Four new cases each for Mildura and Dareton as school children and hospital staff go into isolation

This live blog is now over. Please check back in the morning to get the latest coronavirus updates for Sunraysia. In the meantime, you can find an updated list of venues in Victoria here. A list of NSW locations can be found here, or a map is available here.

Cases confirmed in Dareton

14.55: There are four COVID-19 cases in Dareton, Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The cases in Dareton are a complement to the nine cases currently active in Mildura.

Two of the cases are from the same household in Dareton, while the other two are from another household in the same town.

They were identified by tests that took place on Wednesday and the cases will be included in Friday’s NSW case numbers.

All four cases isolate themselves at home, and close contacts that have been identified are also isolated and under test.

A total of 11 close contacts and two household contacts have been identified so far.

Dareton residents are urged to limit their movements in the community, and according to a spokesman for FWLHD, “widespread COVID-19 testing is critical.”

Anyone with even mild cold-like symptoms is asked to show up for testing immediately.

Those who are symptomatic or living with someone who has symptoms or is casual contacts to a person with COVID-19 should test and isolate until negative test results are received. Close contacts must be insulated for 14 days regardless of their test results.


COVID-19 test sites in Sunraysia

Victoria:

  • Aerodrome Ovals: 13.30 to 18.00 on Thursday, from 8.30 to 17.30 on Friday and Saturday and from 8.30 to 13.30 on Sunday.
  • Barratt & Smith Pathology: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
  • Water Tower, Tenth Street: only from 9 today (indigenous people only)

Tests are for people who are symptomatic, have been contacted by the Victorian government to be tested or have been at a site of exposure when released.

NSW:

  • George Gordon Oval, Dareton: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
  • Alcheringa Oval, Gol Gol: 10 to 14.30 daily
  • Wentworth Show Grounds: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Today’s COVID wrap: the basics

Four new COVID-19 cases were reported in Mildura on Thursday, taking LGA’s total to nine active cases. All four cases are from the same household. Four cases were also registered on Wednesday.

No exposure sites had yet been listed in the Mildura or Wentworth LGAs.

Victoria registered 1638 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths Thursday. Victoria’s press conference started at 11.15.


MDAS creates native test clinics

12.30pm: Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) has set up a COVID-19 test site under the water tower on the corner of Tenth Street and Orange Avenue for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community.

The Koori-only test site will run only today and was created in response to the “rapidly rising” COVID-19 number of cases in Sunraysia’s Aboriginal community.

In addition, residents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander no longer need to book an appointment to be vaccinated at MDAS ‘Orange Avenue Clinic – they can go in and get their jab within minutes.

MDAS CEO Jacki Turfrey urged indigenous peoples to be tested and vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We care about our community and care about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” she said.

Get tested today and order a vaccine.

“If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, insulate to protect your loved ones and families.

“If you have nowhere to isolate yourself, please contact us and call MDAS at 5018 4100.

“This virus is not something that people spread on purpose; it’s something that happens, and sometimes people are not aware that they are spreading it to others. Let’s show support and kindness rather than discriminate and push our mob gone.”


Officers can be caught in COVID crossfire

11.50: MILDURA police superintendent Rebecca Olsen said a number of police members were expected to be affected by the recent COVID exposure sites.

However, she said it was something they had been dealing with since the start of the pandemic.

“There are expected consequences for our staff and workplaces, but this has been the case for the previous 18 months and we are well versed in the practice of keeping our members as safe as possible in the dynamic environment in which they work on a daily basis,” Supt Said Olsen.

In terms of ensuring that society was kept safe and those from restricted areas prevented from entering the region, she said traveling between states was still allowed, which seemed legitimate.

“As NSW continues to open, we will see increased travel,” Supt Olsen said.

“VicPol has additional resources deployed to Mallee with a focus on the south and detects travelers from Melbourne, but also identifies those traveling across states for no legitimate reason and without the proper permits.”

Sarah Harman


Mildura courts reopen after COVID scare

11.30am: MILDURA Law Courts reopened on Thursday after being closed the previous day due to a COVID positive person attending the building on Tuesday morning.

Court hearings were held online Wednesday by a magistrate based in Bendigo.

“Affected staff and court users have been tested and follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health,” said a spokesman for Court Services Victoria. “There have been no more positive results.

“The law courts were subject to deep cleaning overnight (Wednesday) and are considered safe to attend.”

Many employees returned to court Thursday after returning negative test results.

The county court, which sat in Mildura, has adjourned all court hearings to the circuit, which was to end on October 15.

However, the district court hearings will resume on October 18 at the beginning of the next scheduled circuit.

Sarah Harman


The Coomealla High School community is in isolation

11.15: Coomealla High School members have tested positive for COVID-19.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, palliative care principal Duncan Driscoll announced on the school’s Facebook page that all students should be gathered immediately.

All staff and students have been advised to go into isolation until further advice can be given.

A spokesman for NSW Education said in a statement shortly before noon. 11.30 that the school closed “immediately” with supervision until all students could be collected.

“All staff and students are asked to isolate themselves and follow NSW’s health advice and protocols,” they said.

“The NSW Department of Education will continue to work closely with NSW Health to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff is maintained.”

According to Murray member Helen Dalton, two students from the school had tested positive.

Caitlyn Morgan and Lucy Bain


Test sites ready for use

10.30am: Mildura Rural City Council said that in response to this week’s positive COVID-19 case in the Sunraysia region, additional testing resources were introduced to ensure that people to be tested could do so.

A test site at Old Aerodrome Ovals was established Thursday morning when a team from Bendigo Health traveled to the region to help with testing.

A separate site was established by the Mallee District Aboriginal Services for native COVID testing following concerns that there was a “rapidly increasing” number of COVID-19 cases in Mildura’s native community.

The test clinic for the Aerodrome Ovals on Eleventh Street will be open from 1.30pm to 6pm on Thursday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and from 8.30am to 1.30pm on Sunday.

Barratt & Smith Pathology, in Mildura, runs a walk-in clinic on the corner of Tenth Street and Langtree Avenue, (enter from Shillidays Lane off Tenth Street) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Tests are for people who are symptomatic, have been contacted by the Victorian government to be tested or have been at a site of exposure when released.

Allan Murphy


Hospital staff isolate after possible contact, as COVID department has been set up

10:00:60 Mildura Base Public Hospital staff are isolated and its pediatric ward has been converted to a COVID-19 facility as Sunraysia’s health authorities deal with the latest outbreak.

A discharged patient who did not test positive before leaving the hospital was the trigger for the action plan, and the affected staff were contacted late Wednesday and told to isolate.

Most of these employees work in clinical areas, putting pressure on the hospital’s broader operations and getting an appeal to the public not to visit the emergency room unless absolutely necessary.

Hospital Director Terry Welch said the organization operated under a well-prepared outbreak plan, which included using the pediatric ward as a “scovid” (suspected COVID) ward.

This area was used because the air circulation could be controlled and pediatric patients had been moved to other parts of the hospital.

Welch said, however, that while the hospital was well prepared to handle the situation, the loss of so many vital workers from a staff of 1,100 would put “real pressure” on the operations and mean the postponement of some treatments and surgeries.

He stressed that although the emergency room could continue to handle serious incidents, the public could support the hospital by avoiding using it unless necessary.

“We need people to be realistic about the emergency department and maybe see a doctor instead,” he said.

As part of a Victorian COVID-19 management plan, the hospital is ready to transfer COVID patients to Bendigo if necessary.

Bernard Humphreys


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