Victoria reported 14 more coronavirus cases on Thursday, 13 of them linked to a growing cluster in a Melbourne meat works – Cedar Meats – taking the total number to 62.
Addressing the media this morning, Premier Daniel Andrews said seven of the new abattoir cases were in employees, the remainder were close contacts of workers.
A nurse at Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne’s west who was exposed to a Cedar Meats employee, who later tested positive to the virus on April 26, has also tested positive.
As a result now more than 24 people are now in quarantine.
The first positive case in relation to Cedar Meats was an employee testing positive on April 2.
Responding to the critics for not closing the meat factory sooner, Premier Andrews revealed that the worker had told health officials that he hadn’t been at work while infectious.
Thus, the meat works was not considered an exposure site.
Regretting the outbreak, the Cedar Meats general manager has released a video statement:
According to a report in the nurse at the Sunshine Hospital, in her 60s treated the worker over three shifts and was not required to wear protective equipment until the third.
Yesterday, Western Health stated :
“No other staff members have tested positive at this time as a result of that exposure,”
A close contact of a Cedar Meats worker working at Doutta Galla Aged Care in Footscray was another COVID-19 positive yesterday.
Answering questions from the media this morning, Premier Daniel Andrews said, “This is such an infectious disease, it travels so rapidly.”
“I am very proud of the public health team in the response that they have provided to every positive case – and this outbreak was singled out by Brendan Murphy, the chief medical officer of the Commonwealth, at National Cabinet as a model example of how to deal with an outbreak.”
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has criticised Victoria for not notifying his department until April 30, despite permanent meat inspectors and those that move between abattoirs being on site in March and April.
Speaking on Melbourne radio 3AW this morning, he said: “In these fluid times, we need to all be mature enough to say we can always do things better.”
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said it was not clear exactly how the outbreak emerged but expected more cases to emerge in the next fortnight.
Although many Victorians are hoping to see some relaxing measures after May 11, Prof Sutton said the outbreak proved the fight against the virus was far from over.
Victoria’s opposition has slammed the state government calling the “Cedar Meats” outbreak as Victoria’s “own Ruby Princess”.
Meanwhile on a global level, the US, as of this morning, recorded 1,228,177 infections with 73,207 deaths while Australia has only had 6894 infections with 97 deaths.
For those interested in COVID-19 situation in India, as of this morning, India’s success of lockdown was best seen as illusive with India crossing 50, 000 cases of infections (52, 987) and 1785 deaths despite the strict measures and curfews imposed in many parts of the country since March 25. India’s numbers as of March 30 were 1074 infections with only 25 deaths.