The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has said it was increasing its testing efforts with “more hours, more sites, more staff, more resources and more text messages” being sent out to the community to support the Sunbury exposure sites.
A new drive-in testing site has been set up at the former Masters’ car park in Sunbury. The DHSS has advised that if anyone was at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre between 3.40pm and 4.30pm on Feburary 5 to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The DHHS said in a statement that it was also extending hours at seven testing facilities in Hume and the surrounding areas.
There were two locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and no interstate or internationally acquired recorded yesterday in the period up to midnight last night (Wednesday). The DHHS reported 17 active cases over the same period and 22,570 tests were received over the same period.
The cases were of a hotel worker and resident were linked to the outbreak at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport. The DHHS said this brought the total number of cases linked to the hotel to eight – this included three index cases (the first documented patient) three hotel workers and two residents.
The DHHS said the hotel quarantine worker who first tested positive for COVID-19 at the Holiday Inn was a food and beverage attendant. She had last worked at the hotel on 4 February and had tested negative at the end of her shift.
She developed COVID-19 symptoms on 6 February.
“On 8 February, she was advised that she was a primary close contact related to the previously identified exposure at the Holiday Inn and was, as such, required to isolate and get a test.
“She got tested on the morning of 9 February – and returned a positive result. During the time she was infectious, she visited a number of sites in the Sunbury area,” said the DHHS.
The department had identified 13 social and household primary close contacts that were linking to the case, seven of which had tested negative.
Meanwhile, the ABC reported that a quarantine hotel guest had COVID-19 when they used a nebuliser – the use of which had the effect of releasing 10,000 times more aerosol particles than if they were breathing normally. This would allow for the COVID-19 virus to travel further and stay in the air for longer than under normal circumstances.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton was reported as saying at least three of the cases at the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn were linked to the use of the nebuliser. A nebuliser is designed to vaporise medication enabling patients to inhale a concentrated dose of medication that can be absorbed through their lungs.
♦ More information is available on the DHSS case locations and outbreaks page.