"Stranger-to-stranger" transmission fears mount as Melbourne reports three new cases

"Stranger-to-stranger" transmission fears mount as Melbourne reports three new cases

Victorian health authorities are concerned fleeting contact between people is behind some of the state's COVID-19 outbreak as three new locally acquired cases were announced today.

The three new cases brings the total connected with this latest outbreak to 54, with none of today's locally acquired cases reported in aged care facilities.

Though the missing link connecting the initial case which sparked Victoria's outbreak (the man who was infected in an Adelaide quarantine hotel) to the other cases has not yet been uncovered, authorities are concerned there is evidence of casual acquisition.

Unlike close contact transmission, that being between friends at a pub or family members in a home, this phenomenon of casual contact is fleeting and between total strangers.

While VIC COVID Testing Commander Joroen Weimar said he is pleased more than 40,000 people came out to get tested yesterday, he is concerned that casual contact may mean there are other cases of the virus out there in the community.

"We have seen transmission in these places with very fleeting contact," Weimar said.

"We have transmission in places like the Telstra store in South Melbourne, JMD Grocers, the display home we talked about a few days ago, I'd add Craigieburn Central shopping centre.

"They are all examples of transmission with very limited contact. With previous variants, we are more used to transmission occurring in the home, in the workplace, where people know each other already, not at all of those big social settings. These are quite different."

As such, Weimar has called on anyone who has been to the following sites in the past two weeks to come forward and get tested for COVID-19:

  • Craigieburn Central
  • Bay Street shops in Port Melbourne
  • Clarendon Street in the South Melbourne
  • Pacific Epping, also known as the Epping Plaza
  • The Epping North shopping centre
  • Broadway Reservoir

Aged care and disability workers to be given priority vaccine access

Victorian health authorities are preparing for a "five-day blitz" to vaccinate more aged care and disability services workers.

From Wednesday 2 June to Sunday 6 June, workers in private sector aged care facilities and the residential disability sector will be given priority access to walk-in vaccination hubs around Victoria between 9am and 4pm.

The following vaccination hubs are participating in the blitz:

  • The Royal Exhibition Building
  • The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Sandown Racecourse
  • The Melbourne Showgrounds
  • The former Ford factory in Geelong
  • Bendigo community clinic
  • Ballarat Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre
  • Shepparton Showgrounds
  • The Macintosh Centre
  • Elgin racecourse
  • The Wodonga vaccination hub

Updated at 1.30pm AEST on 1 June 2021.

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