Passengers on six Virgin flights into or out of Melbourne shared their plane with a cabin attendant who was COVID-positive for three days while touching down in three different states.
Victoria’s Deputy Health Secretary Kate Matson told reporters on Saturday the Virgin worker recorded a positive result after routine testing by the airline.
“They worked whilst infectious from the 4th to 6th October, and there were six flights in or out of Melbourne that were affected,” she said.
“Fellow crew members on those flights have been deemed close contacts. Most do live in Melbourne and will be contacted by the department.”
The six flights included return trips from Melbourne to Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle, with passengers on affected flights to be contacted by their state health bodies.
All Virgin employees have until mid November to be double-jabbed. It is not known if the infected staffer has had one, two or any COVID inoculations.
Ms Matson also announced secondary close contacts will no longer be “actively managed” by public health teams, in response to rising case numbers across the state.
She said this was happening in Melbourne, and will now occur state-wide.
Free at last
It means about 16,000 secondary close contacts across the state will receive a text message over the weekend, releasing them from quarantine.
“This just recognises the changing risk and the changing environment that we’re in,” she said.
“We are no longer chasing COVID-zero in Victoria, and we have 17,000 active cases in Victoria.”
Meanwhile, 16,000 secondary close contacts will be released from quarantine over the weekend, as health teams try to manage escalating COVID-19 case numbers.
Victoria reported another record-breaking daily case number with 1965 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours to Saturday.
Another five deaths were reported, including two from Moreland, a woman in her 90s and man in his 70s, a Banyule man in his 60s, a Hobsons Bay man in his 60s, and a Hume man in his 50s.
There are 578 Victorians currently in hospital with COVID-19, of whom 117 are in ICU and 83 on ventilators.
While secondary close contacts will no longer have to isolate, primary close contacts will be asked to isolate away from the rest of their household.
Secondary contacts are still encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 if they show any symptoms.