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Victoria better placed for success this time, epidemiologists say


#Deakin #University’s chair in epidemiology #Catherine #Bennett said it was excellent news that all of those eight cases could be traced back to one source.

“The other good sign is how quickly our public health response team established the link to the restaurant,” she said.

The risk now was that there had been some other people who had been exposed to the virus at that oubreak point or since, “and we haven’t figured out all of the exposure sites”.

#Professor #Bennett said the tracing that was being done now was “completely different” to six months ago.

“To have the level of information that they have gathered within such a short time is extraordinary,” she said. “They are already going out to the contacts of contacts, which is exactly what we want to see.”

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#She said the health department’s public health unit had been “ready and waiting for this”.

#Smile #Buffalo #Thai #Cuisine restaurant on #Beach #Rd #Black #Rock, which hosted a COVID-infected diner.#Credit:#Penny #Stephens

#Professor #Bennett also said it was important that both the #Thai restaurant and a church where contacts of the initial infected person had attended had kept good records of who had visited. “It means the health department can actively chase these contacts,” she said.

#Professor #Bennett also endorsed the #Victorian government’s swift action to close the border to NSW. “The public health response is looking exactly how you would want to have it look at this stage, and the extra restrictions are about us helping this effort by keeping [the outbreak] as small as possible while they get on top of it.”

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#Professor #McCaw said it was good all of the cases appeared to be linked to the #Thai restaurant because it was “a single event that’s much easier to get on top of than if there were separate chains of transmission”.

#But he warned the next three to four days would be critical.

“We will find out if there are more cases from that restaurant and that puts us on high alert for a minimum of two weeks,” he said. “People need to be incredibly vigilant.”

The team #Professor #McCaw leads at #Melbourne #University has been analysing the NSW spread of cases. The state has had 136 new cases in the past week.

#He said that while people in #Sydney were still mixing enough for coronavirus to have spread, the “excellent public health response that is in place” was tamping it down and giving the opportunity to stop it spiralling out of control.

#This was very different to in #Victoria in #June and #July, when the virus spread widely in the community. #It only started slowing when a strong lockdown was instituted.

The NSW outbreak was “very different to how #Victoria was,” #Professor #McCaw said.

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[ source link ]
https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/victoria-s-health-teams-are-better-placed-for-success-this-time-around-say-epidemiologists-20201231-p56r3v.html

##Victoria #success #time #epidemiologists

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