The number of coronavirus cases in Victoria has jumped by 10 after authorities revealed five people in one household have tested positive for the virus as have two security guards working at a hotel where people with COVID-19 are being quarantined.
The total number of cases in the state to date is 1628 and so far 19 people have died after contracting the virus.
The Department of Health said on Thursday 165 confirmed cases had been acquired through unknown transmission.
A second security guard at Rydges on Swanston in Melbourne has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The hotel is accommodating quarantined travellers and in total there are 13 people at the hotel with COVID-19.
The security guard was confirmed on Thursday to have the virus, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said. It comes a day after another staff member at the hotel was announced as testing positive to COVID-19.
How the workers contracted the virus is still being investigated and those who have been in close contact with the staff members are in quarantine.
Links between the hotel workers and positive cases among travellers quarantining at the hotel are under investigation but hotel guests are not currently identified as being in close contact with the workers at this stage.
Five people in one household positive, with more to be tested
The health department said three of yesterday’s 10 cases were confirmed in travellers in the hotel quarantine, while six of the new cases were detected in household contacts – including five members of the same household who were in close contact of an earlier confirmed case.
The household members are now in quarantine while authorities attempt to contact trace.
“The original case in that household, we haven’t determined how that individual contracted it, but it is a big household.”
He said there are more tests being conducted and there are fears others are asymptomatic.
“So there might be more confirmed in coming days because it is a large household,” he said.
Professor Sutton said the increase in cases showed the pandemic was not over.
“Today’s increase in cases illustrates once again that while we have been flattening the curve, our battle against COVID-19 is far from over,” he said in a statement.
“Restrictions around some activities have now been eased in Victoria in recognition of the current low rate of community transmission of this virus.
“While encouraging, we need to remain vigilant. It is increasingly important that we stay at home when unwell and get tested, wash our hands regularly, sneeze and cough into our elbow and maintain physical distancing.
“These are common sense actions to ensure we don’t create a second wave of this serious disease, as we have seen in other countries once they have eased their stringent regulations.”
‘Not the time for complacency’
In Victoria there are eight people in hospital with three in intensive care. So far 1544 people have recovered from the virus.
Of the 1628 total cases, 1347 have been recorded in the Melbourne metro area while 236 have been in regional Victoria.
There have been no new cases linked to outbreaks in aged care centres after three were placed in lockdown earlier this month after a resident at each tested positive for the coronavirus.
Professor Sutton however warned against people becoming complacent.
“Victorians have done a remarkable job so far sticking to the coronavirus restrictions and staying at home has saved lives. But now is not the time for complacency,” he said.
“We are also asking Victorians to continue this amazing effort and get tested if they have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, because the more tests we do, the more data we have about the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.
“People with even the mildest of symptoms of coronavirus including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell are encouraged to get tested.”
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