Victoria has recorded one new locally acquired case of COVID-19, which is likely connected to the larger Kappa strain outbreak responsible for Melbourne’s recent two-week lockdown.
The state’s health department says it’s investigating how the person contracted the infection and remains a ‘mystery’ case for the time being, testing commander Jeroen Weimar said on Saturday.
There are now seven infections in Victoria where authorities still do not know the acquisition source.
Mr Weimar said he is confident about the easing of restrictions but is concerned about the decline in testing.
“I am feeling good about all the momentum and the speed at which we’re collecting the operating information.
“About three days ago I was confident about testing numbers.
“I think I am concerned the testing numbers are dropping, and while we are still dealing with new cases emerging, I would really encourage people to help keep those testing numbers up.”
The other mystery cases are a Reservoir household of four and two Victorians who travelled to Queensland before testing positive.
The latest case, a young father who lives in central Melbourne, did everything right, Mr Weimar said, getting tested as soon as he noticed symptoms.
His three family members were tested on Saturday morning and are awaiting results.
Mr Weimar said low testing numbers over the past several days continued to be a major concern because authorities believe there are “other branches (of infection) out there that are not yet discovered”.
“We need to make sure we run this to ground now. We do not want to go through this (lockdown) again,” he said.
Mr Weimar encouraged Victorians to call each other out if they notice a friend, colleague or hospitality worker exhibiting COVID-19 symptons.
“Call them out in the nicest possible way. Ask them have they had a test,” he said.
Health authorities added 19 new exposure sites to the state’s list on Friday, mostly linked to a Reservoir case detected a couple of days ago.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton yesterday said recent genomic test results suggested those cases were infected with the Kappa strain circulating in the City of Whittlesea outbreak.
Summer Hill Medical Centre in Plenty Road, Reservoir is listed as a “tier 1” site, meaning anyone who was present at that location on June 5 between 8.45 and 10.30am must get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
The rest of the new exposure sites are “tier 2”, requiring immediate testing and isolation until a negative result is received.
These include a medical clinic, chemist and Coles Express in Taylor’s Hill on March 31 and an electrical supplies wholesaler in Thomastown Rexel Aust for three full days on 19, 20 and 21 May.
Three new cases were acquired overseas and in hotel quarantine on Saturday.
Just over 15,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to Friday and 20,660 vaccine doses were delivered.
Melbourne emerged from two weeks of lockdown on Friday, following a climb in local cases since late May.
Virus testing rates in some areas of Melbourne are lower than health authorities would like and Acting Premier James Merlino has implored Victorians to come forward for testing.
“If you live in the Craigieburn area and did not get tested yesterday, please go out and get tested today,” he told reporters on Friday.
The latest outbreak spread through the local government area of Whittlesea, north of the city, and the seaside suburb of Port Melbourne, forcing Melbourne into a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown, which ended on Friday.
Separately, a west Melbourne family were infected with the highly infectious Delta strain and that also became a cluster during lockdown.
There were no new local cases reported on Friday but Professor Sutton warned the week ahead “probably won’t be all zero cases”, citing the thousands of close contacts of infected cases who are continuing to isolate at home, and ongoing work to track down transmission links.
There are now 74 active cases in Victoria, including returned travellers in hotel quarantine..