Media Release
18 February 2021

Victoria has recorded one new case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The one new case is a returned traveller, a woman in her 30s who is an aircrew worker.

There have been no locally acquired cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the second consecutive day with no locally acquired cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now linked to the Holiday Inn remains at 19.

There are 25 active cases in Victoria, made up of 17 locally acquired cases and eight overseas acquired cases. There are eight cases in hotel quarantine.

The total number of confirmed cases in Victoria since the beginning of the pandemic is 20,476.

Update: Holiday Inn Cases

There are no new cases of COVID-19 linked to the Holiday Inn.

In relation to the Holiday Inn cases, we have identified 59 primary close contacts linked to households and social groups and 1341 primary close contacts linked to exposure sites.

There are also more than 2000 other primary close contacts linked to the Holiday Inn as workers or former guests, or the Airport.

In relation to the Melbourne Airport Terminal 4 exposure site, following comprehensive testing of primary close contacts and further investigation of the movements of the positive case, we will be refining the group who are considered highest risk.

The public health team will be calling current primary close contacts from the airport over the coming days to assess their individual risk and understand where they went in the terminal. These individuals will be contacted by us directly – please do not self-assess your own situation.

The number of identified close contacts, particularly those linked to exposure sites, will continue to change as exposure sites and cohorts are cleared and others are identified.

Case under investigation

The indeterminate, weak positive result announced yesterday is still under investigation.

Another test will be taken today before a final determination on their status – which we believe to be persistent shedding.

All the precautionary measures are already in place should the expert review panel determine otherwise.

Update: Exposure sites

There are now more than 40 public and private exposure sites in Victoria.

On Monday, the Department reported a new case linked to the Holiday Inn cases who also worked in a psychiatric unit at Alfred Health and on two mental health wards in the northern suburbs.

As of last night, all 130 primary close contacts identified through those sites have tested negative.

The Department has identified nearly 100 primary close contacts at two early learning settings in Glenroy that were visited by a child with the virus.

We identified 85 primary close contacts at Goodstart Early Learning Centre. So far, 84 have tested negative, with one result still outstanding. All primary close contacts at Glenroy Central Kindergarten have tested negative.

Meanwhile, all results from primary close contacts at Elite Swimming in Pascoe Vale have come back negative.

The Department is continuing to work through testing primary close contacts linked to the Queen Victoria Market exposure site

A large group of children and some staff from St Aloysius Primary School in Ballarat were primary close contacts at that site – 64 out of 72 tests have come back negative with further results expected today.

Anyone who has visited Tier 1 exposure sites must immediately isolate, get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test, and remain isolated for 14 days.

People linked to Tier 2 sites are strongly encouraged to isolate, get a test and stay isolated until they receive a negative result.

All current exposure sites can be seen at Case locations and outbreaks. This website is rapidly updated as any new sites are identified.

Viral fragments detected in expanded wastewater monitoring program

Victorians with even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms are being urged to get tested following the detection of viral fragments in Victoria’s expanded wastewater monitoring program.

Weak detections of viral fragments have been found in a wastewater sample collected on 15 February from the Wantirna South and Boronia area, and in samples collected on 16 February in the Carrum Downs and Langwarrin area, and in the St Kilda, Caulfield and Caulfield North area.

Anyone who has any symptoms of COVID-19 is urged to get tested, especially if you live in or have visited one of these areas during these periods:

  • Wantirna South or Boronia from 13 to 15 February (includes parts of Bayswater, Ferntree Gully, Knoxfield and Tremont)
  • Carrum Downs or Langwarrin from 13 to 16 February (includes parts of Skye)
  • St Kilda East or Caufield North from 13 to 16 February (includes parts of Balaclava, Caulfield and Elsternwick)

In the past week, 37 sites have been added to the wastewater monitoring program with samples taken at least weekly from 132 wastewater monitoring locations across Victoria for early-warning of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Wastewater monitoring is now undertaken at 71 wastewater treatment plants across the state and 61 sites within Melbourne metropolitan sewage networks.

Fragments of the virus detected in wastewater may be due to a person with COVID-19 being in the early active infectious phase or it could be because someone is continuing to shed the virus after the early infectious period.

Wastewater sampling in Victoria has provided early warning of COVID-19 before there were confirmed cases including in Lakes Entrance and more recently in the Roxburgh Park area. 

We have recently boosted our testing capacity and added 36 catchments in the metropolitan network and the wastewater treatment plant at Omeo to our expanding list of surveillance sites.

Further information about the wastewater testing program can be found at Wastewater monitoring.

Update: Expanded testing capacity

30,261 test results were received over the last 24 hours.

We are very grateful to all of those Victorians who have already been tested. As we work to close out cases linked to the Holiday Inn, the most important thing to do is to get tested.

We still have significant surge resources in place, meaning no wait time exceeded 60 minutes yesterday.

Three rapid response teams are still operational in Sunbury, Point Cook and Coburg North – adding additional capacity through the system. And we also conducted 40 in home tests in special circumstances.

Extended operations will continue through the day today at 11 testing sites.

Yesterday, we have also set up a new drive-through testing site at the Grand Prix circuit, 12 Aughtie Drive, Albert Park, which will open from 7-days from 8am to 5pm. 156 people were tested at this site yesterday.

With high temperatures forecast over coming days, some testing sites may have to close or alter their hours of operation.

We have also advised the public to make sure they have plenty of water, fuel and other necessary items in case they experience a lengthy wait.

We thank them for their patience while our staff do their utmost to keep them and the community safe

The department is publishing expected wait times at testing sites as well as updated information about locations and hours of operation at Where to get tested.

Update: Circuit-breaker actions lifted

Restrictions under Victoria’s circuit-breaker actions have ended. From 11:59pm 17 February 2021 Victoria returned to COVIDSafe Summer restrictions – with some revised conditions.

There are no longer only four reasons to leave home and the five-kilometre restriction no longer applies. Schools, restaurants and retails can reopen and both public and private office workers can return up to 50 per cent on site.

The circuit breaker has worked, but there is still more work to do with around 3400 primary close contacts still isolating.

There are a number of revised conditions that will continue for another nine days until Friday 26 February, subject to public health advice.

These include:

  • Limiting visitors to your home to five people per day
  • Limiting public gatherings with friends and family to 20 people
  • Limiting visitors to hospitals and aged care facilities to one household per day with some specific exceptions

Face masks must continue be worn indoors, except in residential homes. Face masks are also required outdoors whenever you cannot physically distance.

For more information about all the circuit-breaker actions, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria.

General advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste. If you are experiencing any symptoms, wear a fitted face mask when you get tested.

Travel permit applications can be made through the Service Victoria portal.

For more information call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398 or visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria

Latest statewide numbers (data reported to 11:59 pm yesterday):

Cases acquired locally Cases acquired interstate Cases acquired overseas Active cases Lives lost Tests processed yesterday Total tests since pandemic began 
0 0 1 25 0 30,261 4,812,749

 

Number of permits issued 

(Jan 11 - 8am today)

Number of permit applications processed in the past 24 hours Average # of permits issued per minute in the past 24 hours 
726,754 13,382 9.3