‘Alert not alarmed’: Hundreds ordered to retest over sewage samples, Cranbourne vaccination site announced

Victorian health authorities remain “alert but not alarmed” at the prospect of a new COVID-19 case after the discovery of viral fragments in wastewater sparked an order to more than 240 people to immediately retest.

The mass warning was followed by news that a seventh mass vaccination clinic will open in Cranbourne next week, the same day all Victorians over the age of 50 will be eligible for a COVID-19 jab.

A drive-through COVID testing site in Melbourne.Credit:Jason South

“That’s why we’re saying to those areas, ‘hey look, we really want to see some good testing numbers in those areas over the next few days’.”

All of the 246 people who have been asked to re-test have previously tested negative. The primary close contacts are still undertaking 14 days of quarantine.

In addition to those contacted by the Department of Health, anyone else with symptoms in the 80-plus identified suburbs are urged to get tested immediately.

Mr Weimar also announced the opening of a seventh mass vaccination centre, which will be run by Monash Health at Cranbourne Racecourse from next Tuesday.

All Victorians over 50 will officially become eligible for an AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, and Mr Weimar guaranteed no one would be turned away.

“I can guarantee that everybody who turns up at the six vaccination centres we have up and running today… on Monday [if] you’re 50 and over and you’re ready to have your vaccine, you will be able to get your vaccine, and from Tuesday at Cranbourne Racecourse, the same rule would apply.”

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday morning in Victoria’s hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases in the system to 24.

As of 11pm on Thursday, there were 1676 people in hotel quarantine across 12 hotels, including the active cases of COVID-19. Another 134 international passengers were expected to land in Melbourne on Friday.

The quarantine program has now scaled up from six hotels in recent weeks, with the following hotels now fully taking guests: the Mantra in Epping, Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport, Park Royal Melbourne Airport, InterContinental in the CBD, Novotel Ibis Melbourne Central, Novotel South Wharf, Novotel on Collins, Pan Pacific at South Wharf and Four Points in Docklands.

Victoria has now delivered more vaccine doses than any other state. There were 3,662 vaccines delivered on Thursday, pushing the total to 202,506 and surpassing NSW on 202,220.

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