Victoria COVID LIVE updates: Exposure sites grow as health authorities await test results at aged care home

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Bus lines, Chadstone stores and aged care home added to growing list of exposure sites

The Victorian health department’s list of exposure sites has swelled to 271 as bus lines, display homes and Chadstone stores were added over the weekend.

Authorities added bus lines 406, 412 and 525, the Campbellfield office for home builder Metricon, Chadstone stores Zimmermann and Breadtop, as well as several department stores and supermarkets.

There were dozens of new exposure sites in the suburb at the heart of the outbreak, Epping, and aged care facility Arcare Maidstone has now been added after a worker tested positive to the virus.

The Brighton Beach Hotel has also been added to the list after being visited by a positive case on May 23 between 3.09pm and 4.52pm, along with Elwood’s Turtle Cafe between 7.42am and 8.20am on May 24.

In total, authorities added almost 100 new venues and times to the list on Sunday, as five new cases were detected in the community.

Thomastown soft drink manufacturer Slades Beverages is also listed on the exposure sites list six times after a positive case worked there six times over two weeks.

You can view the full list here.

‘Take responsibility’: Feds rebuff Victorian plea for lockdown assistance

And then there is the politics. With JobKeeper finished, the Victorian and federal governments are now locked in a stoush over supporting businesses and workers during this latest lockdown. Reporters David Crowe, Sumeyya Ilanbey and Nick Bonyhady have the latest.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas vented his frustration at the Morrison government for its lack of support.Credit:Getty

The federal government will rebuff pleas from state governments for financial aid to cover the cost of short lockdowns amid a ferocious row with the Victorian government over how much financial assistance should be given to workers and businesses affected by the seven-day shutdown.

The stance leaves no room for negotiation over the Victorian government’s repeated requests for help after Acting Premier James Merlino on Sunday described the Morrison government as “disgraceful” for deciding against providing additional financial support when it was responsible for programs such as wage subsidies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg countered that other states had not asked for federal payments during recent restrictions, making it clear that a seven-day lockdown did not warrant a revival of the JobKeeper scheme which ended in March. The split has underlined serious tensions between the Victorian and federal governments and will fuel the ongoing debate about which parts of the federation should be responsible for the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Victorian Treasury costings forecast a seven-day lockdown will cost businesses $700 million while some business estimates put the cost higher at $1 billion.

Mr Frydenberg told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that Victoria and other states continued to receive help from federal budget spending but special payments had not been required when Queensland and Western Australia imposed brief lockdowns.

“This is not the first lockdown post-JobKeeper and extra support from the federal government was not required in those cases,” Mr Frydenberg said. “We continue to provide substantial support to the Victorian community but this is a short lockdown, not an extended lockdown, and the measures that we put in place in the budget will continue to support the Victorian economy during this challenging COVID period.”

Read more here.

Aged care residents set for jab after staffer’s ‘mystery’ case

While the growing number of coronavirus cases and exposure sites over the last week has plunged Victoria into another lockdown, health authorities have always been keen to point out that the cases were linked. But a mystery case that emerged yesterday – a woman who works at an aged care home in Maidstone – is a particular concern.

Here’s the latest from reporters Carolyn Webb, Simone Fox Koob and Nick Bonyhady:

Almost a third of residents at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility have not consented to being vaccinated.Credit:Scott McNaughton

Residents and staff at a Melbourne aged care facility will be encouraged to accept a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday after a staff member at the centre tested positive to COVID-19.

The infection of the staff member of the Arcare home in Maidstone came even though the woman had been given her first vaccine shot on May 12. Most of the residents were given their first dose at the same time, but some refused to be inoculated.

Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said the Arcare case was one of “extreme concern” as it was not yet known how the staff member caught the virus. “We don’t have an acquisition source,” he said on Sunday.

Aged care facilities were, Mr Weimar said, “the most vulnerable and sensitive setting that we have”. COVID infections in nursing homes carry particular fear in Victoria, where 655 people died in aged care in last year’s second wave.

The Arcare infection is the first mystery case of Victoria’s latest outbreak, which has plunged the state into a seven-day snap lockdown.

Arcare Maidstone resident Ann Lim, 86, and her granddaughter, Ai-Lin Chang

The granddaughter of an 86-year-old resident of the home said the federal government could have done more to encourage residents to get vaccinated and told them of the risks of not doing so.

“We were very much left up to our own devices in terms of making those decisions,” said Ai-Lin Chang.

Ms Chang said she was “underwhelmed” by how late in the national rollout her grandmother, Ann Lim, was vaccinated. Ms Lim got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 12.

Read more here.

Good morning

Good morning, and welcome to our free live coverage of the latest COVID crisis in Victoria.

It’s been dubbed Lockdown 4.0, and while my heart sinks even typing that, there is a silver lining: we know what to do by now. Stay rugged up at home if you can on this chilly last day of autumn, keep in touch with your loved ones in a COVID-safe way, and wear your mask if you venture outside.

The Victorian government has a comprehensive list of the latest restrictions on their website.

I’m Hanna Mills Turbet and I’ll be with you until mid afternoon. Get in touch with a tip via email at [email protected] or leave a comment right here.

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