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Monday, January 17, 2022

Victoria records 11 new local COVID cases, with two linked to aged care

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Victoria has recorded 11 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, including an aged care resident and nurse at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility in Maidstone in Melbourne’s west.

It takes the state’s current outbreak to approximately 80, with the Arcare Maidstone outbreak sitting at present on six cases.

The resident is fully vaccinated and though asymptomatic has been transferred to a hospital ‘for public health reasons’, while the nurse has had one dose of the vaccine and last worked at the facility on Saturday.

According to The Guardian website, the newly infected 79-year-old resident lives in “close proximity” to the centre’s previous two cases.

“All team members who worked at Arcare yesterday are required to get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days,” a spokesperson for Arcare told The Guardian on Sunday.

“Further testing will take place tomorrow, with the indication that it will occur every two days while we manage this outbreak.”

The results were detected among 24,265 tests received on Sunday, and there were 17,719 vaccine doses administered at state-run sites.

It is unclear whether the latest glut of cases will dent the city’s hopes of moving to eased restrictions from Friday.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said officials’ main concern is tracking down “upstream” transmission.

“Given five per cent of Victorians have been tested in the last seven days, if there was a big outbreak going on I would expect to have picked it up,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“That risk does fall over time but we are still concerned about that and that is where all our efforts are going.”

Professor Cheng said there was no “magic number” of people getting the jab to avoid future lockdowns, with only two to three per cent of Victorians fully vaccinated.

“Once you get up to much higher coverage rates, then it makes a whole lot of things easier,” he said.

“We may not need the intensity of restrictions. We may be able to only do contact tracing without having to do other things quite to the same level, and that is the benefit of vaccination.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday announced an additional 100,000 vaccines are being made available for Victoria.

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