Coronavirus Victoria: Ten hotspot suburbs set for 'unprecedented' testing blitz

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

Victoria’s surge in coronavirus cases continues as Premier Daniel Andrews revealed a further 33 coronavirus cases overnight.

It was the largest number of new daily cases reported for Victoria since April 7.

Seven of the cases were in hotel quarantine while the other 26 appear to be locally acquired, nine of which are linked to existing clusters and 11 are under investigation.

Mr Andrews identified 10 suburbs facing a “community transmission challenge”, revealing the state will push for 50 per cent of people in those suburbs to be tested over the next 10 days.

The suburbs Mr Andrews identified are:

  • Keilor Downs

  • Broadmeadows

  • Maidstone

  • Albanvale

  • Sunshine West

  • Hallam

  • Brunswick West

  • Reservoir

  • Pakenham

  • Fawkner

Mr Andrews labelled the plan an "unprecedented suburban testing blitz".

He said there are 1000 workers door-knocking in the suburbs to make sure the government’s message is clearly delivered.

Daniel Andrews revealed 10 new hotspots during the latest outbreak. Source: AAP

“[They are] engaging with everybody who needs to hear this message – and that is, everyone, if you are sick, get tested. If you are sick, don't go out,” Mr Andrews said.

Pop-up testing centres are being erected on streets within the suburbs, he said.

“People are going to be knocking on your door and asking you to get tested. Please say yes, please go and get tested.

“That is the most important thing that you, in those suburbs, can do to help us contain this virus.”

Mr Andrews said a person did not need to be showing symptoms to be tested.

Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows will be prioritised over the first three days.

The daily number of new Victorian cases has been in double digits since June 17.

The state’s active cases jumped from 58 to 143 in the period June 17-24, while the rest of the country only had a combined increase of 20.

Outbreak ‘like public health bushfire’

He said the current outbreak and the heightened response, which includes the deployment of Australian Defence Force personnel, was “like a public health bushfire”.

There has now been 130 cases in the past six days, with just 18 of those in hotel quarantine.

People queue up for COVID-19 testing at a pop-up testing site in Chadstone on Thursday. Source: AAP

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton revealed on Wednesday more than 30 cases in the community had come from staff at hotel quarantine.

Mr Andrews revealed more than 20,000 people were tested on Wednesday, a new daily record for the state.

The blitz is similar to widespread testing seen in Wuhan and more recently Beijing after subsequent outbreaks in the cities.

Some 10,000 residents a day will be tested in the 10 locations by a fleet of 800 crew in mobile testing vans.

Earlier death reclassified as coronavirus related

The NSW COVID-19 fatality count has reached 51 after authorities reclassified the cause of death of an elderly man in April.

The 85-year-old died at southwest Sydney's Opal Bankstown aged care facility on April 27 and on Thursday Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant confirmed the virus was found to have been a contributing factor to his demise.

The news takes the national COVID-19 toll to 104.

The man's death was associated with a small outbreak that involved three staff and three patients, Dr Chant said.

"The clinical treating doctor diagnosed COVID as contributing and in accordance with the national guidelines we've included that as a death," she told reporters.

with AAP

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