Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Pediatrician Fiona Russell of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute said the Ministry of Health now outsourced the management of school outbreaks to schools, but they did not have sufficient resources to take on the task.

She said infections were sometimes not detected on day 1 testing, making rapid antigen testing essential in days after an initial exposure.

“That’s the problem now, you do not know who is positive and so no one stays home, so there is an ongoing infection,” Professor Russell said.

There were 475 public school closures due to COVID-19 cases during the first seven weeks of semester 4, through Nov. 19, government figures show.

With only two weeks left of the school year, the president of the Victorian Principals Association, Andrew Dalgleish, said some principals were exhausted and needed families to be patient, noting that a school with two COVID-19 cases was required to contact about 120 families.

In addition to the known clusters, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health said that “a significant part of the transfer takes place in the community – at home, between family and friends – especially where there is no requirement for vaccination for visitors.”

Umber Rind, a general practitioner working at Campbellfield in north Melbourne, said her COVID-positive patients fell into two categories.

The first, smaller group included adults who tested positive before receiving their second late vaccine dose and who were very unwell. The other, larger group were children who got the virus from school and did not get so sick.

She hopes that a recent decision to provisionally approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11, combined with schools closing for the summer holidays, will result in a decrease or stabilization in the number of infections.

Hume, a local government area in the northern part of Melbourne, remains at the epicenter of the Melbourne Delta eruption. The zone, which includes the suburbs of Broadmeadows, Tullamarine and Craigieburn, has 865 active cases – the highest of all Victorian municipalities.

Credit:Matt Golding

Evie Cookson, 7, was one of a handful of children in her Coburg North Primary School class who captured COVID-19 late last month. She said she did not like getting the virus, despite the fact that she remained asymptomatic throughout her infection.

“You must not go to the park … we had to sit at home and do nothing.”

Coronavirus was harder for the vaccinated adults in the household. Evie’s mother, Megan Gemmill, was the last to fall ill.

A few days after her release from home quarantine, her sense of taste and smell has not yet returned, but Mrs Gemmill said she was glad her family had COVID-19 and could move on with less fear of catching and spreading it over Christmas.

James Trauer, head of epidemiological modeling at Monash University’s School of Public Health, said Melbourne faced persistently high case numbers because it was a “dense, populous, high-income environment” with cold winters, making it vulnerable to the virus.

Victoria’s case numbers may still rise rapidly, Professor Trauer warned, noting that it was unlikely that cases would continue to plateau with 1,000 new infections a day.


“Usually something has to tilt it in both directions. We could see things change pretty quickly.”

For a period, the postcode, home to the small town of Nhill, close to the South Australian border, was among the highest number of COVID-19 infections per capita. per capita, where one in 39 people has the virus.

The outbreak provides an insight into how COVID-19 is now spreading in heavily vaccinated communities. Most cases were in unvaccinated elementary school children attending Nhill College, but the virus also spread at social events and was discovered at the city’s largest employer, the Luv-a-Duck processing plant.

Dr. Bloch said it was no longer the case that an entire child’s family would be infected if they took COVID home, as had happened in the early Delta outbreaks when authorities reported a 100 percent household infestation rate.

“What we are now seeing is that those who have not been vaccinated – the children who have not had the chance yet – have tended to be infected, but in the same households the parents are not usually infected because they are fully vaccinated. “

Data analyst Anthony Macali, founder of Covid Live, said there was a limit to the insight that Victorian government government data could provide on how the virus spread, as about 11,500 of the more than 13,000 active cases had not been linked. to clusters.

Nevertheless, he said there were some notable trends, including a declining number of admissions, with the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals falling from 779 to 297 since 21 October.

“It’s been stable for the last two or three weeks … it’s the most important metric because it’s the reason to open up.”

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