,” Mr Foley said on Monday.

“There is reason to believe, both from genomic sequencing and from the epidemiology and investigations into that prescient, (that there are) two possible exposure sites around a small number of internal facilities.”

All registered owners of the 100 townhouses have been contacted, while door-knocking and testing is underway.

The majority will have to isolate until they return a negative test, while a “small number” will need to do 14 days of quarantine, Mr Foley said.

Victoria recorded two new local cases of COVID-19 on Monday, both of whom were children.

One is linked to the Reservoir household reported last week, while the other is linked to Saturday’s City of Melbourne case.

Both were quarantining during their infectious period.

Mr Foley said the low number of new infections and the fact they had immediately been linked to known clusters was a good sign.

“These figures continue to give us confidence that the system is working and that the public health settings that we have in place at the moment are appropriate,” he said.

  • You can check the list of public exposure sites here.

Some 16,932 Victorians were tested for COVID-19 in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while 13,764 received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

Melbourne emerged from a two-week extended “circuit-breaker” lockdown on Friday, though strict restrictions remain in place across the city.

Residents are still required to wear masks indoors and outdoors, while a ban on home gatherings and a 25-kilometre travel limit are expected to remain in place until at least June 18.

Regional Victorians are allowed to have two visitors at home, while density limits are in place at restaurants, pubs and cafes, gyms and other venues.

Mr Foley said the state was “on track” to further ease restrictions later in the week.

These figures give us confidence the system is working and the public health settings that we have in place at the moment are appropriate,” he said.

Meanwhile, no new locally transmitted cases have been detected in NSW overnight, a promising sign after a Melbourne couple took a road trip through the state while infected with COVID-19.

The couple travelled all the way to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, but the Sunshine State also appears to have been spared an outbreak so far.

Supply issues hit Pfizer rollout

Meanwhile, Victorian vaccination hubs have had to place a pause on walk-in appointments for the Pfizer vaccine due to supply issues.

On Sunday night, health authorities revealed 50,000 people had already booked in to receive the Pfizer jab this week, which will hit their limit.

“This is the number of first doses which can be administered while also delivering second doses for tens of thousands of others,” authorities said.

Those who have already booked their first dose will have the appointment honoured, but everyone else will need to wait until next week to make a booking.

“Tens of thousands of eligible Victorians are able to book an appointment for their first dose of Pfizer from next week with appointment times progressively being made available.”

The Department of Health advised that AstraZeneca walk-ins would still be accepted at their sites, but bookings would be required for those in the 40-49 years age bracket who are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

-with agencies