Victoria has recorded three new locally acquired cases of coronavirus all linked to the cluster in Black Rock, Melbourne, which now stands at 21.
Thirteen of those cluster cases dined at the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21, which was visited by a patron who had been in New South Wales.
Residents had turned out for testing in increasing numbers on Saturday, overwhelming clinics around Melbourne which experienced lengthy delays.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allen said the fact all new cases are linked is a positive sign and provides ‘great confidence about the situation here in Victoria right now’.
‘I think Victorians can take great comfort from today’s numbers,’ Ms Allen said.
‘The public health advice is that Victorians should take great comfort from the fact that these are linked cases.
Victoria recorded three new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Sunday all linked to a known cluster. Pictured, Melbourne residents wear masks as they line up to enter a venue
All three of the new cases have been linked back to the Black Rock, Melbourne, cluster. Thirteen of those cluster cases dined at the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21 (pictured)
‘Strong work has been done by our tracing team, talking to and interviewing the primary and secondary contacts of our cases.’
There were 22,477 test results received in the 24 hours to midnight, up from 18,337 the previous day.
There are now 32 active cases of coronavirus in Victoria. No cases were recorded in hotel quarantine.
There were lengthy queues at testing sites, with some residents turned away from sites due to high demand.
Ms Allen thanked Victorians ‘for their great response’ and acknowledged ‘Saturday was a very, very busy testing day across our testing centres’.
‘I want to acknowledge upfront that people did have some long waits for their tests, and we want to thank people for their patience,’ she said.
‘It does show that Victorians are understanding the real importance of going and getting tested, weather they are returned travellers, weather they’ve got any symptoms.
‘It is a really great response for the Victorian community.’
Thousands of residents turned out for testing across Victoria with testing sites in and around Melbourne overwhelmed
The government has acknowledged the long wait times for testing but say it shows ‘Victorians are understanding the real importance of going and getting tested’
Ms Allen said they are now more than 190 testing sites operational and that ‘testing turnaround times continue to be very, very strong’.
Drive-thru testing sites, of which there are 13, are open from 8am to 8pm.
COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar apologised for the long delays but warned residents to expect wait times will be longer than normal.
‘I’ll apologise for the frustration people feel, I apologise for the length of waiting times but people are getting through testing, turnaround times are happening and we are seeing it in the way this outbreak is being handled,’ he said.
‘I know it was a very long and busy day and had some long wait times that many of our testing centres across the state.
‘There is a 35 per cent uplift in the total number of tests delivered in the south and south-east suburbs yesterday compared to the day before so we are getting the numbers through.
‘So if you are waiting, please bear with us, it is important that we get these tests done so we can continue the encouraging trajectory we on this Black Rock cluster.’
Victoria expects most of the 60,000 residents residents who have returned from New South Wales to be tested by Wednesday.
‘I would expect in the next two days or so, we will ensure that the majority of those people have got through,’ Mr Weimar said.
‘I am confident the vast majority will follow through and say, right, I now need to make sure I get tested because I don’t want to put myself at risk and more importantly I don’t want to put the wider community at risk, including the people closer to me.’
Two women in face masks are seen in Melbourne’s CBD last week with the city back on high alert after cases linked to the Sydney Northern Beaches cluster emerged in the city
Thirteen of the 21 cases linked to the Black Rock cluster dined at the Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21.
Health Minister Martin Foley revealed on Saturday the results from genomic testing had also directly linked the cluster to Sydney’s Northern Beaches outbreak.
Authorities had previously announced they believed the cluster was linked to the neighbouring state, though were waiting for definitive confirmation.
A golf club, cinema and a yacht club were all put on alert on Saturday evening after being exposed to coronavirus – with guests told they must isolate for two weeks.
Victorians need to get tested immediately and isolate if they visited the Royal Brighton Yacht Club on December 29 between 12pm and 2pm.
The same instructions have been given to those who visited the bar at the Woodlands Golf Club in Mordialloc on December 23 and 28.
There are now more than 50 sites which have been exposed to coronavirus.