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Victorian man could have contracted virus inside hotel quarantine

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A man who tested positive to COVID-19 and visited several locations may have acquired the virus in an Adelaide hotel.

A Melbourne man who tested positive to COVID-19 and visited a Woolworths, 7-Eleven and a restaurant while potentially infectious may have acquired the virus in a South Australia hotel.

Victorian health authorities have listed a number of exposure sites after a man aged in his 30s, who had recently been released from hotel quarantine in South Australia, returned a positive test this morning.

Woolworths Epping, the Curry Vault in Melbourne's CBD and Indiagate Spices and Groceries have been listed as Tier 1 exposure sites.

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https://twitter.com/MimiRoseBecker/status/1392010243643559937

Scroll down for a full list of exposure sites.

Anyone who attended the restaurant and the supermarkets at Epping Plaza shopping centre during the specified times must get tested immediately and undertake 14 days of quarantine. 

Woolworths Epping has temporarily shut down for deep cleaning, with staff told to get tested.

Text messages have been sent out to Victorians living in the suburbs where the exposure sites have been identified. 

Coronavirus returns to Victoria

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the new case proved the coronavirus pandemic was a "long way from over". 

He urged eligible Victorians to get vaccinated immediately to protect themselves from the virus. 

"This case is an important reminder that we are still in the grip of a global pandemic," he said. 

READ MORE: Get tested for coronavirus if you have been to these places in Melbourne

"One of the most important things that you can do is to get yourself vaccinated as soon as possible. If you are eligible to get a vaccination, please do so as soon as you can."

The positive man departed India and flew to Australia via the Maldives and Singapore, before landing in Adelaide.

He took a flight home to Melbourne from Adelaide on May 4 after completing quarantine at the Playford Hotel.

The man returned to his home in Wollert, Melbourne's north, and later developed symptoms on May 8. He may have been infectious in the community since May 6.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the flight from Adelaide to Melbourne was not a concern, as the man was not believed to be infectious during this period.

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"The flight is unlikely to be something to chase up," he said.

"The fourth is not a day we expect him to be infectious. But with variance concern and the evolution of this virus all the time, we have to be alive to the possibility."

No restrictions implemented

Victoria will hold off from implementing any restrictions despite news of the COVID-19 case, Professor Sutton said.

"We are not foreshadowing anything," he said.

"People should wear masks when they can't physically distance from others, especially in indoor settings.

https://twitter.com/EdwardGodfrey9/status/1391942062837145601

"We know it is mandated on public transport, airports, rideshare vehicles, so people should absolutely follow those rules."

People have been urged to continue checking-in with QR codes when they visit venues.

Man stayed in room next door to positive case

Earlier, SA Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier confirmed the man tested negative to COVID-19 numerous times throughout his 14-day quarantine stay.

It is not believed the man was infectious while in South Australia.

"My understanding from the team is he went to the airport, got on a plane and went straight back to Victoria, which is his home," Ms Spurrier said.

Health officials are probing a "number of hypotheses" to determine how the man contracted the virus, including if he picked it up inside hotel quarantine.

Ms Spurrier said a person in the hotel room adjacent to the man, tested positive to COVID-19 and was transferred to another quarantine facility.

"It is a possibility after this transfer that there was some form of transmission of the virus," she said.

"We have been sure to check that the ventilation has been excellent in passageways and peoples' rooms. At this point in time, it is a hypothesis."

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Health authorities will be able to determine if the South Australian man's positive case and the Victorian man's infection are linked through genomic testing.

Ms Spurrier said there were no breaches inside the quarantine hotel, according to a review of CCTV footage at the time.

https://twitter.com/Brett_McLeod/status/1391957308251377669

But health officials will review the footage again following news of the positive Victorian man.

Another potential theory is the man was exposed to COVID-19 prior to arriving in South Australia and has undergone a "very, very long incubation period".

"We know it is possible in some people that they do have a long incubation period longer than 14 days," Ms Spurrier said.

South Australia will work with Victoria's health department to determine the source of the infection.

'Early encouraging sign' as close contacts test negative

The three household contacts of the man have returned negative test results, Professor Brett Sutton describing it as an "early encouraging sign".

The positive case, along with his close contacts, remain in self-isolation at home.

Professor Sutton said his close contacts may well still test positive as they have not undergone the full incubation period yet.

Victorians living in the Wollert or Epping areas have been put on high alert and urged to get tested if they develop symptoms.

A full public health response is underway in Victoria as officials scramble to contact trace and identify exposure sites.

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https://twitter.com/VicGovDH/status/1391938437779836928

Professor Brett Sutton said if the man's case was acquired in South Australia, which is likely the case, the infection will be classified as an interstate case.

Therefore, the case may not count as local transmission and may not break Victoria's streak of 74 days of zero community cases.

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"The challenge is there, regardless," he said.

Staff evacuated from Melbourne CBD office

One of the man's household contacts worked at Citadel Health on Collins Street in Melbourne's CBD, prompting staff to be sent home as a precautionary measure.

Citadel Health is a software and services company supporting the health sector.

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The nature of the risk is unknown at this stage, but the business has enacted its COVID Safe plan.

It comes as Victoria recorded one new COVID-19 case in hotel quarantine today, an international arrival.

Nearly 13,000 test results were conducted in the past 24 hours and 8155 vaccine doses were administered.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is urged to get tested immediately.

Full list of exposure sites

Woolworths Epping

Corner of Cooper Street & High Street

Epping VIC 3076

08/05/2021 5:40pm - 6:38pm

Tier 1 - Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure

Curry Vault Indian Restaurant & Bar

18-20 Bank Place

Melbourne VIC 3000

07/05/2021 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Tier 1 - Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure

Indiagate Spices and Groceries

U 14 C/560-590 High St

Epping VIC 3076

06/05/2021 5:00pm - 6pm

Tier 1 - Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure

Pact Retail Accessories (formerly TIC Group)

232 Blackshaws Road

Altona North VIC 3025

06/05/2021 12:01am - 11:59pm, 05/05/2021 12:01am - 11:59pm - attended front office

Tier 1 - Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure

Pact Retail Accessories (formerly TIC Group)

232 Blackshaws Road

Altona North VIC 3025

05/05/2021 12:01am - 11:59pm, 06/05/2021 12:01am - 11:59pm - attended rear warehouse section

Tier 2 - Get tested urgently and isolate until you have a negative result

7-Eleven Epping

705 High St & Cooper Street

Epping VIC 3076

06/05/2021 6:30pm - 7pm, 08/05/2021 11:10am - 11:40am

Tier 2 - Get tested urgently and isolate until you have a negative result

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-update-new-local-case-of-covid19-man-tests-positive-after-sa-hotel-quarantine/9ee9370e-2241-4dc9-b48c-6de46807033c

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