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Health Minister Martin Foley said the percentage of Victorians who were in isolation for the entire period of infection jumped from 6 per cent to 92 per cent in three days, reducing the risk of ongoing community transmission.
Yesterday also Therapeutic Goods Administration announce Two more people died after being diagnosed with a rare blood clotting disorder linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, bringing the death toll to five so far.
A 48-year-old woman from Victoria and a 44-year-old man from Tasmania died last week after receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Both confirmed cases of a rare blood clot with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
New South Wales on Thursday recorded its highest daily numbers in the current outbreak, with 124 new locally acquired cases. Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian warned the country needed to prepare to “lift the issues higher”.
In Melbourne, the Prahran market was closed and 900 people were sent into quarantine on Thursday after one of the two new infectious cases in the community visited the market on Saturday morning.
The case, a sponsor at AAMI Park, tested negative and was released from Tier 2 but was forced back into quarantine when his AAMI entry gate was reclassified to Tier 1. Then his test result came back positive.
The other infected person in the community received notice that he had been in close contact while in East Gippsland. They once stopped at a motorway service station on their way back to Melbourne for isolation and authorities praised their credit card for disinfection.
The COVID-19 leader, Jeroen Weimar, said tracers were making 5,000 daily calls to people in isolation, urging them to get tested in order to stem the outbreak.
“We know who these people are,” he said. “We continue to chase them.” “It’s entirely possible that people were put off maybe two or three days in advance due to long waiting lists for testing.”
He emphasized that people are not legally required to take a test at the start of their isolation period.
“Some people choose to wait until the day 13 test, but you have to finish the day 13 test before you can be released from isolation and that’s a very big incentive to take the day 13 test.”
Mr Weimar said he was encouraged that about 80 per cent of contacts in school groups had been tested. Mr Weimar hopes the number of test results from those who attended exposure sites will rise in the coming days.
But Prof Bennett said it was critical for contact tracers to know as soon as possible if a person was infected so they could follow their movements and determine if they had spread the virus.
This was particularly important in situations where a serving event, such as rugby for AFL matches, occurred days before the start of the shutdown, she said. Early testing has become less important as the lockdown has progressed because fewer cases have spent any time in the community.
Professor Bennett said the government should be able to enforce testing in the same way it has mandated self-isolation.
She said that forcing people to get tested did not expose them to any serious consequences. Authorities can offer home testing for high-risk contacts, or saliva or rapid tests for people who have been reluctant to take a nasal swab.
It would be reasonable to estimate a similar proportion of undetected positives among the group of untested contacts as there were positives among the tested group, she said.
Associate Professor Hassan Vale, an epidemiologist from La Trobe University, said he assumed close people were tasked with testing and incentive support to ensure they did.
“If you are blind to the condition of your close ones up to day 13, this is some information that can be really helpful,” he said.
Of the 26 cases presented on Thursday, seven are related to the rules of the Trinity. Six of them were associated with Mrs. Frankie’s restaurant in Cremorne; Five of them are associated with St. Patrick’s Primary School in Morumbina; Two have been linked to Phillip Island; Two are associated with Mildura. two related to Hume’s city family group; One was related to MCG; And one to AAMI Park.
The number of exposure sites continued to grow, reaching nearly 400.
An employee at Casey Hospital in Melbourne’s outer southeast tested positive on Tuesday. They once worked during the infection but were wearing PPE and did not interact with patients. Monash Health has furloughed 41 employees.
With Cassandra Morgan
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