Covid 19 – Suburban Testing Blitz
Apologies for the longer post but this is important.
Today, we announced further action to slow of the spread of coronavirus – the Suburban Testing Blitz.
We know from the data that there are a number of known locations where active cases of community transmission is taking place and we are ramping up our interventions in these location so we don’t let these numbers get out of hand.
Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows have both been identified as two priority suburbs for blanket testing. Over the next three days, we will aim to test 50 per cent of all residents of these suburbs. That means 10,000 tests will be collected over the next three days in these suburbs alone.
Other priority suburbs (in no particular order) include: Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham. These suburbs have been selected due to the high rates of recent community transmission, the risk of undetected coronavirus circulating in the community and the risk of outbreaks occurring that threaten Victoria’s suppression strategy. The public health team will undertake a daily assessment of new cases and their location and identify if there has been any material change that may warrant expansion of the program to further suburbs.
We are also increasing state-wide testing capacity to 25,000 tests a day to both increase testing in the other locations and maintain a baseline testing across the state to effectively monitor the spread of the virus.
This means we can identify and isolate cases and then track and trace their contacts to contain the spread of the virus. To ensure cases are quickly tracked and traced and outbreaks contained, the contact tracing team and outbreak unit that is currently over 1,000 strong, will increase by over 350 staff.
We are not announcing a further lockdown for these suburbs today. However, if after this Suburban Testing Blitz the Chief Health Officer remains concerned and community transmission continues to rise, we will have no choice but to consider that as a course of action.
Remember, just because you don’t live in one of these suburbs or live in regional Victoria, does not mean you can pretend this is over. Unlike some other states, Victoria is compact, and we see high levels of movement across the state with people going about their daily lives. While rates of transmission are low in Victoria generally. We’re not out of the woods yet, and we must remain vigilant.
As the Premier has said, what we do now will determine what comes next. This isn’t easy. It’s up to all of us to make this work.
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