There are now two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kilmore after an infected Melbourne resident connected to the Butcher Club-Chadstone cluster took the virus to the area. The Kilmore cases are now being considered as a separate outbreak for logistical reasons.
The same person who took the virus to Kilmore by dining at the Oddfellows Cafe also went on to visit Benalla in the state’s north where a number of people are now being tested.
The person had permission to travel to Kilmore for work, but visitors from Melbourne are not allowed to dine out if allowed into regional areas for permitted reasons.
“We hope that we don’t end up with cases anywhere else out of this one,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.
“The fact that [the outbreak] can go from Frankston to Benalla all the way up in the north-east, that just speaks as to how wildly infectious this virus is.
“One only has to spend a moment to imagine, if Chadstone were open at the moment, just how many more cases we might well be dealing with.”
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said anyone who visited the Oddfellows Cafe between September 30 and October 3 was classified as potential close contact and should come forward for testing, “even if you don’t have any symptoms at all”.
Professor Sutton also urged Chadstone shoppers to be on high alert for even the mildest symptoms.
“We need to ensure these numbers don’t get any higher, so I would call on anyone who was at the shopping centre between September 23 and October 1 to get tested if you have even the mildest of symptoms,” he said.
“We have a shared responsibility to do what we can to stop this outbreak from getting any bigger.
“And if you have a permitted reason to travel from metropolitan Melbourne to regional Victoria, please remember the current restrictions in Melbourne follow you into regional Victoria. That means take away only from cafes and restaurants.”
Testing is available at:
- The Kilmore and District Memorial Hospital, Anderson Road, Kilmore, 9am-7pm.
- Kilmore Soldiers Memorial Hall, 4pm-7pm on Tuesday and 10am-6pm on Wednesday.
- Chadstone Shopping Centre level 2 car park, outside Coles.
Oddfellows Cafe confirmed a staff member had tested positive after being exposed to the customer with COVID-19.
Cafe owner Kim Short said she had made the decision to close her business until further notice, with all staff in quarantine after the “devastating” news.
“Please stay safe everyone, we are a small community that this could spread very quickly. If unsure stay home, get tested, I can’t stress it enough.”
On Monday, Ms Short expressed her frustration that her employees and other customers had been put at risk.
“We’ve worked so hard to keep our business open and following all the guidelines through the whole pandemic, to say I’m upset this has happened when it shouldn’t is an understatement,” she said.
Chief Health Officer ‘unhappy’ to see 15 new cases
Professor Sutton said he was unhappy to see 15 new coronavirus cases recorded in the state on Tuesday, but moved to reassure the public most were linked with known outbreaks.
“I don’t like to see a number that’s in double figures and not in single figures, and no one obsesses over the daily numbers more than me or my team,” he said.
“They are, again, predominantly related to known cases, to outbreaks, and we have to get on top of the outbreaks to really drive these numbers down.”
Three cases are linked to the Butcher Club-Chadstone cluster, while two are linked to Estia aged care home in Keilor. Embracia nursing home in Moonee Valley and the Oddfellows Cafe in Kilmore have each been connected to one new case. The seven remaining cases remain under investigation.
Three cases emerged in the Greater Dandenong and Wyndham council areas and two in Brimbank and Frankston, while single cases were recorded in Darebin, Melbourne, Moonee Valley, Moreland and Mitchell.
The state’s death toll rose to 807 after a previously unrecorded death of a woman in her 90s was reported.
There are now 216 active cases in the state and 21 people fighting the virus in hospital, including one in intensive care.
Anyone who has spent any time at any of the exposure sites listed below and develops symptoms should come forward for testing.
Tuesday’s numbers bring Victoria’s rolling 14-day case average to 10.9.
That number needs to be lower than five – and there also needs to be fewer than five mystery cases – for Melbourne to take the next step out of lockdown on October 19. On Tuesday there were 13 active mystery cases.
Professor Sutton has said he was unsure whether Victoria will meet the targets. “My gut feeling is it will be a line ball. It’s not certain one way or the other,” he told reporters on Monday.
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Rachael Dexter is a breaking news reporter at The Age.