3 June 2021

UPDATED: Eight Canberrans in COVID isolation, ACT Health inundated with calls about exposure sites

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Big Merino Goulburn

Goulburn’s iconic Big Merino is on a list of COVID tracing sites. Photo: File

UPDATED 3:15 pm, 2 June: Eight people in the ACT are now in isolation after visiting NSW exposure sites in Goulburn and along the South Coast.

The ACT COVID-19 operations team has also been inundated with calls this morning regarding the NSW exposure sites.

The news came as Victoria announced it would be extending its lockdown for another week and people in Melbourne will not be able to travel to regional Victoria over the June long weekend (14 June) due to the risk of seeding the virus.

There are currently seven close contacts from Victoria and 15 casual contacts isolating in the ACT.

A further 161 people have arrived in the ACT from the Whittlesea local government area in Melbourne’s north. They have been tested and are isolating.

Anyone arriving from Victoria has to fill out an online declaration form and stay at home. Just under 8400 declarations had been submitted as of Wednesday (2 June).

ACT Health will update its stay at home orders for Victorians tomorrow following the announcement.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said it was too early to be making recommendations for travel over the long weekend, saying that trips should not be cancelled but Canberrans should closely monitor new cases and hotspots.

Ms Stephen-Smith said she was encouraged by the increase in testing in the ACT, which more than doubled following the identification of the exposure sites and the Victorian outbreak.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said further updates for people under stay at home orders would be announced tomorrow (3 June). Photo: Dominic Giannini.

10:00 am, 3 June: Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak has come worryingly close to home with news that four family members from Melbourne who tested positive for COVID-19 visited three Gundagai businesses and two popular Goulburn destinations last week on a road trip, as well as sites in the Shoalhaven.

It was revealed late on Wednesday (2 June) that three household contacts of the original case reported on Tuesday (1 June) had also tested positive after visiting The Coffee Pedaler, Gundagai Craft Centre and Junque and Disorderly Antique Shop in Gundagai.

The family member who first tested positive had also visited the Big Merino and Trappers Bakery in Goulburn, both frequent stopping points for locals and travellers along the Hume Highway, as well as locations in Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach and Vincentia.

The critical locations are as follows:

  • The Coffee Pedaler, Gundagai – 9:30 am to 11:15 am, Wednesday, 19 May.
  • Gundagai Craft Centre, Gundagai – 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, Wednesday, 19 May.
  • Junque and Disorderly Antique Shop, Gundagai – 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, Wednesday, 19 May.
  • Shell Coles Express Big Merino, Goulburn – 10:00 am to 11:30 am, Monday, 24 May.
  • Trapper’s Bakery, Sowerby Street, Goulburn – 10:30 am to 11:.30 am, Monday, 24 May.
  • Crooked Goose Cafe (formerly Hyams Beach Cafe), 76 Cyrus Street, Hyams Beach – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, Sunday, 23 May.
  • Green Patch campground, Booderee National Park, Village Bay Road, Jervis Bay – all day Sunday, 23 May, and 9:00 am, Monday, 24 May.
  • Coles Vincentia Shopping Village, 21 The Wool Road, Vincentia – 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, Sunday, 23 May.

NSW Health is continuing to investigate the movements of these cases in southern NSW, and the list of venues may be updated.

NSW Health is in the process of increasing testing capacity in the area, including a drive-through pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic in Gundagai and Goulburn.

New testing locations include:

  • Goulburn Laverty Pathology drive-through clinic – 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Gundagai Visitor Information Centre pop-up clinic – 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

NSW Health says anyone who lives in Jervis Bay, Gundagai or Goulburn, or has visited these areas since 19 May, is asked to be especially vigilant for the onset of even the mildest of cold-like symptoms, and is urged to come forward for testing immediately if they appear, then isolate until a negative result is received. Additionally, anyone who has recently had symptoms should also get tested.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest testing clinic, visit NSW COVID-19 or contact your GP.

ACT residents who visited the sites listed have been asked to contact ACT Health by calling 02 5124 6209 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. Residents must get tested and isolate until they receive further instructions.

It’s understood that the Melbourne family visited the area while potentially infectious but before displaying symptoms. They drove back to Melbourne last Monday and a male family member returned a positive test for COVID-19 on Tuesday after feeling unwell. Then on Wednesday, three household contacts of the original case also tested positive.

It’s possible that the list of exposure sites could grow as contact tracers work to establish the person’s exact route. The trip took place before Victoria was locked down on Thursday afternoon.

There are now 67 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, and four aged care facilities are in complete lockdown.

It’s the state’s fourth lockdown and on Wednesday, the Victorian Government announced restrictions would be extended for a further week from Thursday.

More than 320 exposure sites have been identified and it’s believed that the COVID-19 strain responsible for the current outbreak may be one of the highly contagious recently identified variants.

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All state/territory leaders, except ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr have now had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

To be fair, he only became eligible in the last few days and is booked in for the end of this week.

The health Minister is ‘encouraged’ by increased testing. Maybe the minister could do something constructive like open a 24 hr testing clinic so that people don’t have to wait 6 hours in their cars waiting to get tested. Covid doesn’t do business hours you clowns

Jared, while I understand your frustration, I imagine it requires some special training to administer a COVID test and until recently, we haven’t had the need to mass test. These clowns are probably already working 12 – 14 hour days, if not more, and I’m sure there are more in the wings being trained.

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