Regional Vic COVID linked to Melbourne

·2-min read

A growing COVID-19 outbreak in regional Victoria has been genomically linked to a Melbourne suburb 165km away, but health authorities are warning the threat has not passed.

Seven of Victoria's 50 new cases reported on Tuesday are connected to the Shepparton outbreak, bringing that cluster to 44 cases.

While still unsure of the direct acquisition source, health authorities have genomically linked the Shepparton cases to an earlier outbreak at Glenroy in Melbourne's outer north.

"We have a very substantial match. That gives us a very good lead," Mr Weimar told reporters on Tuesday.

After revealing on Monday that officers were investigating reports hundreds of people including some from NSW went to a funeral in Shepparton, police on Tuesday said no breach of COVID-19 restrictions was found.

An infected patient from the Shepparton area has also been identified as the index case that sparked an outbreak at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Mr Weimar says all 44 positive cases in the Shepparton outbreak are linked and authorities have a "very firm grip" on the situation, despite another 16 exposure sites being added in the area on Tuesday.

One in 10 people living in the Shepparton area has been forced into self-isolation after visiting local exposure sites, which now total more than 70.

With more than 17,000 people needing to be tested and daily capacity roughly at 3500 tests, Goulburn Valley Health is asking only those with COVID-19 symptoms and those in priority groups to come forward for testing on Tuesday.

People without coronavirus symptoms who have been to an exposure site should remain in quarantine and present for testing from lunchtime on Wednesday.

There are 3840 primary close contacts in Shepparton, with more than half returning a negative test.

Mr Weimar expects more positive cases to emerge in coming days.

"This is not over by any stretch of the imagination," he said.

"We need to use the time we've got now to trap the remaining active cases, get them under control, get everyone else isolating and then we can see these numbers come down. But we're not at that stage yet."

Goulburn Valley Health and the health department are hosting an online community information forum on Tuesday evening for Shepparton residents.

It comes as five new cases were confirmed among the family of a previously announced COVID-positive resident in Lara, north of Geelong.

Barwon Health on Tuesday afternoon revealed a further five people from the same Lara household had tested positive for COVID-19, prompting it to list 11 exposure sites in the Geelong area.

It is unclear how the virus spread to Lara but the cases were among the 50 reported earlier on Tuesday.

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