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Australia’s first drive-through vaccination hub to open in Melton, AZ jab available to under-40s at state-run clinics

The update also said some unexpected detections were made in the Benalla and Healesville catchments with Healesville including the towns of Badger Creek and Coldstream.

Anyone who works in or has visited Benalla between August 3-5 or Healesville between August 1-5 is urged to watch for COVID-19 symptoms and seek a test if they do.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said all of the state’s new confirmed cases were linked to the Hobsons Bay cluster in Melbourne’s south-west.

Of the 11 cases recorded on Sunday, four are students from Al-Taqwa College, three are household contacts of the Wolf Case and Eatery in Altona North, one is a team member of the Newport Football Club case and three are linked to the CS Square shopping centre in Caroline Springs.

Two of the cases linked to the shopping centre worked at The Jolly Miller Cafe, which is located close to the Spectacle Hub, which had previously been identified as an exposure site by authorities.

There are now hundreds of staff and students from Mount Alexander College in Flemington and Ilim College’s Kiewa campus in isolation after positive cases spent time at the schools.

Professor Sutton said health authorities were taking the same approach to testing those school communities as the successful testing program conducted at Al-Taqwa College.

“We’ve had a really successful approach with Al-Taqwa [College],” Professor Sutton said.

“We’ve had more than three-quarters tested in a really, really short period of time, so we’re taking the same approach with these two new sites.”

Professor Sutton also reiterated calls for Victorians to get vaccinated after the state government expanded the vaccine program to allow 18-39-year-olds to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at state-run clinics.

Professor Brett Sutton (right) and acting COVID-19 response commander Naomi Bromley.

Professor Brett Sutton (right) and acting COVID-19 response commander Naomi Bromley.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“If I were 25 and AstraZeneca was the only vaccine available to me today, I would get it,” he said.

Acting COVID-19 response commander Naomi Bromley said Australia’s first drive-through vaccine hub, which will be open from Monday at a former Bunnings site provided by the hardware chain, would offer just the Pfizer vaccine in its first week.

“You drive up, roll down your window, roll up your sleeve, get a jab. It’s that easy,” Ms Bromley said.

“This is a fantastic addition to our existing state infrastructure, it’ll be a really good and convenient, simple, safe way for Victorians to get vaccinated.”

Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider said the company was “pleased to be able to play a small part in the government’s vaccination rollout by providing access to our former Melton store”.

”We are strongly encouraging our own team to take up COVID-19 vaccinations and we’re providing them with up to six hours’ paid leave to attend appointments,” he said.

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Ms Bromley said children who were aged between 12 and 15 and had specified medical conditions or who were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander would be eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at state-run clinics.

“Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for the 12 to 15-year age group,” she said.

“Children, adolescents, young adults with underlying medical conditions do have an increased likelihood of developing severe disease and complications with COVID-19.”

A testing site has also been operating for residents of the Racecourse Road public housing towers since about 9.30am on Sunday after running until about 10pm on Saturday.

Mr Andrews said the families that had been isolating on the 17th floor of the Flemington public housing tower, whom authorities were worried could form a new transmission chain, had returned a negative test.

“The families that have been isolated on the 17th floor of the public housing tower that we’ve all been talking about, they’ve all been tested and they’ve all returned a negative test result,” he said.

Residents from the Racecourse Road public housing towers line up for testing on Sunday morning.

Residents from the Racecourse Road public housing towers line up for testing on Sunday morning.Credit:Paul Jeffers

One resident of 130 Racecourse Road, who didn’t want to be identified, said he had received his negative result on Sunday morning.

He said the response from authorities had been far better than the snap lockdown last year, when police were sent as the first response. “We need doctors and we need nurses, not police,” he said.

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Fisal, who is aged in his 50s and lives in one of the neighbouring towers, came down for a test “just to be safe”.

“Last year, it was complicated,” he said. “They have the idea now.”

During Sunday’s press conference, Victorian health authorities added four new exposure sites to the official list, including two tier-1 sites on a bus line that services Melbourne’s north west. A positive case travelled on the 418 route twice on August 8 on their way to Caroline Springs shopping centre CS Square on August 4 and 5.

A positive case also visited an East Melbourne doctor’s office, Melbourne Orthopaedic Surgeons, on August 3, which is now a tier-1 site, and Bunnings Taylors Lakes on August 2, which is now a tier-2 site.

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On Sunday afternoon, contact tracers added four visits to Woolworths Caroline Springs to the state’s list of COVID-19 exposure sites.

A COVID-19 case was at the supermarket at 8 Commercial Road, Caroline Springs, during parts of August 2-5 and all visits have been listed as tier-2 exposures so anyone at the store during the times listed has been asked to get a COVID test and isolate themselves until they receive a negative test.

The case was at Woolworths Caroline Springs on August 2 from 8.40am to 5.50pm, August 3 from 5pm to 9.10pm, August 4 from 8.30am to 5.30pm and August 5 from 8.30am to 10.15am.

Lady and the Hair hairdressers at 22 Bakery Square, Melton has been listed as a tier-1 site on August 4 from 9am to 7.30pm and August 5 from 9am to 12.45pm with anyone at the venue during those hours asked to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days.

Morgan’s IGA at 335-345 High Street, Melton, is listed as a tier-2 site with anyone at the supermarket on August 5 between 10am and 10.40am asked to get tested and isolate until receiving a negative test. Other tier-2 sites in Melton include the Jolly Miller Cafe on 265-267 High Street, on August 4 between 11.45am and 12.25pm, and Shoppers Bonaza at 317 High Street, on August 5 between 9.45am and 10.30am.

The Victorian Department of Health will ramp up wastewater testing in a number of areas around the state after more positive detections.

Government sources and epidemiologists have told The Age that Victoria’s lockdown would almost certainly last for more than seven days because it could take weeks for all people to be in isolation for their infectious period.

The Premier said Saturday’s 29 recorded cases, the highest daily total since September, made for a “concerning day”. Two senior Victorian government sources, speaking anonymously to make predictions about the outbreak, said it could take weeks for a ring to be put around the clusters.

However, Mr Andrews insisted it was achievable to drive local cases to zero despite the new outbreak penetrating western suburbs communities with greater language barriers, bigger family groups and an increased proportion of essential workers who can’t work from home.

Health authorities processed 38,179 tests on Saturday and administered 17,360 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

There are 100 active coronavirus cases in the state with 96 local and four overseas acquired cases.
Six COVID-19 cases are in hospital with one in intensive care. The total of confirmed cases in the Victoria since the beginning of the pandemic is 21,010.

With Hanna Mills Turbet, Paul Sakkal and Aisha Dow

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