A shopping centre in Melbourne’s northwest has been revealed as “an area of most concern” after Victoria recorded 20 new local cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.
While five of those cases were in quarantine during their infectious period – an increase on Monday – testing commander Jeroen Weimar said Caroline Springs square shopping centre continued to alarm health authorities.
“The area of most concern to us today is Caroline Springs and continues to be Caroline Springs,” he told reporters.
“We have seen now 25 cases associated with the Caroline Springs square shopping centre across a number of different retail units and people – some of those are household contacts.”
Department of Health deputy secretary Kate Matson said health officials were warned of two cases late on Monday night, which could be traced back to the shopping centre.
She said they shopped at the centre and investigations were underway into how they contracted the virus.
“We don‘t know whether it was a fleeting transmission in perhaps one of the common areas related to the toilets, someone else or passing someone in an open area or whether they went to one of the identified retail sites,” Ms Matson said.
The shopping centre has been listed as a tier two coronavirus exposure site, with anyone who visited the venue between July 27 and August 5 urged to get a Covid-19 test and isolate until a negative result had been received.
“If you‘ve been to other parts of the shopping centre, come forward and get tested and wait for your results,” Mr Weimar said.
About 400 of yesterday’s 34,892 Covid-19 tests were undertaken as a pop-up testing site in Caroline Springs.
One of the sites was set up at the city vista sports precinct, and the other was established at the Caroline Springs leisure centre.
“I need those numbers to increase,” Mr Weimar said.
“We need more people in the Caroline Springs area coming forward for testing – it’s a busy, important shopping centre.”
There are more than 12,000 primary close contacts linked to Victoria’s latest outbreak.
More than 1100 of those people were contacts of the Caroline Springs shopping centre, with 67 per cent of them returning negative test results.