GEELONG ON LOCK­DOWN WATCH

State re­view­ing daily af­ter new out­breaks at child­care cen­tre and Co­rio Bay fac­tory Anger as Mel­bur­ni­ans urged to leave coast

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - OLIVIA SHY­ING, TA­MARA MCDON­ALD

THE state gov­ern­ment is ready to lock Geelong down at a mo­ment’s no­tice with of­fi­cials re­view­ing the re­gion’s coro­n­avirus sta­tus ev­ery day.

Vic­to­ria’s chief health of­fi­cer, Pro­fes­sor Brett Sut­ton, con­firmed the re­gion was be­ing watched closely as it was re­vealed a child at an Ocean Grove child­care cen­tre and a worker at a North Shore fac­tory had tested pos­i­tive to COVID-19.

A CHILD at an Ocean Grove child­care cen­tre has tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus and seven staff at a North Shore fer­tiliser man­u­fac­turer are wait­ing to see if they have COVID-19 af­ter a work­mate was con­firmed to be car­ry­ing the in­fec­tion.

The Boorai Cen­tre in Shell Road told fam­i­lies late on Thurs­day it would be closed un­til fur­ther no­tice.

The City of Greater Geelong said the cen­tre was shut for a deep clean fol­low­ing ad­vice from the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (DHHS) that a con­firmed case of COVID-19 had at­tended the cen­tre on Thurs­day, July 2.

The coun­cil said the child did not dis­play any symp­toms and was not vis­i­bly un­well on the day.

The coun­cil on Fri­day un­der­took a deep, en­vi­ron­men­tal clean of the fa­cil­ity and as­sessed fur­ther con­trol mea­sures.

Coun­cil em­ploy­ees iden­ti­fied to have come into con­tact with the af­fected child will be tested and will re­main at home dur­ing a quar­an­tine pe­riod de­ter­mined by the DHHS.

At North Shore, seven staff from Incitec Pivot have been tested for coro­n­avirus af­ter a Geelong engi­neer­ing team mem­ber, who lives in Mel­bourne, tested pos­i­tive this week.

An Incitec Pivot spokes­woman said the con­trac­tor had not been at work since Thurs­day, July 2, when they showed no symp­toms and were largely work­ing in iso­la­tion.

The con­trac­tor stayed home af­ter be­com­ing un­well and was tested.

The spokes­woman said the con­trac­tor was “be­ing of­fered our sup­port and as­sis­tance and will not re­turn to work un­til cleared by health au­thor­i­ties and our own strict COVID-19 con­trol mea­sures”.

“As a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, seven peo­ple from our Geelong site — none of whom dis­played symp­toms — have been tested for COVID-19,” she said.

“There has been no im­pact to our op­er­a­tions or cus­tomers.”

It comes as Vic­to­ria’s Chief Health Of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sor Brett Sut­ton re­vealed the sit­u­a­tion in Geelong, which has so far es­caped a re­turn to lock­down, was be­ing re­viewed daily.

Two new coro­n­avirus cases were re­ported on Tues­day in Greater Geelong and four on Thurs­day. But a case was re­moved from the tally on Fri­day, with the to­tal num­ber of con­firmed cases at 73.

There were five known ac­tive cases of coro­n­avirus in Greater Geelong on Fri­day, as Vic­to­ria re­ported a record daily in­crease of 288 new cases.

Asked at what point lock­ing down Geelong would be con­sid­ered, Prof Sut­ton said Geelong had to be re­viewed daily.

“We need to know where those cases are oc­cur­ring. If com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion is es­tab­lished in Geelong, that would make the case stronger,” Prof Sut­ton said.

“But we also need to bear in mind how much the western sub­urbs of Mel­bourne have an in­crease in cases and how much com­mut­ing for work pur­poses, es­sen­tial pur­poses, is com­ing from Geelong.

“I would cer­tainly say to those in Geelong, you need to be as mind­ful of test­ing and symp­toms as any­where else in Vic­to­ria, and if you’re com­mut­ing for es­sen­tial pur­poses, es­pe­cially to the western sub­urbs of Mel­bourne, bear in mind all of the things you need to do to pro­tect your­self.

A young boy at the COVID-19 test­ing cen­tre in Ocean Grove yes­ter­day.

Brett Sut­ton

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