Saturday, September 4, 2021
Latrobe City in Victoria, Australia recorded its first COVID-19 case in over seven months, after it was announced a person in Traralgon had tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday.
The case has been linked to Melbourne's current outbreak. The Victorian government's COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed "this individual travelled to a funeral in Melbourne", and no other people within the person's household are at risk.
The case - which is Latrobe City's first active case since January 12 - is one of 92 community transmission cases recorded on Sunday in Victoria. There are currently two COVID-19 testing sites in Latrobe City - one at The Healthcare Centre at 185-189 Princes Drive in Morwell, the other at Australian Clinical Labs at 10-12 Grey Street in Traralgon.
A drive-through testing site began operating at 12PM on Sunday, which is located at Dorevitch Pathology in Latrobe Regional Hospital. A pop-up testing site has also been established at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium. Both sites are located in Traralgon.
Concerning COVID-19 testing, Latrobe City mayor Sharon Gibson told Wikinews via email "I would like to see support from the Government for further Testing Stations to be opened across our City and additional Vaccination doses made available, so that anybody wanting to be vaccinated is able to do so as quickly as possible. We are willing to work with the relevant Agencies to ensure this can be rolled out ASAP."
Independent state MP for Morwell Russell Northe called for more government support in testing Latrobe City residents. Through email, Northe told Wikinews "I have called upon the State Government to increase the number of testing options for our community given the current demand. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of testers many locals have been turned away from being tested [on Sunday] which understandably has left quite a few residents feeling upset and anxious."
On Sunday, two COVID-19 exposure sites were recorded in Traralgon, both located at the Traralgon Centre Plaza. One was the Coles supermarket, exposed on August 22 between 11:45AM and 12:05PM, and the other is the food court, exposed on August 27 between 11:10AM and 11:15AM.
Two more exposure incidents were added yesterday - an additional exposure at the above food court between 12:25PM and 2:45PM on August 22, and an exposure at the Traralgon Woolworths on Seymour Street on August 23 between 5:20PM and 5:45PM. Anyone who visited these sites has been urgently advised to receive a COVID-19 test and self-isolate until they receive their results.
In regards to the earlier announcement of exposure sites, Sharon Gibson called upon people who had visited them or had symptoms to get tested. She said "I would urge people to be tested if they were anywhere near the Exposure Sites and if they have any symptoms at all, please go and get tested. Now it is especially important to follow the public health advice." Gibson added "I would hope the person who has tested positive recovers quickly. As this is the last thing they need, considering they were at a funeral and would be grieving."
National Party federal MP for Gippsland Darren Chester spoke to Wikinews via email, stating "with [Sunday]'s news of a positive case in Traralgon, it’s important to follow the public health advice, particularly around checking in, physical distancing and hand hygiene. The advice is clear, if you have symptoms, please get tested. Thanks to our frontline staff who are working hard to keep our community safe. I encourage everyone who is eligible for vaccination to make a booking and get the jab, to protect you, your family, and the wider community."
Russell Northe expressed his hope the circumstances would be handled well in regards to the exposure sites. He wrote "there are a number of local exposure sites which have been announced and hopefully health authorities and contact tracers are able to get on top of the situation prior to it becoming a major issue like we have seen in other communities such as Shepparton." The City of Greater Shepparton recorded nine COVID-19 cases on Sunday, adding to a total of 92 active cases in the area.
Northe also stated "many community members were shocked to learn on Sunday of an active COVID case in the region. The Latrobe Valley has been without COVID for many months and people are drained and tired by the continuation of lockdowns particularly given the absence of COVID in our community. Obviously the news [on Sunday] is very concerning but I thank local residents who have responded by going to get tested at the earliest possible opportunity."
== Sources ==
"Traralgon wakes to four COVID exposure windows as locals rush to get tested" — ABC News (Australia), August 30, 2021
Emma Field and Erin Somerville. "New COVID case in Traralgon raises concerns" — ABC News (Australia), August 29, 2021
Gregor Mactaggart. "Positive COVID case in Traralgon as Premier announces lockdown will be extended" — Latrobe Valley Express, August 29, 2021
"Victorian active cases by local government area (CSV)" — Victorian State Government, August 29, 2021 (date of access)
"Latrobe City COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination" — Latrobe City Council, August 29, 2021 (date of access)