Kilmore cluster records fifth case

By Jackson Russell

KILMORE has recorded one new case of COVID-19, the fifth attached to the Oddfellows Café outbreak.

There is now four active case in Mitchell Shire, as the state recorded 11 new cases overnight.

The new case today linked to the Oddfellows is a close contact of a known case and was already isolating.

Victoria’s total number of active cases is now 195, the first time the number has been under 200 since June 26.

Nearly 16,000 Victorians were tested yesterday, with 679 being tested in Kilmore over the past three days.

A total of 295 linked to the Kilmore outbreak are currently isolating.

At this morning’s daily press conference, chief health officer Brett Sutton addressed the Kilmore outbreak and the confusion surrounding whether or not close contacts and even contacts of contacts need to isolate.

Professor Sutton said the Department of Health and Human Services was taking a more precautionary approach by isolating contacts of close contacts.

“There will be close contacts in that first ring that turn up positive and that changes what happens to their household contacts and close contacts so there is some trickiness there,” he said.

“I do apologise if there’s been confusion but we’re committed to making it right and we do want to take that additional precautionary approach now that numbers are so low and we’re out of stage four.”

Prof Sutton said the justification for isolating contacts of close contacts was that close contacts were potentially exposed people that may develop illness anytime within 14 days of exposure.

“What we’re doing with those contacts of contacts is recognising that when a close contact becomes positive or develops symptoms, they’ve actually been infectious for the 48 hours before they develop symptoms and maybe three or four days before they got that positive test back,” he said.

“We’re trying to protect those other individuals in the household, the contacts of contacts, from going out and potentially exposing others because they might’ve had transmission to them even before that close contact developed symptoms or tested positive.”

Prof Sutton also addressed issues of some Kilmore residents, receiving multiple calls from different contact tracing teams.

“There is an absolute keenness to make sure that every single person on the list from the cafe who identified as close or casual contacts are all being contacted,” he said.

“Apologies if people are getting inconvenient contacts. Personally, I would rather that inconvenience than missing any single individual in Kilmore and I think the people of Kilmore are also really keen that no one is missed out in terms of getting that reach out.”

While many shops in Kilmore have closed to protect staff and help limit the outbreak, Prof Sutton said the risk to those business was very low.

“I don’t think the risk to those businesses is very substantial at all but of course they’re weighing up what it means to be close for a longer term if they have a staff case and additional staff cases so I would leave them to make that call,” he said.

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