Family outbreak linked to 100 cases

A cluster of 102 COVID-19 cases at a school in Melbourne has been linked to an outbreak from a family gathering in the same area.

The Al-Taqwa College cluster grew by seven cases on Wednesday, of the 134 new ones announced across Victoria, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The first positive case was a teacher at the school — notified to the department on 27 June — (who) was believed to have worked for two days while infectious,” a spokesman told The Australian.

“The outbreak squad visited the school on the 29th June.

“On the 30th June after receiving further positive case notifi­cations, all students and staff were instructed to seek testing and go into quarantine.”

RELATED: Premier warns PM of quarantine reset extension

He said it was “linked to a family gathering outbreak” in the same local government area.

Truganina, where the school is located to the west of the CBD, is shared across the LGAs of the City of Melton and the City of Wyndham which are now under a six-week lockdown.

The college cluster is the second largest in the state, after the Cedar Meats abattoir outbreak which also surpassed 100 cases.

In a Facebook message to the school community on July 5, Principal Omar Hallak said all staff and students had been placed in quarantine and asked to get tested “immediately”.

He said they had been “vigilant” since the outbreak of COVID-19 began.

“We are working closely with DHHS to support their efforts to trace the origin of the virus and to trace all the contacts of the affected people,” he said.

“We know this news will add to anxiety in the community. We pray that our state overcomes this pandemic and we wish every affected person a speedy recovery.”

Meanwhile, two Metro Tunnel workers have reportedly also been diagnosed in recent days.

The Age reports one of the project’s sites was shut down on Wednesday night for a deep clean and the overnight shift cancelled after the positive test results.

Contact tracing is under way to determine whether the Town Hall site workers had close contact with any co-workers on the $11 billion rail line.

Five positive cases announced on Wednesday have been linked to multiple health and aged care services including a resident at the Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee.

Brunswick Private Hospital in Melbourne’s inner north remains closed for new admissions after four patients and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

“Contact tracing is under way,” the health department said.

The “outbreak squad” was also due to visit the hospital.

Among the cases identified on Wednesday was a person who “provides aged care services to clients in their homes” through Mercy Health and reportedly had no symptoms prior to testing.

The DHHS said a staff member of BaptCare Karana in Kew who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 did not work while infectious.

A staff member at the Doutta Galla Lynch’s Bridge aged care facility in Kensington was infectious while working on July 2 and 3, and a worker at the Uniting AgeWell facility in Preston has also tested positive.

In a statement on Wednesday, Uniting AgeWell said it was notified late on July 4 that its worker was a close contact of a confirmed case and has since tested positive.

“Both have no symptoms,” chief executive officer Andrew Kinnersly said.

“While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, we were well prepared for this possibility.

“The staff member, who last worked on Friday 3 July, along with four other staff members who worked with them across three shifts, are in home isolation.

“Three of those staff have since tested negative and one is pending test results. Affected staff are being provided with support by Uniting AgeWell.

“Importantly, none of these staff members had extended direct contact with any residents and only worked in one wing of the facility. None of our Preston staff or residents are exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms or symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

All residents and staff at the facility were tested for the coronavirus on Wednesday afternoon.

VIC | — Australia’s leading news site