Coronavirus second wave sweeps into schools

COVID-19 testing.

Benjamin Millar

Schools in Maribyrnong, Footscray and Altona are among a number across Melbourne to have been hit by an upswing in coronavirus cases sweeping the state, while a Yarraville childcare centre has also been forced to close.

Victoria recorded 75 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with the virus sweeping into schools including Footscray High School’s Kinnear campus, Maribyrnong College and Queen of Peace Parish Primary in Altona.

A child attending Gowrie Clare Court childcare and kindergarten in Yarraville has also tested positive for COVID-19. The child was last in the service on Friday, June 26. Clare Court closed at the end of Monday and will be closed until at least Wednesday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Victoria has now passed 2100, with 20 deaths to date.

Maribyrnong has had 31 confirmed cases, including nine active cases. Hobsons Bay has had 22 confirmed cases, with two still active.

Of the 75 new cases announced on Monday, a single day record of 74 were acquired locally.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned Victorians to brace for yet more bad news over coming days, hinting that local lockdowns may still be on the cards.

“I think it will get worse before it gets better,” he said.

“So there is a balancing act in terms of making the call on a lockdown.”

Parents of Queen of Peace Parish Primary School in Altona Meadows posted on social media communication they had received relating to a student who tested positive for COVID-19.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has confirmed that a year 6 Queen of Peace student who last attended school on the 18th of June has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19),” it said.

“Following advice from DHSS and Catholic Education Melbourne (ECM), Queen of Peace Parish Primary School is currently closed.

“This closure will allow time for the school and DHHS to undertake a full risk assessment and appropriate cleaning of the school site to occur on the recommendation of DHHS.

“Close contacts of the students will be notified by DHHS and supported to ensure they understand what actions to take.

“Students are advised to remain at home while contact tracing occurs. They must limit movements to home-based activities and not attend public places.”

Meanwhile thousands of Maidstone residents have been COVID-19 tested in a blitz on the suburb after it was identified as one of Melbourne’s 10 coronavirus hotspots.

A surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases last week involved a number of Maribyrnong cases, including a family of five and three staff at a Maidstone dental clinic.

Two staff members from Hampstead Dental in Maidstone were confirmed to have contracted the virus, joining a previous case notified to the health department on Saturday.

No patients have been identified as close contacts so far.

Five members of one family household in the City of Maribyrnong had also tested positive.

A further case in a healthcare worker linked to the Orygen Youth Health facility in Footscray was confirmed on Friday.

Health department officials believe the worker completed shifts while infectious. Close contacts, including patients and other staff members, were tested and placed into quarantine.

“The department is working with Melbourne Health to ensure other appropriate public health actions are being taken at the site,” it said in a statement.

-with Goya Dmytryshchak