Media release
4 January 2021

Victoria has recorded four new cases of coronavirus since yesterday.

The new cases include three previously identified close contacts linked to the Black Rock Restaurant outbreak. These cases were in isolation at the time of contracting COVID-19.  The fourth case is in a returned international traveller in hotel quarantine.

This brings the number of active cases in Victoria to 36 including 24 locally acquired cases, an increase of three since yesterday and 12 in hotel quarantine, an increase of one in the past 24 hours.

The closure of the border with NSW has seen more than 60,000 Victorians return across the border and require a COVID-19 test.

Yesterday 32,468 tests were processed bringing the overall testing total in Victoria since the pandemic began to 3,962,283.

In response to this extra demand for testing, we have more than doubled our testing capacity in the past few days. 

There have been significant delays at testing sites due to this overwhelming increase in demand. We thank Victorians for their patience and their recognition of the importance of getting tested.  Only through this mass testing effort can we quickly identify new cases and engage public health actions to contain this new outbreak.

There are now more than 200 testing centres in operation including new testing sites in areas where large numbers of close contacts and exposure sites have been identified. We are also utilising the Rapid Response Testing model to run pop up sites and boosting the testing capacity at the Showgrounds. Yesterday more than 1000 tests were processed at the Showgrounds walk-in and drive-through sites.

Wait times at our testing sites are reducing and we expect the sites to accommodate the increased demand over the course of today and beyond.

Our pathology teams are processing more than three times the normal volume of tests and producing 86 per cent of results within 24 hours with 99.9 per cent receiving results within 48 hours.

The Department is publishing expected wait times at testing sites on its website. These wait times will fluctuate throughout the day according to demand and some sites may have to temporarily stop accepting new people to manage queues.

The website also includes updated information about locations and hours of operation for testing sites at the Where to get tested page.

The department is working through 2295 exemption applications for travel to Victoria for compassionate or medical reasons. Of these 175 exemptions were assessed yesterday.  In all cases, those applying have provided evidence of negative COVID-19 tests.  More staff are being deployed to speed up this process.

The department’s Case Contact and Outbreak Management team are centrally running all the contract tracing with support from the local public health units, in particular, the South Eastern team. This includes medical support, contact tracing support and contact tracing for any other exposure sites that have been identified.

As of the 3 January 2020 reporting date, we have 24 cases connected to the Black Rock Outbreak in isolation and 1,106 primary and secondary contacts being asked to isolate.

There are now exposure sites in Abbotsford, Albert Park, Bairnsdale, Bentleigh, Black Rock, Box Hill South, Brighton, Burwood East, Camberwell, Cape Schank, Caufield, Cheltenham, Clayton, Collingwood, Docklands, Doveton, Emerald, Forrest Hill, Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, Frankston, Hallam, Hampton, Glen Waverley, Lakes Entrance, Leongatha, McKinnon, Mentone, Mordialloc, Melbourne CBD, Moorabbin, Mount Martha, Mount Waverley, Oakleigh, Southbank, Springvale and Wonthaggi and we expect this list of exposure site to increase over coming days as contact tracing continues.

The Cross-Border Commissioner has completed his review of the border bubble arrangements between Victoria and New South Wales, and determined that the current arrangements are appropriate - with the addition of a permit system to ensure agriculture workers can continue to cross the border to complete their critical work.

People who live in a border community must carry a valid form of ID with a current address when travelling.

Residents from the border bubble who have been beyond the NSW border region in the past 14 days will not be able to cross the border from NSW into Victoria - but provided they meet this criteria, both NSW and Victorian border residents are able to travel as they would for their normal day to day activities like work, shopping and eating out.

The Chief Health Officer will monitor the bubble and make changes if necessary. As contact tracing interviews continue, details of exposure sites may change. A list of each exposure site including dates and times can be found at the Case locations and outbreaks page.

Information regarding COVID-19 is available at the Department of Health and Human Services website or by calling 1800 675 398.