News State Victoria News No new local cases of COVID-19 in Victoria
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No new local cases of COVID-19 in Victoria

Final preparations are being made this weekend for the first COVID-19 vaccinations from Monday. Photo: AAP
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Victoria has recorded no new local or internationally acquired COVID-19 cases as the state’s residents begin the first weekend since the end of their third lockdown.

The welcome news comes after more than 17,700 tests were conducted.

Just 25 active cases remain in the state.

Health Minister Martin Foley expressed cautious optimism about the situation.

“Another day of no locally acquired cases does give our public health team increasing confidence that the Holiday Inn cluster is increasingly under control,” he said.

“[But it is] far from being over and vigilance is needed to be maintained.”

Mr Foley said the restrictions that remained in place after the five-day snap lockdown ended this week would likely be reviewed this coming Friday.

“I think the public health advice suggests that, given the exposure sites and when people were last in the community and positive, that we’re looking at next Friday as a pivotal time for reviewing the current level of restrictions,” he said.

Mr Foley said that a person who was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 remained in a stable condition.

The Coles Express service station in Edina Court, Bentleigh East, was added as a Tier 3 exposure site last night, he said, after a positive case visited there between 1:00pm and 1:40pm on February 18.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said coronavirus fragments had been unexpectedly detected in wastewater at several sites last week.

They comprise:

– Wantirna South, Boronia, Bayswater, Ferntree Gully, Knoxfield and Tremont from February 13-15
– St Kilda East, Caulfield North, Caulfield, Balaclava, Elsternwick from February 13-16
– Carrum Downs, Langwarrin, Skye from February 13-17

Professor Sutton added that fragments had been detected at Carrum Downs, Langwarrin and Skye on two consecutive days.

“It’s really important, especially for those listed areas, that if there are any symptoms, please get tested, and you’ll get it resolved very quickly,” he said.

Wastewater detections were not “definitive evidence” but they might indicate that a positive case had gone undetected, he said.

A family of three on Thursday tested positive, more than a week after two of them stayed at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.

Mr Foley on Friday confirmed one of the parents and child stayed at the quarantine hotel after returning from overseas in early February.

The whole family began isolating at home on February 7, after it was revealed a staff member at the hotel contracted the virus.

A total of 22 cases have been traced back to another family of three staying on the third floor of the Holiday Inn at the same time. They had contracted the highly-infectious UK strain of the virus overseas.

Authorities believe the outbreak began when one of the family members used a nebuliser medical device that caused the virus to spread through the air.

Fears it would spread into the community led to a five-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown, which ended on Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be transported to Austin Health, Monash Health and Western Health hospitals around Victoria on Sunday morning, packed in dry ice, in readiness for the first vaccinations to begin.

Mr Foley said workers who are most likely to come into direct contact with people who could have coronavirus will be first in line for the jab.

This includes hotel quarantine workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff and aged care staff and residents.

The federal government has allocated 12,000 doses of the vaccine to Victoria in the first week of the program.

About 59,000 doses are expected in the first four weeks.

Six other hospitals will also become vaccination hubs as more jabs become available. They are Albury-Wodonga Health, Ballarat Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health and Latrobe Health.

-with AAP