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Victoria has recorded 12 new local cases after the number of COVID-19 exposure sites ballooned to more than 275, with epidemiologists saying the chance of lockdown ending on Wednesday is ‘optimistic’.
All the cases are linked to the current outbreak, according to the health department.
Monday’s official tally of new local cases is 13, however, one of the cases included in the numbers is a Mildura man in his 30s announced by health authorities yesterday. The man tested positive on Sunday after attending the MCG for the Carlton and Geelong game a week ago.
More than 54,800 test results were returned across Sunday, with 14,758 vaccine doses administered.
There are now 278 exposure sites listed across Victoria, with more than 20 added to the list overnight.
The latest tier 1 sites have been listed in Cremorne, Abbotsford Dockland and South Melbourne.
Tier 1 sites listed for Thursday include the Gourmet Deli House in Docklands between 12.46pm and 1.46pm, the Butcher Club in Docklands between 12.26pm and 1.06pm, communications agency Bastion Collective between 8.40am and 6.15pm, V Wine Salon in Abbotsford between 8.57pm and 11.45pm, and the Fitness first gym in Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre at 5.39am to 7.15am.
On Wednesday, a COVID-positive person visited the Precinct Hotel in Cermorne between 10.34pm and 11.20pm, which is now considered tier 1.
An infected person visited a number of sites in South Melbourne Market which have now been listed as tier 1 sites, including The SuperCool between 9.30am to 12pm, Create tBt Toys and Games between 9.30am to 12pm and Spin South Melbourne between 9.30am and 12pm.
People who visited a tier 1 site must quarantine for 14 days and get tested immediately. Read the full list of exposure sites on the government’s exposure site page.
While Victoria’s lockdown is scheduled to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, Burnet Institute epidemiologist Mike Toole told The Age the thought of opening up then was “a bit optimistic” due to daily case numbers still being in the mid-teens.
He estimated it could be seven to 10 days from when lockdown began that restrictions could start to ease.
“I think if we get to below five cases per day, all linked to a chain of transmission, that would be a comfortable number to open. This is what we used last year to start easing restrictions, but you don’t drop them all at once,” he said.
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said she was not giving up hope of Victoria’s lockdown being eased if potential cases and contacts presented for testing immediately.
“It’s critical everyone comes forward for testing and we identify every case in this next ring of exposures. If we do that then we can still do it,” she said.
“If we can’t contain it by Tuesday, we might only have to extend lockdown by a few days. Triple the effort now will save 100 times the effort later.
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